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What are the missions of Buffalo River Indian Baptist?
Our goal is native children and education. We support two schools on the two poorest reservations located in the two poorest counties per US Census: Red Cloud School on Pine Ridge Reservation and St. Francis School on Rosebud Reservation both in South Dakota. Both schools not only provide education, but provide meals for the children and families. They both distribute food during blizzards when families can't get out and the state will not help and they do a great job of providing assistance with helping the graduates go on to higher education in colleges and universities.
What ministries do you offer?
We offer a prison ministry and provide Bibles for inmates and include a weekly newsletter.
We have tried to maintain a Sunday School, our teacher is out with surgery, so the Pastor and Assistant Pastor fill in at times when needed.
We also maintain a presence at the Pow Wows in the area. We have a team that cooks and serves meals to the dancers and the public as an attraction for the church and fundraiser.
We guest-lecture classes at Baylor and the students get a lot out of an introduction to American Indian culture and religion. The professors have the students write a feedback and it is very positive.
Do you offer a newsletter?
Once people attend our church, even though they move away, they still want to be a part of us. So we now have Buffies all over the country. Our newsletter goes to Buffies all over the country from Oregon to New York.
Do you offer child care?
An Indian Church does not have formal child care but all the women take part and at the same time the children are not restricted. We all know babies cry and kids get restless and run around. It is expected. But at the same time, native kids have respect, so they are not disruptive.
Sometimes members bring their dogs to church and they behave. In old times, the grandmas put the feet on them to keep warm.
What are your services like?
Native services are not a spectator sport like the dominant culture. Sermons are short, people can ask questions or add comments and make a statement. We have more participation, so people get more out of the experience.
We sometimes have breakfast or lunch. Everyone helps clean up. We have a saying, "We don't leave tracks" so the place is usually better or as good as we found it. The same is true after services...everyone helps put chairs, hymn books, etc. away and again NO TRACKS.
Our Wednesday night studies are culture oriented and we read many books on native culture written by native authors, like "Lakota Woman" by Mary Crow Dog, Lame Deer, "Seeker of Visions" by Lame Deer, John Fire, "Sun Dance People" by Richard Erdoes and now we are doing "Where White Men Fear to Tread" by Russell Means.
Over the years, we have done many of Paul J. Meyers books on forgiveness, "5 Pillars of Leadership" and "Attitude is Everything".