Chester P. Yozwick Memorial Scholarship
Reverend Spyder SpiritPainter Webb is the first recipient
of the annual scholarship
Reverend Spyder SpiritPainter Webb is the first recipient of
the annual Chester P. Yozwick Memorial Scholarship. Rev. Webb along with his wife,
Tekakwitha, head Clear Water Ministries as Native American Cherokee faithkeepers
in Greenville, Pennsylvania.
His application to AIHT’s Doctor of Divinity program comes out
of his desire for in depth studies into prayer, holistic healing and health. His
focus is in merging of the teachings of Jesus and Native American traditions.
Rev. Webb believes his calling is to bring people out of pain
and into joy. “It is my passion to bring healing,” he writes in his 500-word essay
application to the scholarship committee. “Healing between peoples and healing
of individuals—spiritually, emotionally and physically.”
In the framework of the First Nations “contextual movement” Reverend
Webb works to bridge the gap between Native American people and the “mainstream
“When we go to churches, we teach about Native culture, bringing
knowledge and understanding that will dispel the prejudice and racism that still
sadly exists,” he says.
Born into a mixture of cultures including Choctaw Native American,
Reverend Webb identifies strongly with the Cherokee ancestry of his wife. Having
lived in various places in the world, he and his wife decided to settle in the
suburbs of Washington, D.C. to raise a family. Working as an art director, Reverend
Webb achieved much success but decided to venture out as a freelance artist. Producing
comic strips he became syndicated by the Associated Press and was featured several
times in Best Editorial Cartoons of the Year between 1984-1994.
Joining the Catholic church, the couple became disillusioned
with the teachings of the church because of its rigid theology and structure.
He created a comic strip titled, “Father Flood,” to be used in church bulletin
in hopes of making the teachings of the Catholic church more meaningful and accessible
to the average person. However, Reverend Webb realized that he had reached his
Moving to Pennsylvania, he and his wife abandoned the Catholic
church for the charismatic churches. “At least they seemed to recognize the power
of the Holy Spirit and the reality of the supernatural in today’s world,” he says.
in the light and live the love and respect that Jesus showed for everyone, empowering
all, regardless of race, gender or belief and honoring all cultures.
Despite the move, the couple found that the treatment of the
Native American people was still a problem. “We saw that a new form of Native
ministry was needed—Ministry in a Good Way, to use a Native term,” he says. They
realized they needed to be ordained themselves. “We eventually saw that we had
to begin our own ministry to bring reconciliation, healing and the true love of
Christ to both the Native and majority cultures, each in their own way.”
Through music, dance, personal example, counseling, teaching
and hands on healing, Reverend Webb and his wife minister to Native Americans
as well as members of churches or other institutions. “We believe we are called
to walk in the light and live the love and respect that Jesus showed for everyone,
empowering all, regardless of race, gender or belief and honoring all cultures.”
Reverend Webb says that Native Americans, leery of the medical
establishment and having little access to adequate health care, turn to spiritual
healing and their ministry. “We have seen miraculous physical healings as we prayed
for people over the years,” he says.
Having a traveling ministry, Reverend Webb realizes the need
to further his theological studies and to address the practical business aspects
of his ministry, which is why he is seeking the Doctor of Divinity degree at AIHT.
Adding a new dimension to his practice, Reverend Webb hopes that
enrollment in AIHT will lead to further benefit for his following. “It is not
about one man, it is about a far greater good that can be accomplished through
the education of this one man.”