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Non-Evangelical Mission

A Message from Re-Member Founder, Keith Titus

Re-Member began with a somewhat unique concept to what some have called a "non-evangelical mission". I personally reject this designation. First, since Re-Member is not a church-sponsored organization, but rather a nonprofit corporation, we do not "mission" in the accepted sense of the word. Yet, most of our board members over the years would describe their motivation as springing from their faith, whatever that faith might be.

My wife, Ginny, and I are ordained ministers in the United Church of Christ. Still, we do not present ourselves to the Lakota people on Pine Ridge Reservation as "Christian Missionaries" and all of our literature explicitly indicates that we allow no overt evangelizing by our volunteers who come out to South Dakota and work with us. Re-Member is not controlled or directed by any denomination.

Throughout the years, Re-Member has entered into "covenantal relationships" with individual churches. These covenants recognize the importance of Re-Member's activities, but do not allow for any authority or jurisdiction over those activities.

In our second newsletter, we said: "...Re-Member's approach to outreach ministry is based on our understanding of our Christian responsibility, mandate and desire to feed, clothe, shelter and heal those who are marginalized by society. We do not travel to the Reservation to preach, proselytize or convert."

Re-Member challenges those who come as volunteers to learn about and to respect indigenous culture and spirituality. We see our role as friends and neighbors in a community with the Oglala Lakota people of Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, and call Pine Ridge home, just as they do.

Re-Member welcomes volunteers regardless of religious affiliation. Seventeen different denominations have participated in our program over the years. Individuals with no religious affiliation at all have also come out to work with us, and Re-Member does not promote any denomination or faith. Colleges, universities and high schools across the United States have sent volunteers, many of them coming as part of their "Spring Break Alternative" programs, or as a component of their Service Project Requirements.

Re-Member takes its name from the ancient definition, to "put back that which is broken; to re-member." Conditions on Pine Ridge represent a part of our world that is broken, a part that we seek to put back together.