Ethnic Background: Full Blooded Navajo
Conference: Mountain Sky
Probationary Date: 06/18/2018
Full Membership Date: 06/19/2020
Number of Eligible Quadrenniums: 2
Rehoboth Christian High School, New Mexico GED
Kuyper College, Michigan A.A.
Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary, Illinois M.Div.
Claremont School of Theology D.Min. (in process of completion)
2013—present – Blackfeet United Methodist Parish; Mountain Sky Conference, Western Jurisdiction
2010—2013 – St. Paul United Methodist Church; New Mexico Conference, South Central Jurisdiction
2003—2005 – Stockbridge United Methodist Church, Northwest United Methodist Church; West Michigan Conference, North Central Jurisdiction
1999—2002 – Oakdale United Methodist Church, Salem Indian Mission, Bradley Indian Mission; West Michigan Conference, North Central Jurisdiction
1997—1998 – Kewadin Indian Mission; West Michigan Conference, North Central Jurisdiction
Community and Ecumenical Involvement:
1999–2003 – Racial, Ethnic, Local Church, West Michigan Conference
1999–2008 – Indian Workers Conference, West Michigan Conference
2010–2012 – Four Corners Native American Ministry, Board chair, New Mexico
2012- 2015 – Instructor: Evangelism; Native American Course of Study, Methodist Theological School of Ohio
2010– 2013 – Instructor: Formation of Discipleship; Native American Course of Study, Methodist Theological School of Ohio
2018– present – Mountain Sky Conference CONAM chair
2020–present – Western Jurisdiction CONAM
2022– present – Montana High Line Circuit Leader, Mountain Sky Conference
Other Relevant Experience:
• Chaplain, Michigan Governor’s Diversity Small Business Round Table
• Chaplain, Presbyterian Assisted Living, Evanston, Illinois
• Chaplain, Hobbs Law Enforcement
• Chaplain, Blackfeet Law Enforcement
• Chaplain, Browning Volunteer Fire Department
Chaplain, Kellogg’s Company Diversity Small Business Round Table
Ministerial Alliance Member Kalamazoo, Michigan
Ministerial Alliance Member Lea County New, Mexico
Ministerial Alliance Member Browning, Montana
Lecturer of Religious Diversity, Hope College Nursing, Michigan
Lecturer of Religious Diversity, Calvin College Nursing, Michigan
Rotary Club Lea County Hobbs, New Mexico
Lions Club Lea County Hobbs, New Mexico
Board Member University of the Southwest, Hobbs New, Mexico
Automotive Refinisher, Automotive Body shop work
Professional Bull Rider
Professional Horsemanship Trainer
Professional Native American Northern Traditional Dancer
Professional Native American Grass Dancer
Why are you being called to the episcopacy at this time? What is it that you especially bring to the role of bishop with the current challenges facing our denomination and the Western Jurisdiction right now?
As I understand, we the United Methodist people have been manifesting in a complex commission to create disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. The charge comes with several diverse challenges in culture, theology, and language. The teaching of culture over being disciples of Jesus Christ seemed to be preferred. The ideology was accepted as the gospel, to where colonization surfaced. Colonization hinders the Gospel and effects a true making of God’s Kingdom. The ideology enforces exclusion and is racial, there is nothing holy about this approach.
I am considering episcopacy as still faithfully spreading Christ’s welcoming atonement without the dogmatic colonialization. I am a victim of colonial oppression and have found a peaceful understanding available to move forward from the aftermath. In this peace I have challenged to overturn conventional wisdom, culture, and religious practices that influence barriers of the atonement Christ gives to all people. I have challenged and changed language, culture, to where it’s given intergenerational trajectories and a healthy path to holiness. I do courageously speak for many marginalized people who have great hope in fulfilling their call by God.
I bring a non-linear approach of being Church, a contextualized spiritual practice of being church, and an indigenous theology. Change is what I walk, it’s a lifestyle formulated by living in the aftermath of colonization.
Describe how the last two years have affected your ministry.
The Blackfeet United Methodist Parish (BUMP) has been my appointment for the past 8 years. I am the first Native American appointed to BUMP and the first to become a member in full connection of the Mountain Sky Annual Conference.
BUMP mission statement is to develop a Christ centered community that will create disciples to serve all people. The vision moved into a contextualized ministry using the value structures of the Blackfeet Nation. The Blackfeet value system gained an attraction, and formulated programs using livestock, agricultural, and equine. As the fascination rose, it streamed to many connectional church mission’s committees across the United States. These mission teams helped in structural developments, mentoring groups, and developing authentic relationships. This contextualized ministry helped BUMP progress in membership, economical sustainability, and leadership. The mission was booming before the COVID-19.
The pandemic caused BUMP to fall in line with three restricted protocols from the Blackfeet Nation, Montana State CDC, and Mountain Sky Conference leading to the decline attendance, tithing and support from outside mission groups. So, the mission had to become innovative. The innovation was “how might usage of building space be sustainable to the ministry?” BUMP mission team creatively developed covenant relationships with community organizations to encourage mutual support, cross-fertilization of ideas, sharing resources, and exploration of new forms of economical sustainability. This innovative approach kept the mission viable.
Endorser: Rev. Chebon Kernell
Relationship to Candidate: Collogue and fellow Native American Elder
Rev. Hill, has a proven resume that demonstrates that he has worked closely within local communities and interacted with a diverse population. From his time in seminary to his most recent appointment serving the Blackfeet Native American community, his perseverance in maintaining a presence among the people is something lacking in many episcopal candidates today. Rev. Hill has worked with leaders from the community to respond to the needs found beyond the walls of the church. He has worked with tribal councils and with grass roots organizers on various issues such as Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) He has even provided local leadership to Committees on Native American Ministries and denominational initiatives such as the General Conference mandated “Acts of Repentance”.
Rev. Hill brings the deepest of understanding of his identity as a Native American. A fluent speaker of the Navajo language, possessor of cultural knowledge, he has used his life of Indigenous upbringing to better the ministries he has been a part of. In a time when various levels of appropriation have taken place concerning Native American identity, Rev. Hill brings and authenticity and honesty that is unmatched in general society today. This knowledge and respect for identity is also absent from the hierarchies of the UMC today.
Rev. Chebon Kernell
Elder, Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference
Executive Director, Native American Comprehensive Plan
Member of the Seminole Nation of OK
Endorser: Rev. Rodney Aist
Relationship to Candidate: Collogue and Course Director, St George’s College, Jerusalem
Rev. Calvin Hill is uniquely equipped to serve as an episcopal leader for the United Methodist Church. A visionary spiritual leader, Calvin’s ministry exemplifies a pastoral and missional outreach focused on establishing Christ-centered communities that create disciples to serve all of God’s people. At a time of denominational transition, Calvin offers our institution an inclusion pathway forward, through leadership skills grounded in a deep personal knowledge of God and the Christ-like values of love, hope, and compassion. Embracing the marginalized while focusing upon the life and death issues of the human condition, Calvin embodies a servant-style faith that recognizes the dignity of all. As the UMC looks for guidance through time of pain, trauma, and healing, Calvin’s spiritual gifts have been forged through similar challenges of his lived experience. A holy and healing presence, Calvin has been called to the highest expression of Christian leadership, a calling divinely sustained in creative, life-giving ways through his Navajo identity and culture. Embodying the virtues of fortitude, grace, and wisdom, Calvin is a natural teacher and unifier as well as a prophetic voice unafraid to critique structures, policies, and practices that fall below Christ’s version of the kingdom of God.
Rev. Rodney Aist
Elder, New Mexico Annual Conference
Course Director, St Georges College, Jerusalem
Former Director, Four Corners Native American Ministry, Navajo Nation
Endorser: Rev Cherie Walker-Meadows
Relationship to Candidate: Collogue, and Alabama UMVIM mission leader to Blackfeet United Methodist Parish
I have been working with Rev. Calvin Hill since 2016 as I bring UMVIM teams to be in mission and ministry with the Blackfeet United Methodist Parish each year. Calvin is a true servant of God with a vision for ministry like none I have seen before. I have been involved with this ministry since 2004 and the growth it has experienced under his leadership in the last seven years is nothing short of phenomenal. Life and ministry on the Blackfeet reservation is not easy and has challenges few other pastors have to face. Since his appointment there, a congregation that was barely surviving is now thriving, including two local pastors that have been called and licensed and others exploring calls to ministry. His vision includes using the limited resources they have available to make this ministry self-sustaining. He is a Biblical preacher that, because of his own cultural background, is able to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ alive in a way that makes it relevant to this congregation and community. Calvin Hill is the kind of leader that brings hope for the future of The United Methodist Church and would serve us all well as an episcopal leader.
Rev. Cherie Walker Meadows
Alabama-West Florida Conference