Friday, April 3, 2009

South Dakota Bishop Candidates: Bi-Cultural Ministry

South Dakota has some unique heritage and opportunity for witness. There was widespread recognition in the diocesan survey that the next bishop would need to be capable of bi-cultural ministry.

Tarrant He has built a bi-cultural ministry, linking his parish with Reservation congregations. This is impressive - it is not "dabbling" (see comment below on "mission trips"). Christians on the Reservations speak of wanting to "just be together" and build relationship rather than being a "project" for White visitors. Tarrant is responsive to this. This is no small achievement and speaks well of his gift for bi-cultural work.

Floberg He has the longest and most developed record of shared ministry with the Lakota people. Congregational development, supporting Lakota candidates for both lay and ordained ministry, youth ministry, social programs and representing Reservation ministry to the national church are all present in his work. When it comes to bi-cultural ministry in the Dakotas, he's a truly impressive candidate. He's invested his life in bi-cultural ministry, with some fruitful results.

Dunn His website mentions mission trips to South Dakota reservations, and he is a native of the state. But he continues to be the "stealth" candidate, with disturbingly little public record of anything he's said or done. (Note: lots of people from all over the place launch "mission trips" to the South Dakota Reservation. Our own parish is looking at one this summer. These trips are hit and miss - some build real bi-cultural relationship and ministry, others are White guilt and dabbling exercises.)

Stebinger He's also sponsored mission trips to the Reservations (see the limits of this in the comment above). Stronger evidence of his bi-cultural capability is seen in a constructive relationship between his parish and Christians in Kenya. Stebinger leads an impressive project, based in a sister parish relationship with a Kenyan congregation. It features significant social impact, strong team leadership and generous fund raising.

No comments: