Courtesy and Joy at Nashotah

Friday, May 2, 2014–Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori joined in Morning Prayer, attended classes, held a discussion session, and delivered an Evensong sermon during a visit to Nashotah House Theological Seminary on May 1. It was the first time since Jefferts Schori was invested as Primate of the Episcopal Church in November 2006 that she has been to the historic Anglo-Catholic institution.

Courtesy and even joy prevailed, especially among Nashotah House’s growing presence of women students. The Rt. Rev. Edward L. Salmon, Jr., dean and president of Nashotah House, encouraged all students and faculty to attend unless their sponsoring bishop forbade it.

While serving mostly aspirants to priesthood in the Episcopal Church, Nashotah House has also opened its doors to other Anglican groups, a number of whom have broken away from the Episcopal Church amid theological disputes. In recent years Nashotah House has also promoted itself as place where mutuality, cooperation, and theological diversity are part of the school ethos, which it calls Pax Nashotah.

Three Nashotah House students — Izgy Saribay and Tanya Scheff, and the Rev. Terry Star, a 40-year-old deacon of the Diocese of North Dakota who was studying for the priesthood — were primarily responsible for prompting Nashotah’s board of trustees to discuss a possible invitation to the presiding bishop.

The presiding bishop’s visit to Nashotah House was already scheduled and announced when Star died overnight on March 4, making a tribute more appropriate than a more general homily.

“You could not say no to Terry,” Saribay, said adding that Star convinced her to write to the Rt. Rev. Daniel Martins, Bishop of Springfield and president of Nashotah’s board.

Saribay grew up in a nominally Islamic household in the Middle East until the age of 17, when she concluded that she was a Christian. She was baptized soon after and moved to the United States. Even after Saribay joined discussion about the invitation, Saribay said she felt the idea was a “lost cause.”

“[Star] knew that it would happen,” she said, “and it taught me a valuable lesson: don’t give up on lost causes.”

In addition to his work with youth on Native American reservations, Star also served on the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council, which functions as the church’s executive officers when General Convention is not in session. He already had developed a warm personal relationship with Jefferts Schori when he confided in her some years ago that he had his heart set on attending Nashotah House Seminary. Knowing Star, Bishop Jefferts Schori said, she expressed mild surprise at his choice. It was then that Star began urging her to welcome an invitation if one came.

With the possible exception of light rain, events throughout the day at Nashotah House went off without a glitch, but the decision to issue the invitation did not come without controversy. The 31-member Nashotah House board of trustees includes bishops from the Episcopal Church as well as bishops from a number of traditionalist Anglican groups that have split from the Episcopal Church. The Rt. Rev. Jack L. Iker, Bishop of Fort Worth, resigned from the board in protest, and the Rt. Rev. William C. Wantland, retired Bishop of Eau Claire, said he would not support the seminary under its current leadership.

In a statement released in February after the resignations became public, Bishop Salmon wrote: “We take no joy that folks who love the House are disturbed by the invitation and it was not issued in any other spirit than that of engaging in mission. The ‘Pax Nashotah’ is not going to go away. The commitment to the Anglo-Catholic vision of the ‘faith once delivered to the saints’ is not going to go away. The mission of the House, the direction of the House, the theology of the House is not changing. A visit, even one involving a sermon, will not change what has been bought at a price.”

Commenting on the unusual geology of the region of Wisconsin in which the seminary is located, the presiding bishop said that the bowl-shaped lakes, created by retreating boulders, reminded her of primitive baptismal fonts. “It’s a wonderful Easter image of stone moved and a baptismal pool remaining, in the midst of God’s wild creation,” she said. “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.”

Saribay, who is completing the second of three years of seminary study, said she and some of the other approximately 60 students have already begun discussing how they might procure an invitation for a woman to celebrate Holy Eucharist at Nashotah House before her graduation.

Steve Waring (Image by Steve Waring/TLC)

Seminary Invitation to Episcopal Presiding Bishop Sparks Uproar

by   February 21, 2014

Katharine Jefferts Schori

Guess who’s coming to chapel?: An invitation to Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori by the dean of Nashotah House caused a stir among the orthodox Anglican seminary’s supporters and triggered the resignation of one of its trustees.

An invitation to the primate of the Episcopal Church (TEC) to preach at an upcoming chapel service of an orthodox Anglican seminary has prompted one of the school’s longest serving trustees to resign in protest.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will visit the Nashotah House campus in Wisconsin for the first time on May 1 at the invitation of Dean Edward L. Salmon, Jr.

The resignation of Bishop Jack Iker of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth (Anglican Church in North America) “was taken in protest of the Dean’s invitation to the Presiding Bishop of TEC to be a guest preacher in the seminary’s chapel,” read a statement distributed to Fort Worth clergy. Iker cited lawsuits initiated by Jefferts Schori against his Diocese and notified the Nashotah House Board that he “could not be associated with an institution that honors her.”

Bishop Jack Iker of Fort Worth, who was in Kenya at the Global Anglican Future Conference when an invitation to Jefferts Schori was discussed by the Nashotah House board, resigned (Photo: Episcopal News Service)

The statement was widely shared on Facebook and clergy blogs.

Iker was joined by honorary board member retired Bishop William C. Wantland of Eau Claire who sent notification that he “will not take part in any functions at Nashotah” nor continue “to give financial support to the House as long as the present administration remains.”

Diocese of Fort Worth Director of Communications Suzanne Gill told IRD that reaction from clergy to Iker’s resignation from the Nashotah House board has been overwhelmingly supportive.

“This is a tragic and unwise decision that threatens the future of Nashotah House,” ACNA Archbishop Robert Duncan told IRD in a statement. Duncan also serves on the Nashotah House Board of Trustees.

Nashotah House is one of two accredited seminaries affiliated with the Episcopal Church that are regarded as theologically orthodox. In addition to training Episcopalians, many Nashotah House students are from other Anglican churches. Founded in 1842, it is the oldest existing institution of higher learning in the state of Wisconsin.

Former South Carolina Bishop Ed Salmon has defended the invitation of Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori to speak at the seminary's chapel service (Photo: Nashotah House).In a phone interview with IRD, Salmon explained that the invitation to Jefferts Schori originated when Deacon Terry Star of North Dakota, a student at Nashotah and member of the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council, shared that Bishop Jefferts Schori had advised him against attending the seminary.

Star was joined by two other female Episcopal students at Nashotah who indirectly received the same advice.

“All three said she [Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori] should be invited to come and see ACNA and TEC in harmony,” Salmon explained. “No one here is fighting with anybody.”

The retired bishop of South Carolina said that the invitation would give the seminary the opportunity to witness to the Christ-centered life.

People think that inviting her here is an endorsement,” Salmon said. “We are a clearly rooted orthodox community – rooted in Jesus.”

Jefferts Schori has repeatedly garnered criticism for making statements outside of the church’s traditional understanding of Christ. As Presiding Bishop-elect in 2006, Jefferts Schori stated “Our mother Jesus gives birth to a new creation — and you and I are His children.”

At Episcopal General Convention in 2009 the Presiding Bishop denounced “the great Western heresy: that we can be saved as individuals, that any of us alone can be in right relationship with God.” In 2013, Jefferts Schori baffled some in the Anglican Communion over her claim in a sermon on the island of Curaçao that St. Paul of Tarsus’ was wrong to cure a demon-possessed slave girl as described in the Bible.

Salmon, a former bishop of South Carolina, asserted that the seminary is not like a parish church with congregants having various degrees of spiritual rootedness. Instead, the Nashotah House Dean insisted “this is a deeply rooted community” and because of that rootedness, “we are not concerned about the direction of the power.”

Data provided from the Association of Theological Schools shows a total 2012-2013 enrollment of 143 at Nashotah House, with 110 full-time students taking classes. According to Salmon, between 30 and 35 percent of enrolled seminarians are from Episcopal Church dioceses, while “a significant number” of students are from other Anglican churches and many more are non-Anglicans “on the Canterbury trail.”

Top Episcopal Church leader promotes unity at Nashotah House

May 1, 2014 Nashotah — The presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church toured Nashotah House Theological Seminary for the first time on Thursday in response to an invitation so controversial it prompted the school’s longest running trustee to resign in protest.

The visit by Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, whose church has been roiled by schism over theological debates in recent years, came at the request of three Nashotah seminarians who wanted their bishop to see this campus where disparate parts of the fractured Anglican Communion strive to live in peace.

One of them did not live to see it happen. Deacon Terry Star, who had worked with Jefferts Schori as part of the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council, died unexpectedly in March. He was 40.

“This was an act of reconciliation, and Terry was a big influence in that relationship,” said Ezgi Saribay, one of the three seminarians who asked Nashotah House Dean, Bishop Edward L. Salmon, and Board of Trustees President Bishop Daniel H. Martins of Springfield, Ill., to tender the invitation.

“Terry was a great conciliator,” she said, “and he would have loved every second of this.”

The Episcopal Church, with about 2 million members, mostly in the United States, is among the more liberal of the 39 provinces in the Worldwide Anglican Communion. And the Anglo-Catholic Nashotah House is one of the more conservative Episcopal seminaries.

Among its trustees are members of the newly formed Anglican Church in North America, a breakaway group founded in 2009 in a split over longstanding theological issues, including the ordination of women, and gays and lesbians.

But the seminary works to nurture an ethos — something it calls Pax Nashotah — in which individuals with theologically diverse views live and work respectfully together.

“The idea that no matter where you come from, we are all one in Christ, and that’s all that matters,” said Father Steven Peay, Nashotah’s dean of academic affairs, who teaches homiletics and church history. “We don’t want to let the daily politics get in the way of trying to live as Jesus intended.”

Schori, who received a gracious welcome at Nashotah on Thursday, said that is true of all Episcopal seminaries, but that she was grateful to experience it firsthand at there.

“That’s one of the gifts of bringing students together from different parts of the church. But it has been wonderful to see it with my own eyes and hear it with my own ears,” said Schori, who met with students, faculty, clergy and bishops throughout the day and took part in an Evensong service at which she delivered the sermon.

“This place has such a long tradition in the Episcopal Church,” she said. “I value that, and I want to see that it continues. The witness of this place is important to who we are as Episcopalians.”

The decision to extend the invitation to Schori prompted the resignation of Nashotah House’s longest-serving trustee, and an honorary trustee, both founding members of the Anglican Church in North America.

Bishop Jack Iker of Fort Worth, whose diocese broke with the Episcopal church and has been sued over church property, resigned, saying he “could not be associated with an institution that honors her.”

Retired Eau Claire Bishop and honorary trustee William Wantland severed ties with the seminary, saying he would no longer participate in its functions or contribute financially while the current administration was in place, according to news accounts.

Salmon, who took over as dean in 2011, defended the decision to welcome Schori, saying no matter what he did it would have been “problematic.”

“I’m interested in inviting people to see Nashotah House and what it stands for,” Salmon said. “If we stay here, off to ourselves, how can we extend the mission of the house?”

Terry Martin preaches at funeral

Terry Martin preaches at funeral


Dcn. Star continued in this faithfulness of following God’s call first begun by the House’s founders. On Thursday morning, March 13, the community of Nashotah House gathered in the Chapel of Saint Mary the Virgin to sing the Burial Office for the Reverend Deacon Terry Star. The celebrant for the office was the Reverend Thomas Buchan, PhD, Associate Professor of Church History, assisted by the Reverend Deacon Richard Moseley, and other student servers and musicians. Deacon Star’s parents, Woodrow and Charlotte, and two of his brothers joined the community for the office, as we commended our brother to God.
His eulogy will be delivered in May by the Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts-Schori when she visits the campus. Deacon Star served with the Presiding Bishop on the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church.

The history of Nashotah House Theological Seminary has a rich and detailed history among the oral tradition of the Lakota and Dakota Sioux tribes. In August 2012, Terry left Standing Rock, North Dakota to attend Nashotah House where he was seeking his licentiate in theology.

Dcn. Star had many memories of early founder, James Lloyd Breck (1818 – 1876), a priest, educator and missionary of the Episcopal Church. In Dcn. Star’s oral tradition, Breck who ministered to the Indians of the Plains, was known in their language as the ‘Man in the Cassock.’

Mr. Breck was….a deacon in the Episcopal Church, (and)  went to the frontier of Wisconsin with two classmates, under the direction of Bishop Jackson Kemper, to found Nashotah House, intended as a monastic community, a seminary, and a center for theological work. It continues today as a seminary. One-hundred-seventy years later, a member of the Lakota tribe Terry Star, a deacon in the Episcopal Church, answered God’s call to attend as a seminarian.

In 1850 Breck moved to Minnesota where he founded schools for boys and girls such as Breck School in Golden Valley, Minnesota, and the Seabury Divinity School at Faribault, Minnesota. He also began mission work among the Ojibwa.On June 23, 1850, on top of Grandad Bluff, Breck celebrated the first Episcopal[5] Eucharist in the La Crosse area. In 1867 he moved to Benicia, California to build another two institutions. Breck was known as “The Apostle of the Wilderness.”

Breck died in Benicia in 1876. He was buried beneath the altar of the church he served as rector but later his body was removed and reinterred on the grounds of Nashotah House in Nashotah, Wisconsin. Breck is commemorated on April 2 on the Episcopal calendar of saints.

In a letter dated, April 2, 1850, Breck wrote:

The students boarding with us are all theological. They are Chiefly young men, sons of the farmers, and all communicants of the Church. Our students, like ourselves, are poor, but not the less worthy for all that. They seek the Ministry, but are unable to attain it without aid. We have a house; for this we pay no rent; it belongs to the Church, and so do we. We have land. They work four hours a day for their board and washing, and we give them their education without cost. Thus their clothing is their only expense, and to enable them to purchase this, we give them six weeks vacation during the harvest, when they can earn the highest wages….” 

Dcn. Terry is survived by his parents, Charlotte and Woodrow Star Jr., Pendleton, Ore.; one daughter, Kayrose; one son, Preston; three sisters, Melissa (Marlon) Mason, New Town, Elizabeth Star, and Alyssa (Jamarr) Breazeale; all of Pendleton, Ore.; five brothers, Woodrow Star III, Eagle Butte, S.D., Richard (Leilani) Star, Jesse Star, Carlisle Star, all of Pendleton, and Brandon (Angela) Mauai, Fort Yates; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Terry was preceded in death by his grandparents, Richard (Lillian Iron Bull) Martinez, Theresa Eagle, and Woodrow Star Sr.; four aunts; and two uncles.

The faculty of the House has decided to confer Deacon Terry Star a licentiate in theology posthumously. It will be conferred at Nashotah House’s graduation on May 22, 2014.

and here:

Star will be buried at Red Hail’s Camp at St. Gabriel’s Camp in Solen, North Dakota, where he served as a youth minister and camp director for many years. A meal will follow Star’s burial at the Red Gym in the middle of Cannon Ball, which is on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.

Red Hail, a Sioux warrior who donated land so that a church could be built among his people, was Star’s maternal great-great-grandfather, according to information posted on St. James’ Facebook page. Red Hail fought at the Battle of Greasy Grass, which also is known as the Battle of the Little Big Horn.

The St. Gabriel’s church that was built on Red Hail’s donated land burned in 1970, and the congregation joined St. James in Cannon Ball. The land at Solen grew into a church camp in the mid-1990s. The camp has been the site of the Diocese of North Dakota’s training of local members for ordained ministry. Seven, including Star, were trained there and later were ordained.

Star, whose council term would have ended after General Convention in 2015, was also a convention deputy. He belonged to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Star served as a deacon for the Standing Rock Episcopal Community.

White Mountain, shining face: Remembering Deacon Terry Star 

As the Rev. Terry Star is buried March 10 out of his home church of St. James Episcopal Church in Cannon Ball, North Dakota, we share the following article from fellow seminarian Benjamin Jefferies from Nashotah House who reflects on the memories and the legacy Star leaves behind.Star died of a heart attack the morning of March 4 at Nashotah House, where he was studying for ordination to the priesthood. He was 40.

ens_031014_terryStar[Nashotah House Theological Seminary] Truly, Nomen est Omen — the name determines the man: The brightness in Terry’s gentle eyes really did shine like a Star in the night sky. And what image is more apt to describe our peaceful, giant friend than his Lakota name :“White Mountain”. The impression of his calm, thoughtful, big, guileless, and playful presence is permanently etched into my memory. Although this memory-mark is indelible, how much fresher and warmer was the man himself, how much I would prefer to have him, and not just the memories.

We, here at the House, are missing him sorely. And we will miss him, indefinitely.  Although cliché, and although it seems like a small thing to say, “missing him” is the best way to put it. His faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord was manifestly evident in his life, carriage, and vocation as deacon. We thus have every available assurance that he is with the blessed souls in paradise, being drawn ever nearer to our God. We miss him like one who has gone away for a little while, but who we will see again before too long, when our time comes. After the shock, this was my second thought upon hearing the news of his death: Lucky him – who now gets to see Jesus face to face.

In his life and ministry, Death was no stranger to Terry. Although from our vantage there is a horrible, horrible, horrible suddenness to his own departure from this earth, Terry himself had no pretenses about the End that comes to us all. Three weeks ago, Terry and I were pall-bearers at a funeral of an old Son of the House. The celebrant remarked that he had buried nearly a thousand people in his time. Terry whispered to me that he had buried about that many in his time as a deacon. “Really?” I exclaimed, to which he replied that it was probably more like several hundred. Terry had mentioned to me before (We lived in Kemper hall together for a year and a half) that he had buried more of his “kids” – the teenagers he ministered to back home – than he would ever have liked. These, coupled with his parochial ministry generally, as well as recent passings in his family, brought death frequently before his eyes. I had no idea of the numbers though. But it made sense – of the light in his eyes. Only someone who has looked Death so squarely in the face could be that peaceful in Life. The next day, after he had told me about his hundreds, I told him as much, “Hey Terry, now I understand where that light in your eyes comes from – from having done all those funerals.” He smiled in that Terry way and nodded in agreement.

Deacon Terry Star (front right) serves as a pallbearer at one of the many funerals he'd attended.

I don’t know all the details of Terry’s life, but I have a few strong pictures from what he told me: There’s Terry as kid in his very tight-knit family. Upon showing me a piece of bead-work he was given as a gift, he told me that as a child he remembered sorting tens of thousands of these tiny beads with a pin at his grandparents house. As a Christian in the Native American community, Terry’s life was often one of living on borders, of liminality. In his travels throughout a predominantly White country, Terry was very frequently met with the full spectrum of racism – ranging from ignorant language-use, to stereotyping, to flat-out animosity and disrespect. In his Native community, he was sometimes eyed with a little suspicion for being a disciple of a religion not ancient to  Native people. Sometimes these two worlds would get mixed-up in odd ways: Terry once told me that at a ceremonial Native gathering, a White person who had “gotten into Native religion” approached Terry—who was wearing his alb and deacon’s stole—and started yelling at him that he was a ‘sell-out’. Upon telling me this story, before I could be empathetically appalled, he just started chuckling. It was a soft but unstoppable chuckle that revealed the outlook which Terry always had, as long as I got to be witness to his life: An outlook which was abounding in patience. In both senses of the word: A quiet suffering, which he shared with our Lord, and an understanding of the ignorance and folly of his fellow human beings, which he did not quickly hold against them.

Death. Liminality. Staples in Terry’s life which he had accepted. Lesser souls would have become depressed by such things, but Terry used them like the proverbial oyster uses the irritating sand, and it blessed us: The calm comportment he gained was a welcome blessing in a dorm hall where we young men were often losing our composure under the stress of life and school-work. He was a ballast to us – helping to keep us emotionally upright in times of trial. This ministry of presence was far from passive. About once a week Terry would make one of his marvelous stews or soups for we Kemper guys, and anyone else who happened to be passing through at dinner time. He brought his TV out to the common area, so we could all watch movies together (on weekends only, of course) – an activity that, no matter how mundane, did much to build community on the floor.

Beyond domestic life, the experiences Terry had engendered a profound intellectual life. Although classroom work was sometimes a struggle for Terry, compounded by how often he was called-for off-campus (for funerals back home, to Executive Council on the East Coast,etc.), Terry had profound perspicuity into the relationship between Christianity and Culture, arising from his reflections on ministering within a Native context. Many things he shared with us about his vision for ministry were paradigm molding. In the spirit of Justin Martyr, he wrote a paper outlining how the pre-incarnate Logos had directed the religious thought of the Dakota people to be congruous in form to the Christian message. He spoke of using Sage – an herb used by the Dakota in religious ceremonies – in a thurible, to connect Christian worship with the senses of the people-group from whence he came. And many other things like this. Terry was a paragon of keeping the difficult balance between recognizing Christian identity as first and trump, but not neglecting the riches that culture affords, nor overlooking the oppressive facts of history.

We will miss Terry. We will miss his calm. His ministry. His keen intellect. More than these we will miss his smile, that warm, generous smile, with those bright eyes. But more than all of this, we just miss him. I keep thinking of these lines from John Updike:

And another regrettable thing about death
is the ceasing of your own brand of magic,
which took a whole life to develop…
…The whole act.
Who will do it again? That’s it: no one;
imitators and descendants aren’t the same.
         — from “Perfection Wasted”

Now, I know Terry wasn’t perfect, but by earthly lights, it still sure seems to be a waste—that his life and ministry are so soon over. But we trust God, nevertheless. Trust that this whole thing – Terry’s whole life, and death, are subject to Him, even though it doesn’t appear to be in subjection sometimes. And we trust that our loss is Terry’s gain, as he looks on the master, whose service he imitated, face to shining face.”

– Benjamin Jefferies is a senior student at Nashotah House Theological Seminary.

and here

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said in a statement that “the Episcopal Church has been much blessed by the ministry of Deacon Terry Star, on Standing Rock, as a member of Executive Council, and through the many relationships he had built throughout the church and beyond.”

“We give thanks for his life and witness, his prophetic voice, and his reconciling heart. All his relatives are grieving, and we pray that his soul may rest in peace and his spirit continue to prod us all in continuing the ministry of healing we have from Jesus.”

At the most recent council meeting, Star helped lead an effort that resulted in the council joining what has become a nationwide effort that has reached to the White House to convince the National Football League’s Washington Redskins team to change its name.

Star was born in Seattle, Washington. He lived on 10 Indian reservations, in part because of his father’s career in tribal law enforcement, according to information on Star’s LinkedIn page.

Lillian Ironbull-Martinez, his maternal grandmother, raised him in the Episcopal Church and, according to his LinkedIn biography, he and other members of the Standing Rock Episcopal Community liked to joke that they are “cradle-board Episcopalians.”

Sioux Episcopalians celebrate new church arisen out of arsonist’s ashes

St. James comes home to a ‘place for new memories’

 

Episcopal News Service – Cannon Ball, North Dakota] On a brilliantly bright but frigid late Nov. 23 morning here on the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation, the people of St. James Episcopal Church officially came home to a new church that echoes a teepee and feels as if the worshippers are gathered in a dream catcher.

The temperature hovered around 6 degrees Fahrenheit and a slight wind was blowing off the nearby Missouri River as congregation members and visitors stood in the gravel parking lot for the beginning of the service.

They sang “Many and Great,” a hymn that the Rev. John Floberg, St. James rector, said was believed to be the first Christian hymn written in Lakota. It was sung, he told the congregation, by 38 Dakota men as they walked to the gallows Dec. 26, 1862 in the largest one-day execution in U.S. history after they were convicted on allegations that they were part of an uprising that year.

“Let the door be open,” said North Dakota Bishop Michael Smith, wearing an Indian feather headdress in place of a miter and loudly pounding on the door.

When the Rev. Neil Two Bears and acolyte Mia Two Bears opened the door, Smith announced “Peace be to this house, and all who enter here,” using his pastoral staff to mark the threshold with the sign of the cross.

….The sole visible reminder of that night is the cross that hangs in front of a star quilt above the pulpit. It is made of two rugged and charred pieces of timber from the floor of the St. James Guild Hall, the only wood that was not reduced to ashes in the fire.

“It feels like a homecoming,” said Senior Warden Florestine Grant before the service began. “We’re dreaming about the things we can do here for the children, for the elders and for the culture.”

One of her daughters, Alex Spotted Elk, said that it was too bad that a fire caused the congregation to have to build a new building. But, looking up to the opening at the top of the roof, she said, “This is a place for new memories.”

The Rev. Terry Star, a deacon who grew up in St. James and is a seminarian at Nashotah House, preaches Nov. 23 during the consecration of the new St. James. Behind him is a cross made of two rugged and charred pieces of timber from the floor of the St. James Guild Hall, the only wood that was not reduced to ashes in the July 25, 2012 arson fire. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

The Rev. Terry Star, a deacon who grew up in St. James and who is now a seminarian at Nashotah House in Wisconsin, recalled during his sermon how nearly 100 years ago an Episcopal bishop told the Sioux in the area they had to put away their Indian adornments in order to be Christian. That attitude is changed, Star said, as evidenced by the adornment of the new St. James.

“We can be a Dakota people; we can be who we are – that God made us to be – and still follow Jesus Christ,” he said.

Star said he hoped that the beautiful and colorful church would become a strong symbol for the people of the area.

He recalled a story that his grandmother told him of Iya, a great monster whose name literally means “mouth,” who was eating up the people, and Ikto, the trickster who flattered the monster to get him to trust him. Ikto pretended to be Iya’s big brother and asked what the monster feared. Iya said he was afraid of loud noise, of singing and drumming. Ikto went ahead to the next village and told them to start celebrating with songs and drums.

The trick worked; Iya was paralyzed by fear and Ikto killed him. When Iya’s stomach was cut open, all the people the monster had swallowed came back to life.

“We have a darkness eating up our people,” Star said. “It’s something swallowing up our people.”

A drive around Cannon Ball, Star said, shows a lack of “artwork and colorfulness,” other than the “marshmallow-colored housing” whose tints were not the choice of the occupants.

“We have an opportunity in this building and through the Gospel and through our worship in this building to bring color and celebration back into the community,” he said. “We can chase away the Iya that’s eating up our people.”

 

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