"The Wyandotte Nation entrusted their land to the Methodists, in hopes that Methodists would give Wyandotte people's past a good future," says Rev. Duane Coates, board member of The Historical Society of The United Methodist Church and member of The United Methodist Commission on Archives and History. "I witnessed the return of the land by The United Methodist Church to the Wyandotte people. It was a moving, historical moment."
Rev. Duane Coates, who serves the United Methodist Church in Hettinger, North Dakota, was elected to an at-large position on the board of the Historical Society of The United Methodist Church. He joins 11 other board members from across the United States. Rev. Coates also serves as the chair for the North Central Jurisdiction's Commission on Archives and History, which recently met in Ohio to witness the inspiring, historical return of the land and conduct business.
The Commission members traveled to Upper Sandusky, Ohio to witness the denomination's return of land in a ceremony of remembrance, repentance, and reconciliation. As Wydanotte from Oklahoma, Kansas, and Michigan applauded, Chief Billy Friend of the Wyandotte Nation of Oklahoma accepted the return of John Stewart United Methodist Church and a nearby cemetery from Thomas Kemper, top executive, United Methodist Board of Global Ministries. "It's a miracle that the church is standing and is in the shape that it is today. That's a testament to this local community and to this group and their dedication and commitment to preserving not only their history but preserving our history for us," Friend said. Read the full story here. View video here.
Rev. Duane Coates. File photo.
The United Methodist Historical Society meets annually at the site of one of the jurisdiction's Commission on Archives and History meetings. This year the group met in the South Central Jurisdiction in St. Louis, Missouri. The Society met the previous year at Dayton, Ohio, located in the North Central Jurisdiction, and next year will meet in the Southeast Jurisdiction at St. Simon's Island, Georgia.
The Society is responsible for the selection of the annual Saddle Bag award to the best Methodist historical book published in the previous year, a distinction that has been won by Dakotas Conference elder, Rev. Randy Maddox in 2013, for his book Doctrinal and Controversial Treatises on Soteriology. This year, the book, "Entangled," was by a young scholar, Ashley Bogan Dreff, and published by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, of which Rev. Rebecca Trefz, director of ministries for the Dakotas Conference, is a member. The Society also awards an annual Ministry of Memory Award and publishes a quarterly newsletter.
The Dakotas Conference has an affiliated organization, The Dakotas Conference Historical Society of The United Methodist Church. The group hosts a forum and luncheon at the annual conference, also has a Facebook page, and is supporting the writing of Rev. Stephen Perry's Dakotas Conference History.
Learn more about The United Methodist Historical Society here.