Icon (Close Menu)

‘Come to us, Holy Spirit’

When hundreds of young-adult pilgrims rolled into Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in Red Shirt Table, South Dakota, for a Memorial Day weekend gathering, small echoes of familiarity greeted them even as they entered a different world.

Across from the pasture where they pitched their tents stood a tiny white building, Christ Church, where the Book of Common Prayer is used as often as the Lakota language hymnal. Water came from an outdoor hand pump rather than a faucet. But the Water of Life was in no short supply, just like at pilgrims’ home churches in Monterrey, Boulder, St. Paul, and points beyond.

Common touchstones from Christian tradition helped water seeds of reconciliation at Taizé Pine Ridge. More than 500 accepted the open invitation from Oglala Lakota hosts to gather, pray, learn, and seek under the guidance of six monks from the ecumenical Taizé Community in France.

“It’s not just a nice meeting that we want to do,” said Brother Alois, abbot of the Taizé Community, on the opening night. “Our coming together will help us to understand something new of the Gospel, to understand the Gospel in new ways. … We hope the Holy Spirit will disturb us [to] find new ways of creating communion.”

Christianity and white people have long met with suspicion on parts of this reservation. Here a disenfranchised people remember how missionaries helped the federal government bypass treaties and take the gold-rich Black Hills from the Lakota (Sioux). Fresh painting on a grave marker at Wounded Knee, site of an 1890 massacre, said Black Hills Not For Sale. At the Taizé campsite, pilgrims were warned not to visit a Ghost Dance site in the distance because it’s considered sacred.

The remainder of this article is available only to subscribers.

Print subscribers to The Living Church have free access to all premium online content. Click here to purchase a print subscription, or if you’re already a print subscriber, register now for premium access.

Online-only subscribers have access to all premium online articles for just $35 a year. Click here to subscribe.

Registered users, please log in here.


Top headlines. Every Friday.



Most Recent

Bishops Back Communion Across Difference Canons

Bishop John Bauerschmidt described Resolution A092 as “one of those canonical amendments that has purchase in both directions.”

Bishops Reject ‘Apartheid’ Label for Israeli Government

The House of Bishops defeated resolutions June 23 that would have classified Israel’s treatment of Palestinians as “apartheid” and Palestinians as an “indigenous people” of the land.

Ayala Harris Preaches on Jesus’ Presence

“We are bound together by a love that is stronger than any storm.”

Steve Wood Elected ACNA Archbishop

Steve Wood serves as Bishop of the Carolinas and rector of St. Andrew’s Church in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.