By RENEE FITE
David D. Cook believes his recent appointment as pastor at D.D. Etchieson United Methodist Church allows him to discover his roots as a Native American.
The local church is a member of the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference of the United Methodist Churches, which was established in 1844 following the removal of native people from their homelands.
“I am a member of the Muscogee Nation and I am of the Wind clan,” Cook said. “Being appointed to this faith community is allowing me to discover my roots as a Native American. My father, W. Wayne Cook, was am FBI – full-blood Indian – and my mother was Scots-Irish.”
Cook has served 20 churches in the Oklahoma Conference from Tulsa to Keyes, which is located in the Oklahoma panhandle. He was appointed to this congregation June 19, 2012, by the bishop. Methodist pastors are assigned statewide.
Cook graduated from Oklahoma City University with a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology, and earned his Master of Divinity degree from Phillips Graduate Seminary.
He has known since childhood the path his career would take.
“I have known I would serve God since I was 8 years old,” Cook said. “Although I have pastors in my family as far back as the 1850s, I have chosen this as a life calling from a very early age, rather than a family tradition.”
Cook and his church members are still getting to know one another.
“The most impressive aspect of [the members of] this faith community is their willingness to strive together and to accomplish task before them,” said Cook. “They are willing to share and give of themselves, and sometimes this goes beyond their means. I believe they strive to share their spiritual nature, as well as their overall understanding of what it means to be a follower of Christ.”
Traditional native music is a part of that community.
“We have a Cherokee Choir that consists of three church communities, and they travel around the USA, representing Christ and Tahlequah while singing Cherokee songs, but not limited to Cherokee language only,” said Cook. “Creek, Kiowa and Ponca songs are also part of their ministry.”
At D.D. Etchieson, sharing faith is a strong part of the church community.
“We believe we are an inclusive church community that welcomes all people, and our only desire is to share our faith, witness and love to the community in which we live, serve and grow,” Cook said.
A fundraiser quilt has been made, and raffle tickets are available. The proceeds will be used to purchase a sound system to go in the congregation’s new community room. The first Thursday of each month, the church hosts an Indian taco dinner from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
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