Saturday, August 20, 2016

Standing in Solidarity with Standing Rock Sioux Tribe


Statement by the North Dakota Council of Indian Ministries 
of the Episcopal Diocese of North Dakota 
on the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the Dakota Access Pipe Line 
August 19, 2016

  1. The North Dakota Council of Indian Ministries (NDCIM) of the Episcopal Diocese of North Dakota stands in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in their peaceful and prayerful efforts to halt the construction of the Dakota Access Pipe Line (DAPL) because of its degradation of sacred sites and possible catastrophic contamination of their drinking water and irrigation projects.
  2. The NDCIM calls upon the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to reverse its decision for construction of the DAPL, especially in light of the disregarded recommendations of three federal agencies (the Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation) for further study and investigation of environmental impact. Furthermore, the rejection of the original plans for construction north of Bismarck due to potential dangers to their drinking water is an obvious example of environmental racism.
  3. The NDCIM calls upon the appropriate governmental authorities to re-open State Highway 1806. Not only is this closure an unnecessary inconvenience to Standing Rock residents, but it has effectively resulted in an economic sanction against the Standing Rock Nation.
  4. There are Native American veterans and non-Native veterans alike that served in the Armed Forces historically and to the present day to protect the US and all citizens.  Their valiant efforts should never be forgotten and based on that we support the efforts of government to government (sovereign tribal nations, states, and federal government) relations to resolve the DAPL crisis in a peaceful, expedient manner that is beneficial to all. 
  5. Given resolutions of recent General Conventions of The Episcopal Church (TEC), including but not limited to the Repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery (2009-DO35), the expression of Solidaritywith Indigenous People (2012-A131), the call to protect IndigenousPeoples’ Sacred Sites (2012-A132), and opposition to EnvironmentalRacism (2000-D005), the NDCIM calls upon the Presiding Bishop and the Office of Government Relations of TEC to advocate for us.
  6. The NDCIM requests the Diocesan Council to allocate 10% of the value of our Bakken royalties for 2016 for outreach efforts to the NO DAPL and Sacred Stone camps.
  7. The NDCIM invites other Episcopalians and people of good will to join us in these efforts.                                                                                  
The Rt. Rev. Michael G. Smith, Bishop                  Robert F. Fox, NDCIM Chair
(Potawatomi)                                                            (Sahnish)

Endorsed by the Diocesan Council of the Episcopal Diocese of North Dakota: August 20, 2016


Saturday, June 7, 2014

Preaching & Praying the Scriptures

Preaching & Praying the Scriptures

of the Dioceses of Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota,
and the Navajoland Area Mission
Fall 2014

The Rt. Rev. Michael G. Smith
Bishop of North Dakota
(Cell) 218.849.8417   (Office) 701.235.6688


Course Description:  This course is designed for those in the ordination process, lay preachers, and continuing education for clergy, Native and non-Native alike. Twelve modules will be completed with Sessions 1 and 12 being conducted face-to-face, and Sessions 2 – 11 guided online.  Participants will have an opportunity to receive feedback from peers and experienced preachers for at least two sermons. They will also examine the ancient prayer form of Lectio Divina, or sacred reading of Scripture, and its applicability to the preaching process, receive practical ideas for preaching, and explore the oral tradition of delivering sermons and homilies.

Course Costs: $60 per participant (scholarships available upon request).

Pre-register by sending the following information to Bishop Smith at by July 1, 2014:


Email address:
Ordination process, lay preacher, clergy, or other: 

Physical address for UPS:

How often do you preach? Sundays or weekdays?

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Prayers requested for kidnapped schoolgirls in Nigeria

O God, we cry out to you for the lives and the freedom of the 276 kidnapped girls in Nigeria. In their time of danger and fear, pour out your strong Spirit for them. Make a way home for them in safety. Make a way back for them to the education that will lift them up. Hold them in the knowledge that they are not captive slaves, they are not purchased brides, but they are your beloved daughters, and precious in your sight. Change the hearts and minds of their kidnappers and of all who choose violence against women and girls. Cast down the mighty from their seat, and lift up the humble and meek, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Primates unite in outrage, prayer for schoolgirls kidnapped in Nigeria

By ACNS staff

Primates from countries including Brazil, New Zealand and South Africa have joined the worldwide outcry the abduction of more than two hundred young girls from Chibok, Nigeria.

Over the past week Church leaders on five continents have added their voices to the multitude of others calling for the safe return of the girls.

Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Thabo Makgoba condemned abductions of Nigerian Schoolgirls as an 'outrage'. He called for "all of Africa, and especially South Africa" to rise up and demand the release of hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls who were abducted from their school three weeks ago.

Primate of the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil, Francisco da Silva issued a lengthy statement condemning the “terrible act”.

“It was with a heavy heart that the Brazilian people, along with the rest of the world, learned of the kidnapping of over 200 young girls in Nigeria, at the hands of extremist group Boko Haram,” he wrote. “Many of us, especially in the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil, have remembered the girls, their families, and the Nigerian people with prayers, tears, and compassion during this time.

“Nigeria, like so many countries, has of course had its trying and difficult times as a multi-religious society – but it is in times of difficulty like these that we set aside our differences, and stand together—in solidarity, in demanding peace, and most importantly, demanding the safe return of these young women. Not simply a return to their families – but their return to the lives they knew, their ability to go to school and be educated, to have a better future, and to be beautiful, active members of a future Nigerian society.”

Canadian primate, Archbishop Fred Hiltz called the Anglican Church of Canada to pray for the situation in Nigeria, “The group behind the schoolgirl kidnappings, Boko Haram, and its declared intention ‘to sell them in the market’ is appalling. It is an abomination against internationally held human rights, and an absolute affront to the efforts of many nations to honour the Millennium Development Goals to empower women and young girls through a good education.

“I am asking Anglicans to offer prayers of special intent in the coming weeks with people of all faiths who are appalled by these crimes,” he added.

The Anglican and Roman Catholic Archbishops of New Zealand called on people to pray for the release and protection of the 200 schoolgirls. Anglican Archbishops Philip Richardson and Brown Turei, and Roman Catholic Archbishop John Dew said this Sunday is an opportunity for churches across the country to pray for, and so stand with governments and churches across the globe, wanting a safe return of the young women.

Primate of the Episcopal Church the Most Revd Katharine Jefferts Schori said in a statement that the Church was “horrified” and what was taking place. “The unfortunate truth is that girls and women are still deemed dispensable in much of the world, or at least of lesser value than members of the other sex,” said the Presiding Bishop. “The necessary response is education – of girls and boys, in equal numbers and to an equal degree, that all might take their rightful place in societies that serve all their citizens with equal respect and dignity.

Calling what happened “an atrocious and inexcusable act” Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said, “My prayers and thoughts go out to the young people and their families at this upsetting time. I appeal to those who have taken these schoolgirls to release them immediately and unharmed.

"This is in a part of Nigeria I have visited and in a country whose people are close to my heart. Let your hearts be open in compassion and mercy to those who have suffered so much.”


Sunday, May 4, 2014

St. Paul's, Grand Forks

Two Confirmations, two Receptions, and one Reaffirmation at St. Paul’s Church, Grand Forks on May 3, 2014.  Pictured (l-r):  Pam Olson, Jamie Olson, Father Jim Shannon, Bishop Michael Smith, Annie Harris, Deacon Don Leroux, Louise Blackburn-Pinkerton, Royce Blackburn, and their daughters Grace and Gwyneth.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Presiding Bishop preaches at Nashotah House: Remembrance of Deacon Terry Star

Feast of St. Philip and St. James
1 May 2014
Nashotah House, Wisconsin
Evensong, remembrance of Deacon Terry Star

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church

It is a great joy and privilege to be here and I am grateful to your dean for the invitation.

            Lord, you have searched me out and known me; you know my sitting down and my rising up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You trace my journeys and my resting-places and are acquainted with all my ways. Indeed, there is not a word on my lips, but you, O Lord, know it altogether.[1]

This community and others like it exist to remember that, to learn it so deeply that we become fully free to go wherever we’re sent – for God is already there, at work and speaking the creative Word, before we arrive. God is present with us and before us, wherever the journey leads. That deep knowledge sent Kemper and Breck and others out here in the 1840s, knowing that God’s work was here and they had a part in it, in the wilds of the “kettle moraine.” It’s striking to see that geological phrase in the middle of the note on your ecclesiastical history, but it’s deeply fitting. Think about it. A moraine is a pile of rock debris that’s been pushed and left by glaciers, and the kettle reference is to pools of water that form when the ice contained in that glacial refuse melts. It’s a wonderful Easter image of stone moved and a baptismal pool remaining, in the midst of God’s wild creation.

Nashotah House was founded to both share and discover the creative Word of God – to share what Christ-bearers know of the presence of God in their own lives, and to discover where the Word has been speaking in other languages and contexts – and to bring them together, in the shadow of the cross and the green and dawning truth of Resurrection. People who live a missionary ethos can do no less. That is what it means to follow the path of Wisdom and her prophet.[2] Jesus did tell his disciples that he would go ahead of them, wherever they were sent.[3] We, too, are sent to tell out what we know and discover of God’s eternally creative, renewing love calling forth greater life.

 This day brings several examples who have walked the way of Wisdom, what Proverbs calls the path of righteousness and rising day. Philip and James are not the best known of the circle of twelve, particularly James, who is usually distinguished by being called “the Less.” In other words, he’s not one of the famous ones, neither the son of Zebedee nor Jesus’ brother. “The less” is certainly not the world’s usual way of recognizing distinction! There’s a church named for him in Marquette (Northern Michigan), which is fittingly known as “Little Jimmy’s.” But his status as “the less” is very much what Jesus calls servanthood – losing one’s life in order to find it, taking the last and lowest place rather than the highest, serving in solidarity with the least of these.

Philip is better known. He is an earlier follower of Jesus’, called right after Peter and Andrew, and he challenges his friend Nathanael to come and see what God has been up to.[4] Jesus asks Philip to figure out how to feed the 5000.[5] At the last supper, Philip asks Jesus to see God, in the blockheaded way more typical of Peter, and Jesus says, “you’ve been hanging around all this time and you still don’t get it?”[6] Philip’s bio is pretty typical for growing Christians. He’s probably best remembered for baptizing the Ethiopian eunuch.[7] Now he’s got it! He’s hanging out with foreigners and outcasts and marginal people, and discovering the Word of God at work – and blessing what he finds in that man’s hunger. To this day, the Christians of Sudan give thanks that Philip sent them the gospel through that eunuch. Philip used the pool of water at hand when the Ethiopian eunuch asked to be baptized, not unlike a kettle in the wilderness here. Are we as ready to recognize and respond to the Word at work?

This gospel offers another example of the kinds of daily encounters that greet missionaries who expect to find the Word. In the midst of the Passover celebration, some foreigners hear about this prophet and rabbi and come to Philip and James filled with curiosity and hunger – we want to see this guy, take us to him, let us in. That’s the same thing the eunuch asks of Philip – this message is for me, bring me in.

Terry Star lived that way, too. His years of work with young people on the [Standing Rock] gave them a fleshy example of walking the way of Wisdom, and a fair number of them heard the invitation to come and join this motley band of roadies for Jesus. Terry’s study here only added to his conviction about the path he was on, and he continued to push the boundaries outward, so that more might hear deeper truth. He spoke the Word with unforked tongue, challenging the comfortable and comforting the challenged.

At the last Executive Council meeting in February, Terry prompted a resolution, spoke powerfully for it, and got it passed.[8] It challenges the use of racist names and mascots by sports teams, and particularly asks one in Washington, DC, to repudiate use of what he called “the R word.” He led others to embrace a wider recognition of the dignity of every human being. I understand his repeated request to the dean to invite me here as another example. He was unfailingly solicitous of other people, in spite of his innate reserve, he was curious about where the Word was at work in each one, and he lived with the kind of deep joy that is only possible when you know you are God’s beloved.

Terry Star was a witness to the love of God he knew in Jesus Christ. He was a witness not only to the Lakota people, and to his brothers and sisters here, but to the wider world. He was a gifted and faithful missionary, and he lies in the same tradition as Jackson Kemper, Henry Lloyd Breck, Philip and James, and all who follow where the prophet of Wisdom leads – into strange lands and wilderness, knowing that the Word of God goes before us.

Kemper came out here to serve the displaced and resettled Oneida as well as the invading settlers. He noted the witness the Oneida made of their lives to “courtesy, reverence, worship – and obedience to that Great Spirit in whose hands are the issues of life.”[9] He started schools to teach and foster a way of living that breaks down the dividing walls and hostility of the world, [10] to preach peace to those who are far off and to those who are near.[11] The way of Jesus has found fertile ground and flourished when his messengers have expected to discover the presence and activity of God there ahead of them, and have been observant and public witnesses. We veer off Wisdom’s path when we’re blind to the ubiquity of God’s creative Word.

Jesus puts it this way in the gospel we heard: ‘whoever serves me follows me, and where I am, my servant will be also.’ Are we looking in surprising places, even in those who seem outside the bounds, in the least of these as well as those who haven’t discovered their poverty yet? “Get wisdom, and whatever else you get, get insight.” 8Terry had good vision. So did Jackson Kemper. How’s yours?

[1] Psalm 139:1-3

[2] Jesus as child of Wisdom and prophet of Wisdom: Luke 2:40,52; 7:35; 11:49ff

[3] Matthew 26:32; Mark 14:28

[4] John 1:43-48

[5] John 6:2-12

[6] John 14:8ff

[7] Acts 8:26ff

[9] Holy Women, Holy Men, 384

[10] Ephesians 2:14

[11] Book of Common Prayer, 100

 Originally posted at the ens website.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

May Sheaf Posted


Thirteen people participated in the “Exploring a Life with God” retreat at Sacred Heart Monastery in Richardton the weekend of April 25-27. Retreatants focused on taking steps towards an intentional spiritual journey. Topics included: “Baptismal Covenant,” “The Book of Common Prayer,” “Holy Eucharist,” “Lectio Divina,” “Benedictine Spirituality,” “Daily Offices and Resources for Prayer.”
Pictured kneeling (l-r) are: Dustin Wallace, Kristin Koch and Matt Koch. Standing (l-r): David Baggett, Heather Baggett, Jacinda Simmons, Jody Simmons, Karen Palaniuk, Shirel Zillier, Zanne Ness, Michael Smith, Rosa Wilson and Meghan Gendron.

This and more news and information can be found in the newly posted Sheaf.