THE HISTORICAL IMPACT AND CURRENT CHALLENGES OF CHRISTIAN MINISTRY AMONG THE ABORIGINAL PEOPLE OF THE DELAWARE BAY REGION
Dissertation submitted by JR Norwood to the North-West University for the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Missiology (Theology of Missions), May 2015
The purpose of this research is to assess and address issues of contextualization and reconciliation as they pertain to Christianization and cultural preservation within the three Nanticoke-Lenape American Indian tribal communities remaining in the states of New Jersey and Delaware in the United States. The study seeks to provide insight into the challenges for ministry within the socio-cultural and political context of the tribal communities, particularly in regard to meaningful healing and reconciliation over the lingering effects of colonization, in a manner that promotes integral, holistic, contextualized Christian ministry. To achieve this, the study investigates the historical backdrop of the tribal communities, including European contact, colonization, missions, assimilation and cultural survival. Past and present tribal lifeways, beliefs, and practices are evaluated through documented historical sources and contemporary accounts. The research highlights the histories and current ministries of the principal historic tribal congregations, and their role in the spiritual, cultural, and political survival of the tribes. It also assesses possible approaches for effective, mission oriented, compassionate engagement as a matter of faithful contextualization and social justice.
[ Key Words: American Christianity; American Indians; Contextualization; Delaware Bay; Delaware Indians; Doctrine of Discovery; Indigenization; Lenape; Ministry Challenges; Missions; Nanticoke; Native Americans ]