Twiss is co-founder and president of Wiconi International, an organization supporting Christian ministry in Indigenous communities throughout the United States and the Americas.
Stephen Kendall, a member of the Uniting General Council (UGC) planning team, says the keynote presentation will focus on the present-day concerns and aspirations of Indigenous peoples in the United States.
“This will enhance the understanding of all UGC delegates as they reflect on the historic relationship between the Church and the First Peoples of North America and the need for healing and reconciliation,” Kendall says.
Twiss replaces the originally-scheduled speaker, Wilma Mankiller, following her death in early April.
Issues affecting American Indian and Canadian First Nations’ peoples figure prominently in the UGC agenda. Programme highlights include the ceremonial invitation by local tribal leaders for delegates to meet in their land; workshop opportunities; and, after Twiss’s presentation, an afternoon of activities in Ah-Nab-Awen Park, on the Grand River in downtown Grand Rapids. The feature will be a Pow Wow to which the public is invited, with artists’ and vendors’ displays, as well as a Christian worship service led by indigenous members of North American denominations who are in the WCRC.
The UGC will mark the merger of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches and the Reformed Ecumenical Council to form the World Communion of Reformed Churches. Member churches include Presbyterian, Congregationalist, Waldensian, United and Uniting churches representing 80 million adherents.
Organizers expect up to 1000 people to gather for the 10-day event with delegates traveling to the United States from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean, Middle East and Pacific.
The keynote presentation is to be delivered Tuesday, 22 June at Calvin College in the Spoelhof Fieldhouse Complex at 11:15 a.m. The event is open to the public.