First UMC Douglas, Wyoming hosts Sand Creek descendants

December 06, 2016
Story and photos submitted by the Rev. Donnie Holt
First United Methodist Church, Douglas, Wyoming

Wednesday, Nov. 23 was a good day to travel. The weather for Wyoming this time of year was mild and sunny. Our thoughts, prayers, and efforts were not focused on preparing for the next day’s festive meal, but rather for receiving some very special guests into our spiritual home – First United Methodist Church in Douglas, Wyoming. Our guests were the runners and elders of the Northern Arapaho from Wind River Reservation who were on their way to the Sand Creek Massacre site for the Healing Run this year.

This opportunity blossomed out of conversation with Ben Ridgely, who was our guide during the Acts of Repentance at annual conference three years ago. We spoke of what could be done that fall to assist the delegation that was traveling from the Wind River Reservation to the Sand Creek Massacre site. 2014 was the 150th anniversary of the Massacre, and we humbly welcomed and served lunch to over 100 members of the Northern Arapaho and offered a place to stretch, rest, regroup, and replenish as they journeyed to the Healing Run. 

This year, we again met with Ben and his brother Gail at annual conference. We extended the invitation again to provide for them and their people a place of rest and food for their journey to Sand Creek. That invitation was accepted and we were blessed to serve over 75 members of the Northern Arapaho. Every runner this year was a descendant of the Massacre survivors and it was moving to meet and converse with them as they prepared themselves for the long run ahead. We shared our time, space, and smiles to encourage each other in the worthy cause of finding healing through spiritual and physical actions of love, which will hopefully pave the way for peace and reconciliation of all of God’s children.