Fort Yuma UMC

Did you know Fort Yuma is a Native American Ministry in the Desert Southwest Conference? Looking at the church photo, you might think it is a strong and thriving ministry. But when Pastor Manuel Jimenez began his appointment at Fort Yuma, he quickly discovered the church building, including the historical sanctuary, was not fit to minister to the existing members properly and certainly not ready to invite anyone new. The small congregation currently worships in the fellowship hall because the sanctuary had an infestation of pigeons and rats that created holes in the roof and burrowed into the walls. Immediately, a clean-up and muck-out cycle began, but a stench remains, so we know more work and ripping out of walls and floors are needed.

Already more tribe people are coming, rolling up their sleeves, and digging in with extra donations to cover the cost of fumigation and next steps. The reality is they can’t do it alone, but thanks to God, they aren’t alone in a connectional denomination.

Prescott Valley UMC has adopted Fort Yuma UMC as their mission focus for November. Every month the church learns about a need and comes together with fundraisers and projects to make things happen. Last year for November’s Native American Heritage month, the church raised approximately $1,000 for the Navajo Water Project. This November, they wanted to focus on Native American Ministries again, so they connected with Gary Long, the Conference chair of Native American Ministries, and learned about Fort Yuma UMC and its needs.

Fort Yuma United Methodist Church is located on the Fort Yuma Indian Reservation in Winterhaven, California  (across the Colorado River from Yuma, AZ). Initially established as a mission, Fort Yuma UMC seeks to serve the members of the Quechan Indian Tribe as well as those in the surrounding area. The church has a ministry history of more than a hundred years and starting a Spanish-speaking ministry.

If your church is like Prescott Valley UMC with abundant love and looking for a way to honor, support, or engage with Native American Ministries, consider adopting Fort Yuma UMC this Christmas or plan to volunteer with UMVIM in January.

The Desert Southwest Conference United Methodist Volunteers in Mission is organizing a mission trip to Fort Yuma UMC on January 19-22, 2023. Church groups or individuals can sign up to volunteer or contact Mike Eyer, chair of the Desert Southwest Conference UMVIM team, at clnmwe@gmail.com to learn more, or check out the UMVIM registration form to find a list of project tasks to be completed during this trip. 

To raise awareness about Native American Ministries, use the resources available at any of the links provided below.

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Author: Christina Dillabough

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