Part of the reason Rain Ministries exists today is because of the friendship and leadership of Richard Twiss and his ministry, Wiconi International. It was our privilege to minister by his side and in partnership with him on several occasions. His Many Nations One Voice gatherings were groundbreaking and paved the way for many who are following in his footsteps. Thank you Jesus for giving the Body of Christ and the world the gift of this man.
Extended Bio from the Wiconi Website
Dr. Richard Twiss was a member of the Sicangu Lakota Oyate from the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota. His mother is Sicangu Lakota from Rosebud and his father Oglala Lakota from the Pine Ridge Reservation. He was President of Wiconi International committed to “Creating opportunities for the betterment of our Native People and Communities through advancing education, culture, family and spirituality – in the Spirit of Jesus.”
Richard was a widely traveled and popular speaker, activist, educator, author and networker among innovative thinkers within the Native North American and Indigenous community internationally. Born in 1954, Richard held a doctorate in inter-cultural studies (cultural anthropology, primal and folk religions and the history of Christian mission) from Asbury Theological Seminary.
He had been a national conference speaker for numerous government, educational and religious organizations as well as lecturer in dozens of colleges/universities/seminaries. His audiences include the United Tribes Tribal College, North Dakota Governor’s Prayer Breakfast, City of Buffalo Reconciliation Task Force, U.S. Immigration of Naturalization National Headquarters, City of Portland Mayoral Staff, Promise Keepers, State of Oregon Department of Forestry, in addition to hundreds of local churches and events. He was Sr. Pastor of New Discovery Community Church (1982-95) and served as national Director of Native American Ministries for the International Bible Society (1995-96).
He consulted with denominational leaders, government organizations and educational institutions and local churches to raise awareness for Native American people and diversity awareness. He has spoken in or led Native American performing arts teams to fifteen countries as ambassadors of hope and reconciliation with remarkable results.
Richard addressed a broad range of topics including missions history in relationship to Native American people and how it shaped U.S. history and federal policy; postmodern thought and culture with a special emphasis on the influence of worldview in shaping theology, political ideologies, leadership, global mission, spiritual formation and social justice.
Richard’s book One Church Many Tribes – Serving Jesus the Way God Made You (Regal Books, 2000) articulates a vision for Native/indigenous people being embraced as co-equals in the life of the dominant culture church, as significant contributors in shaping peoples understanding of Creator, creation and community, not marginalized as a needy mission field! (32,000 in print).
He has contributed chapters/essays in The Justice Project (Baker Books, 2009), Holy Bible:Mosaic (Tyndale, 2009), Jamestown Remembered (Pickwick Publishing, 2010) Coming Together in the 21st Century by Curtiss Paul DeYoung (Judson Press, 2009),Common Prayer (Zondervan 2010), by Shane Claiborne, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove and Enuma Okoro as well as magazines and scholarly journals. He is a Contributing Editor ofCultural Encounters – A Journal for the Theology of Culture: New Wine New Wineskins(Multnomah Biblical Seminary). He is a former writer for Charisma Magazine of a bi-monthly column entitled Smoke Signals (2001-02).
He served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Native American Youth and Family Center in Portland, OR, the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA), the Board of Regents for Bakke Graduate University and was a founding member and Vice-chair of the North American Institute of Indigenous Theological Studies. He serves as an adjunct professor at Portland State University, Warner Pacific College and Sioux Falls and George Fox Seminaries. He was a member of the Portland Indian Leadership Roundtable and served as the U.S. representative for the World Christian Gathering of Indigenous People Movement.
In 1972, Richard was a participant in the forced occupation of the Bureau of Indian Affairs Building, in Washington, D.C., with the radical political group, the American Indian Movement or “AIM.” He has a unique view of some of the internal cultural, social and spiritual struggles of Native American people today.
He and Katherine were married in 1976, and they lived in Vancouver, Washington where they raised four sons.
As a Native American, or First Nations leader, Richard brought a fresh and unique worldview perspective about what if means to “be human and follow Jesus” to help his listeners learn to value and appreciate those who are different from themselves. Richard’s engaging humor disarmed audiences, opening their hearts and minds to embrace an invitation and challenge to become radically committed to “loving your neighbor as yourself.”