ENCOURAGES ASPIRING LEADERS WITHIN THE NATIVE AMERICAN COMMUNITY, EDUCATES SEMINARIANS AND EMPOWERS OUTREACH WITHIN THE NATIVE AMERICAN CULTURE.
Born and raised in Lumberton, N.C., Christy Oxendine is a member of the Lumbee Tribe. After attending Branch Street United Methodist Church as a child and youth, she graduated from East Carolina University, volunteered a year in the Peace Corps and worked on a master’s degree in counseling and college student affairs.
Aiming for a career in higher education, Oxendine experienced a call to the ministry at Mount Pleasant United Methodist Church in Gainesville, Fla.
“I saw the church interacting in an impactful way in the community,” she recalls. “We had members who started attending because of the church’s hospitality to their Narcotics Anonymous-sponsored meetings. We were also an HIV testing site, served as an emergency shelter for the homeless and visited with individuals living in a tent city in our community.”
She headed to Candler School of Theology at Emory University, Atlanta, graduating in May 2016. “I would like to continue working in outreach … for a life of advocacy and social justice work,” Oxendine says.
The Native American Seminary Scholarship recipient believes the Native American community can share its love of community and nature with the wider United Methodist Church family.
“Jesus was a voice for many of the marginalized and those deemed ‘hopeless,’” Oxendine says. “However, as Native Americans continue to thrive and overcome obstacles, it is the greater community that can say, ‘We stand with you.’” Through the United Methodist Native American Ministries Sunday offering, she asserts, “hope can continue to be evoked.”
Adapted from seminarian profile by the Rev. Matt Smith, Guilford College United Methodist Church, Greensboro, N.C.
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