PEMBROKE – Tribal Chairman Harvey Godwin announced Thursday that the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina will hold a special prayer service Sunday morning before the final day of the powwow.
He has invited all ministers to attend. The interdenominational service starts at 9 a.m. to highlight day three of the 12th annual Dance of the Spring Moon powwow at the Lumbee Tribe’s Indian Cultural Center.
Godwin said he plans to lead the service.
“Upon reflection and prayer I have decided to take the lead and conduct the prayer service myself on Sunday. I think it is important as the leader of the Lumbee People and a Christian to lead this service and hopefully other tribal leadership and their people as well as our own will join me,” he said.
Godwin said it is important to include Christian worship service as part of the annual celebration of Indian culture. The tribe has held three prayer services at the tribal complex since Godwin took office Jan. 8.
The chairman said he wanted to have the next ceremony on a Sunday and he felt it would be appropriate to have it at the Lumbee Tribe’s newly revived Indian Cultural Center.
“Now that the weather is good, this will give us an opportunity to have it outdoors,” Godwin said. “The Cultural Center is in shape now and I want to have it there on Sunday morning because Sunday is the most significant day of the week. This will allow us to get back to the environment and this is relevant to how our ancestors worshiped years ago. It allows us to get back to nature.”
Many Lumbees worshipped outdoors in the years before the first churches were built in the 1800s. Some still held brush arbor worship services outdoor as late as the early 20th century as many communities still did not have church buildings.
Godwin said it’s important to keep in mind that prayer and worship have always been at the forefront of the Lumbee experiences. He said he is pleased to make it a part of the powwow celebration as it will be an opportunity for people from varying religious backgrounds to worship as one on the tribal grounds.
“We would like to invite all of our churches to participate,” Godwin said. “It does not matter what denomination. We want all to feel welcome and to take part in our powwow celebration.”