World Mission and Bishop David Bailey

You can listen to the full report from Dr. Marthe Curry here:

You can also hear the address given by Bishop David Bailey of the Episcopal Mission of Navajoland here:

Dr. Marthe Curry, director of World Mission, said, “I am so happy to be here to tell you where all we have been this year,” as she talked about the work of World Mission in various countries around the world.

Northern Mexico, Honduras, Kurdistan, Uganda, and Kenya now have micro enterprises, and youngsters around the world are becoming proficient in computers through the wonderful Owen Project.

“We’ve provided medical, dental, veterinary, and basic health care training. Students in Uganda have receive scholarships to further their education and band students have received musical instruments through the Band and Bible Mission,” said Curry.

This past year the Texas Water Mission in Honduras drilled its 90th well. “They have brought safe water to 50,000 people.”

A new partnership with Love for the Least began in 2017, a mission in Northern Iraq in refugee camps. “I would invite your prayers for those who continue to suffer from displacement and extreme poverty as a result.”

In addition to our short-term missioners, 12 long-term missionaries are living in Honduras, Kurdistan, the Philippians, Uganda, Spain, and other countries.

In November, Betty Chumney retired, the founder of the department. In her honor a fund has been established to fund new mission projects, and the first recipient will be for the new partnership with Navajoland.

The annual Mother’s Day offering in 2018 will not take place on Mother’s Day but instead on April 22. “And this year you can use those funds to support diocesan mission efforts or use those funds for your own church mission ministries,” said Curry.

Bishop David Bailey, bishop of the Episcopal Mission of Navajoland, joined Curry on stage. “He has invited us to come and see and meet our new friends west of us and begin a new partnership,” said Curry. In April, the first exploratory visit to Navajoland will take place.

Bishop David Baily offered gifts from the sustainability program in Navajoland to both Bishops Reed and Brooke-Davidson. “I am excited to be here and begin this partnership.”

Navajoland, in the Four Corners of the United States, covers 27,000 square miles. At one time, in the 1950s there were about 5,000 Episcopalians in Navajoland; “now we are down to about 600,” said Bailey.

Bailey shared a bit of the Navajo’s history. “It’s important to get in to context why there might be some mistrust on the side of the Navajo people.”

In 1894 the Episcopal Church built its first hospital and a second in 1924, and a third health clinic in the late 1940s. When the Dioceses of Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico were formed, each recieved a portion of the Navajo reservation.

In 1978 the Episcopal Church formed the Episcopal Church in Navajoland, an indigenous diocese. “Becoming a diocese has never happened, due to economics, skill sets, and other reasons,” said Bailey.

Baily was elected bishop in 2010 and currently has four Navajo seminarian students. “One will be the next bishop, so they can serve their own people.”

Bailey, when elected bishop, asked the people, “Do you want to be a church?” He left them to deliberate, and unanimously they said, “We are part of the Episcopal Church, we want to be there, and we need to find ways to make that happen.”

“We started to learn how to make this all happen so our sustainability is our own. We began a soap business using herbs and scents from the reservation; we began a corn meal business with our blue corn. We petitioned the United Thank Offering (UTO). If it were not for UTO, Navajoland would not exist,” said Bailey, as the UTO has given grants to Navajoland since 1919.

“We operate from a system of inviting people to come see us and see what we need; coming back and showing us how to do it; the third year coming back and seeing us do it; and the fourth year taking on a new project,” he said.

“We are really looking forward to this relationships with your diocese. With your sense of mission, the gifts of your journey with us will enhance our journey and help us to be what we hope to become.”

Published by Laura Shaver

Communications, Episcopal Diocese of West Texas

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