Seminarian Profile: Christy Oxendine

christy-oxendine I was born and raised in Lumberton, NC and I am a member of the Lumbee Tribe. Growing up I attended Branch Street UMC for 18 years. I attended East Carolina University and graduated in 2003. From there I spent a year in the Peace Corps where I volunteered in the South Pacific. I attended my first graduate program in Minnesota where I studied Counseling and College Student Affairs. In 2007 I began working full-time in higher education. I served as an Academic Advisor and prior to starting seminary I worked at Greensboro College as the Director for Academic Success. While working in Greensboro I also became a member of Christ UMC. Currently I am finishing my second year of seminary at Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. I am focusing some of my classes on a Certificate in Women in Theology and Ministry.

I am currently a certified candidate and will be pursuing Elder ordination after graduation (May 2016). I felt called to ministry while serving at Mt. Pleasant UMC in Gainesville, Florida. It was there I saw the church interacting in an impactful way in the community. We had members who started attending because of the churches hospitality to their Narcotics Anonymous sponsored meetings. We were also a HIV testing site, served as an emergency shelter for the homeless and did visited with individuals living in a tent city in our community. I would like to continue working in outreach and I feel my studies at Candler are preparing me for a life of advocacy and social justice work.

I feel the beauty of Easter is the hope in new beginnings. There are many congregations and individuals who are looking for a stronger connection to God. The introspective nature of native people could add a dimension for those seeking greater awareness and closeness with God. I feel the Native American community can share its love of community and nature with the wider UMC family. I think hope can continue to be evoked in the awareness provided by the Native American Ministries Sundays. Opportunities to share our stories and culture can be available anytime of the year. I think it will be up to congregations and individuals to be bold just as Jesus was in his ministry.  Jesus was a voice for many of the marginalized and those deemed “hopeless” from society. However, as Native Americans continue to thrive and overcome obstacles, it is the greater community that can say, “we stand with you”.