Five Questions for Carol Roth | Sojourners

Five Questions for Carol Roth

Carol Roth, a staff leader with Native Mennonite Ministries, connects Native Mennonites with the broader Mennonite church.
Carol Roth (Photo courtesy of Everett J. Thomas/The Mennonite)

Bio: Carol Roth [Choctaw] is staff leader for Native Mennonite Ministries, a group that does liaison work between Native Mennonites and the broader Mennonite church.

1. What are you most passionate about in your vocational role?
I’m passionate about working with the Native Mennonite people and helping them find a place in the Mennonite church. Unfortunately, some of the Native churches aren’t close to the Mennonite conferences, so you have to drive 800 miles to be connected to a conference, especially when you live on a reservation without internet or telephone. So my role is to connect the conference ministers and the conference with the Native churches and get them involved.

2. How did you come to straddle the Mennonite and Choctaw traditions?
When my twin sister and I were born [on a Choctaw reservation in Mississippi], my mom felt like she couldn’t give adequate care to two newborns. It happened that there were Mennonite missionaries who had moved nearby to help with the Choctaw group, and my parents asked if they could care for us for the winter. My parents realized how well they were taking care of us, so they asked if they could continue to care for us. My parents didn’t want them to adopt us, because they wanted us to keep our culture. So we grew up with the Mennonite missionaries, and then pretty much for all our lives attended one of the Choctaw churches.

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