Does & Bows

Does & Bows

Written by the Rev. Sarah E. Smith Curate, Emmanuel Episcopal Church Shawnee. 

The Order of Naucratius is a community of hunters and anglers within the Episcopal Church that lives by a rule of life that includes prayer, conservation and charity. The Order started out of the Seminary of the Southwest when a couple of seminarians started dreaming about how to build an outdoorsman community around a robust theology of creation care. Chapters of Naucratius have popped up all over the country in recent years including Oklahoma, West Missouri, Louisiana, Texas, Western Michigan and Indianapolis. Each one serves the needs and interests of their own context by finding ways to feed people in need with wild game.

Naucratius Oklahoma has held mostly fishing events to build community and promote sharing the harvest via the skills of harvesting fish and managing natural habitats like the farm ponds at the Diocesan Camp and Conference Center, St. Crispin's in Wewoka, OK. This year the Order decided to tackle a different land management issue on the property - the deer population. The Oklahoma State Wildlife Department has been enthusiastically promoting doe management throughout the entire state for the last decade and was happy to help promote the first Does & Bows event. The purpose of Does & Bows was not only to bring attention to deer management as a form of creation care but to also build a relationship with the peoples of whose land St. Crispin’s sits inside the reservation of the Seminole Nation.

The Order strongly believes that the natural resource of the deer is a gift from God and should be given back to the people of God as an offering of thanksgiving. So who better to give the meat to than the people who’s land we occupy and share? Over 400 pounds of venison was harvested and donated to the Seminole Nation’s Food Assistance Program and Boys & Girls Club. We also believe our disconnection from our food and where it comes from does spiritual harm in separating us from what it takes to be nourished by God’s gifts. So we are grateful to the Diocese of Oklahoma and the St. Crispin’s Directors and Board for graciously opening up the 500 acres of property for a controlled private 3-day hunt followed by a public event featuring deer processing demonstrations with Seminole Nation elders.

The event was a huge success in putting our theology in action on the land we love and in the community we love. Relationships were built and strengthened around the campfire and in the woods away from screens and phones. Priests, deacons and lay folks shared prayers, meals and stories that helped us enrich our faith and mission as a ministry dedicated to encountering God in the outdoors and sharing his abundance with those in need. A big thank you to the Naucratius Oklahoma leadership team that comprises folks from all over the Diocese including: the Rev. Sarah E. Smith (Emmanuel, Shawnee), the Rev. Robert Willis (St. Luke’s, Ada), Stephanie Bryan (St. Paul’s, Clinton), Ryan Parker (Grace, Yukon), Gardner Randall (Resurrection, OKC) and the Rev. Justin Boyd (Christ Church, Tulsa). Also, a big thank you to our very own Seminole elder, the Rev. Cyntha Gilks for her work with connecting us to the tribe and cultivating relationships with Mr. Ben Yahola and Mr. Ted Underwood of the Seminole Nation Historical Society.

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924 N. Robinson I Oklahoma City, OK 73102
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