Building Community One Smile at a Time
A Story of Hope and Positive Change
at the Cheyenne River Reservation
Labor in the Pulpit
September 6, 2020
(A nurture to follow 5 minutes after the service)
First Church is excited to participate again in Interfaith Worker Justice’s Labor in the Pulpit. As the Sunday before Labor Day, this service allows our church to join mosques, synagogues and churches across the country to focus on how we can bring our voice, our resources, and our power toward issues of social and economic justice, as they relate to workers and working families.
This year, our focus will be on the Cheyenne River Reservation, a Lakota Reservation in central South Dakota. Since 2003, the Cheyenne River Reservation has partnered with Simply Smiles, a non-profit dedicated toward helping advance indigenous people’s social, economic and health outcomes.
For their 2019 summer service trip, First Church youth went to the Cheyenne River Reservation to fall in love with the beautiful sky country, to learn about the history and the culture of the Lakota, and to serve as enthusiastic camp counselors for the youth. Unfortunately, we could not return this summer because of the pandemic.
Since that trip, the Lakota people have filled a part of our heart. Just like Ruth said to Naomi, “Your people are my people,” the Lakota are our people. Since our trip, First Church has hosted a screening of the documentary, “Warrior Women,” about Lakota civil rights activist Maddona Thunderhawk and her daughter, Marcella Gilbert, both an activist and the manager of the garden and healthy living initiatives on the reservation.
Our Sunday service will include a conversation between Madonna and Marcella about the current situation on the Reservation, a community where unemployment is high and economic opportunity is scarce. Jasmine Martier, the volunteer coordinator for Simply Smiles, will provide us with the message about Simply Smile’s existing efforts, and how they can serve as an inspiration and a model for us to create change in our own communities.
First Church Youth are also hosting a fundraising effort to support funds for the Children’s Village at the Reservation. To learn about the Children’s Village: https://www.simplysmiles.org/crst-childrens-village
To support Simply Smiles: please visit simplysmiles.org
We hope you can be a part of this exciting Sunday at First Church. If you have any questions, please reach out to Rev Sam at email@example.com or 202-294-5437