Community of Christ

Contributions Help During the Wait on FEMA, Insurance

9/14/2017

The first financial assistance from Harvey Relief has been distributed to storm victims in the Houston area. 

The contributions have provided food, transportation, and housing as families and individuals wait for information from their insurance and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Some in need might not receive any help from FEMA, according to church officials in Texas. 

Jim Seeley, mission center financial officer team member for Coastal Bend Mission Center, said Harvey Relief contributions are ensuring storm victims' safety and enabling them to get back to work.

He offered this list of recent concerns: 

  • Two homes that have insurance will need major repairs and replacement of furniture and appliances; and two homes that don’t have insurance will need much the same.
  • One home was blown off its foundation and likely will need to be demolished and replaced (insurance status unknown).  
  • Three homes have minor damage and will need some items replaced (insurance status unknown).
  • One family lost everything in a rental home. The family had no insurance and will need furniture, appliances, and clothes.

This list is incomplete and changes as new information is available. Church member volunteers continue to help with cleanup and demolition at homes that were damaged. 

Thank you for your generous contributions to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, which have exceeded the $25,000 goal. We continue to monitor the situation in Texas and surrounding areas and are releasing funds as needed. We’re also gathering preliminary information about needs related to Hurricane Irma. 

You may continue to support both hurricane relief efforts through eTithing (Disaster Relief button, then Hurricane Relief) or by sending checks to the Presiding Bishopric with “Hurricane relief” on the check’s memo line. Mail checks to Community of Christ International Headquarters, 1001 W. Walnut St., Independence, MO 64050-3562.

Contributions received in excess of those needed for aid related to these storms will go to Worldwide Mission Tithes, where funds will be drawn for future disaster relief efforts.

Social Media Resources Available

9/13/2017

The Communications team, with Latter-day Seeker Ministries and the help of volunteers, has developed five resources outlining ways to use the internet to reach people looking for a spiritual home and members hoping to build sustaining relationships:

The Website Toolkit has instructions for building a congregational website, including a sample (http://CofChristsample.weebly.com).

Use Social Media Profile Images to reflect Community of Christ’s visual standards. Congregations and mission centers also are welcome to use cover images if needed.

Facebook 101 Best Practices outlines basic information, including how to create a Facebook page and group.

Google My Business Account explains how to edit congregation information on Google.

Social Media Guidelines defines how mission centers and congregations should respond to negative comments and handle copyright rules and privacy concerns. Contact Communications (Communications@CofChrist.org) with questions.

Irma's Destruction Delays Information from Florida

9/12/2017

Communication with church members and leaders most affected by Hurricane Irma is difficult because power is out in many places and cellphone service is spotty.

According to Barbara Carter, apostle for the Southeast USA Mission Field, many residents left as the storm approached, so it could be a few days before they return and complete information is available. 

The Fort Meyers, Florida, church building had no damage, but some members in that area had minor damage to their homes, Carter said. Initial reports are that New Port Richey members are doing fine. Also, reports from members in the Orlando area indicate little storm damage. Cleanup has begun in areas where storm damage was minor.

Debbie Bartlett said at Deerhaven Campgrounds near Paisley, Florida, power lines and several trees were down, plus shingles were torn off roofs.  The campground manager and his family were unhurt.

Instructions regarding gifts to support Hurricane Irma relief will follow shortly.

Volunteers Help as Harvey Recovery Begins

9/5/2017

From as far away as Michigan, help from Community of Christ brothers and sisters is arriving in Houston for Harvey flood victims.

By simply putting up a stand and a sign, Community of Christ members on Sept. 3 in Beaverton, Michigan, collected money to send to Texas. The initial total was $500, and the World Church will see that it’s distributed to hurricane victims, Pastor Steven Levine said. A neighboring Methodist church helped. It’s just one of the many examples of aid going to the Houston area.

On Sept. 2, church members gathered to clean out and strip damaged materials from the homes of two neighboring families. One family had flood insurance, but the other lived in a rented home without insurance. Tresha Hattar, who is helping coordinate aid in the area, said the second family likely will need more help after renovation, to replace furnishings destroyed by floodwaters. One member loaded up clothing and took it to a laundry where it was all washed and dried.

Hattar listed other church members’ needs. One family is looking for hospice care; the home of another member might be too toxic to clean because it was in the area of a chemical plant. Some need to borrow transportation to return to work. One family is sleeping in a tent because their two large dogs aren’t welcome at area hotels. Other families and individuals’ homes took on water but the extent of the damage isn’t yet known.

The Pasadena and Northwest Houston church buildings apparently were damaged by the flooding, but specific information was not available.

The church has committed an initial $25,000 from the Worldwide Mission Tithes budget for immediate Texas Flood Relief aid. We are hoping to receive an additional $25,000 from contributions, to be used as needs are identified. This is an initial estimate and may change in coming days. Contributions received in excess of $25,000 will either be used for Texas Flood Relief efforts or will go to Worldwide Mission Tithes where aid will be drawn for any future disaster relief efforts. For more information, email HarveyRelief@CofChrist.org.

In addition to eTithing (click Disaster Relief, then Hurricane Relief) donors may send checks made to the Presiding Bishopric with “Harvey flood relief” on the check’s memo line. Mail checks to Community of Christ International Headquarters, 1001 W. Walnut St., Independence, MO 64050-3562. 

Time to Act! Live Webcast to the International Church

9/1/2017

The First Presidency invites you to a live webcast in three languages on Wednesday, September 20, at 7:30 p.m. (Central Daylight Time). There is an urgent need for us to work together to address significant financial challenges that will impact the future of the church. Specific steps to meet the church’s financial needs will be announced.

The video archive will be available online in English, French, and Spanish as soon as the closed captions/subtitles are finished.  

Date:           Wednesday, 20 September 2017
Times:         7:30 p.m. (CDT)
Place:          www.CofChrist.org/live-webcast  

Church Members Receive Aid After Harvey Hits

8/31/2017

As floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey begin to recede in and around Houston, Texas, ministry is being provided by the World Church and local congregations to displaced members.

One family received enough food and personal items to last several days after theirs were destroyed. Another family that has taken in individuals seeking shelter will likely receive food as well, according to emails from Tresha Hattar, who is checking on Houston-area church members in the storm’s aftermath.

In the Beaumont area, many church members affected by the storm are staying with family. At least one couple was forced to evacuate after their home flooded, according to Cheryl Saur at the Costal Bend Mission Center. Beaumont congregation members checked their building and it had not taken on water, for which they are grateful.

Moana S. Faana, field support minister for the South Central USA Mission Field, is directing Community of Christ aid in the area. 

The church has committed an initial $25,000 from the Worldwide Mission Tithes budget for immediate Texas Flood Relief aid. We are hoping to receive an additional $25,000 from contributions, to be used as needs are identified. This is an initial estimate and may change in coming days.

Contributions received in excess of $25,000 will either be used for Texas Flood Relief efforts or will go to Worldwide Mission Tithes where aid will be drawn for any future disaster relief efforts. For more information, email HarveyRelief@CofChrist.org.

In addition to eTithing, donors may send checks made to the Presiding Bishopric with “Harvey flood relief” on the memo line of the check. Mail checks to Community of Christ International Headquarters, 1001 W. Walnut St., Independence, MO 64050-3562.

     

Nepal Update; Hurricane Harvey Announcement

8/29/2017

Thank you for your generous response to the flood relief efforts in Nepal. The initial $15,000 goal has been exceeded. We will continue to monitor the needs in Nepal and aid will be provided as necessary. 

Hurricane Harvey, which hit the United States over the weekend, continues to cause devastating conditions. The church is committed to providing relief for members in Houston and surrounding areas. An initial goal of $25,000 has been identified and will be reassessed as specific needs are made known. 

Coastal Bend USA Mission Center President Cheryl Saur said at least five Community of Christ families are affected. The Pasadena congregation likely will be hardest hit, Saur said. Most members’ homes have taken on water, but everyone is safe in shelters. One family from the Bay Area congregation was evacuated. Efforts to contact members continue.

If you wish to support the relief efforts in Texas and surrounding areas, you can give now through eTithing.

  • Log in or select Give Without an Account.
  • Choose Disaster Relief in the dropdown menu.
  • Click Next and Texas Flood Relief appears.
  • Enter the amount you wish to give.
  • Click Next.
  • Enter your payment information.
  • Click Submit. 

To contribute by check, write Texas Flood Relief on the right side of your tithing envelope.  

Checks also can be made to the Presiding Bishopric with “Harvey flood relief” on the memo line and mailed directly to Community of Christ International Headquarters, 1001 W. Walnut St., Independence, MO 64050-3562.  

The church has committed an initial $25,000 from the Worldwide Mission Tithes budget for immediate Texas Flood Relief aid. We are hoping to receive an additional $25,000 from contributions, to be used as needs are identified. This is an initial estimate and may change in coming days.

Contributions received in excess of $25,000 will either be used for Texas Flood Relief efforts or will go to Worldwide Mission Tithes where aid will be drawn for any future disaster relief efforts. For more information, email HarveyRelief@CofChrist.org.

Please continue to uphold the people in the path of Hurricane Harvey in your prayers.

Give to Nepal Flood Relief

8/17/2017

Community of Christ is assisting members in the area of Biratnagar, Nepal, after deadly monsoon rains and subsequent flooding hit the region. 
 
An initial $2,000 from the Worldwide Mission Budget has been provided to Nepal for food, water, and temporary shelter for about 105 families. Ram Maharjan, financial officer for the Nepal Mission Center, reports that thankfully floodwaters have receded but anticipates $15,000 will be needed to rebuild or fix damaged homes and for ongoing food, water, and clothing needs.  
 
You can support relief efforts now through eTithing. Log in or select Give Without an Account and choose Disaster Relief in the dropdown menu. Click Next and Nepal Flood Relief appears. Enter the amount you wish to give, click Next and enter your payment information. Click Submit.
 
You also may contribute by writing Nepal Flood Relief on the right side of your tithing envelope. More information will be coming about online giving in other countries.
 
The first $15,000 received will go to Nepal Flood Relief efforts. Additional funds received will be used either for these relief efforts as needed or will go to Worldwide Mission Tithes.
 
Please continue to uphold the people of Nepal in your prayers.


President's Message Urges Giving

8/16/2017

A video statement released today on www.CofChrist.org and as a DVD explains the urgent need for giving, specifically to Worldwide Mission Tithes. President Steve Veazey reminds Community of Christ members that "sharing for the common good is the spirit of Zion."

He emphasizes that $14.9 million in tithing is needed by the end of 2017 to meet the Worldwide Mission budget. Without that amount, ministries and staff could be cut.

Veazey points to eTithing, which enables recurring electronic payments. "I invite you to experience the joy the spiritual practice of generosity," he says. His video message is accompanied by others, including messages from individuals who have benefited from Worldwide Mission Tithes. More videos can be viewed on YouTube. The DVD is available from pastors and mission center presidents. 

Congregations are urged to support Worldwide Mission tithing with a service dedicated to the subject and with investment income.

Statement on Charlottesville

8/14/2017

Community of Christ condemns racist and religious hate groups throughout the world, including white-supremacy and anti-Semitic movements in the USA.  We join with those who stand against attempts to diminish the inherent worth of any person, faith tradition, or ethnicity. The church is committed to pursuing Christ’s vision of compassion, non-violence, equality, and peace for all people. 

THE FIRST PRESIDENCY 

Herald House Has a New Internet Home

8/1/2017

The publishing arm of Community of Christ has a fresh, new face at www.HeraldHouse.org, with everything from lessons to apparel.

The new website has a clean, easy-to-use design and secure checkout. The site is well organized and customers can create accounts, rate products, and add comments. It is designed to view on desktop computers, tablets, and smartphones.

Responding to a frequent request, one component will provide access to free resources created by members for worship, education, reunions, and other activities. To share materials, click the Member Created link on the top menu. Instructions there tell how to upload resources for consideration.

“This will be a fantastic way to give the church greater access to resources that might not otherwise be seen or used outside the congregation that created them,” said Apostle Janné Grover, team leader for Disciple and Priesthood Formation.

The new website will have shipping and handling fees based on shipping costswhere the former site’s fees in most cases were based on total order amounts. Missouri congregations that set up an account on the new website must contact sales@heraldhouse.org prior to placing their first order so that merchandise can be tax exempt.

Visit www.HeraldHouse.org today! 

Free Workshop on Elder Abuse Prevention

7/31/2017

 

Training for police, teachers, faith leaders, and others who want to recognize and prevent the abuse of the area’s older residents will be 15 Sept. in Lee’s Summit.

The half-day conference starts at 8 a.m. at the Police Department training facility, 10 NE Tudor Road. The event offers information on innovative ways to use current programs and resources to assist victims of elder abuse.

“Elder Abuse: Creating a Community Response” aims to educate those who come in contact with older adults in senior centers, community centers, libraries, and parks. For more information, contact Michelle Brown at michelleb@marc.org.

The program is sponsored by the Kansas City Elder Abuse Task Force. The workshop is supported by several Community of Christ members in the Kansas City area. Watch for church bulletin inserts that will have more information. 

Redesigned Icons Illustrate Enduring Principles

7/24/2017

Icons Promote a Unified Understanding of Christ’s Message

To better communicate the foundations of Community of Christ, new symbols have been created to describe the Enduring Principles. Congregations and mission centers are urged to use these in their printed materials, social media, and websites to help the church promote its message.

"For several years, members have requested icons for our nine Enduring Principles, which express who God calls us to be," said Apostle Linda Booth, director of Communications. "The Communications Team worked with John Hamer from Toronto, taking his original designs to create icons that complement our Mission Initiatives icons, which represent what God calls us to do. I hope the church uses these new icons in ways to inspire and instill the church’s core values."  

Grace and Generosity is a palm-up hand profile below a heart.

Sacredness of Creation is a sprouting plant.

Continuing Revelation is a curling flame.

Worth of All Persons is trio of silhouettes.

All Are Called is a globe.

Responsible Choices is two arrows in a circular design.

Pursuit of Peace is a dove in flight.

Unity in Diversity is three outlined shapes that interconnect to form a circle.

Blessings of Community is an outline of a house with a heart inside.

Updated Mission Initiative icons also are available.

The new Enduring Principles icons are attached. All the icons can be downloaded at www.CofChrist.org/graphics.       

Spirituality Workshop is 25-26 Aug.

6/30/2017

“The Body, Mind, Spirit Connection” is the focus for this year’s Health & Spirituality Workshop on 25-26 Aug. at the Community of Christ Temple, 201 S. River Blvd., in Independence, MO, USA. The workshop is presented by the Health Ministries Association, an affiliate of Community of Christ.

Jody Hueschen, RN, with a master's degree in nursing, is leader of the Kansas City chapter of the American Holistic Nurses’ Association. She will present the keynote address at 7 p.m. 25 Aug., followed by a reception. This opening event is free and open to the public.
 
A registration fee is charged for the 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., 26 Aug. workshop. Lunch and snacks are included. Early bird fees, available through Aug. 16, range from $20 for students to $60 for adults. Discounts are available for seniors and HMA members.

Saturday’s events will include a panel discussion on the mind-body-spirit connection with doctors, nurses, a mental health professional and a minister. Breakout sessions will offer holistic nursing, mind/body medicine, music therapy, art therapy, and more.

Certificates of Attendance for 6 contact hours will be available to attendees for a $10 fee.

Register on the Health Ministries Association website or call (816) 833-1000, ext. 1262 or 1418, for more information.

Financial Update, Summer 2017

6/19/2017

In the second of three financial updates promised this year the Presiding Bishopric expresses its gratitude to church members for their generosity. The Bishopric shares details about the church’s current economic situation and decisions that were made at the June meeting of the World Church Finance Board.

The new budget, a video, and a question-and-answer document also are available.

Download Community of Christ App

6/14/2017

Download the Community of Christ app for Android and iOS devices from Google Play and the App Store on iTunes. With the Community of Christ app, you can read daily spiritual devotions, watch inspiring videos, stay in touch with mission happening around the world, and much more!

Scripture Resources Page Updated

6/13/2017

Tony and Charmaine Chvala-Smith have revised an extensive list of study tools on www.CofChrist.org.

Several new titles were added to a collection of others that have proved their usefulness. Perhaps most important, the materials are aligned with "Scripture in Community of Christ.”

The list, Reliable Tools for Serious Scripture Study, is one of the many resources on the site. The volumes described are for personal or congregational use and include Bibles, commentaries and lectionary-based resources. Links to websites offer sermon helps and study series recommendations, including series for young adults.

Tony Chvala-Smith is a Community of Christ Seminary professor and Charmaine Chvala-Smith is the seminary chaplain. Both are scripture and theology consultants at International Headquarters.

International Youth Forum-USA Plans Underway

5/30/2017

Plans are underway for 2018 International Youth Forum-USA (IYF USA). This is an international gathering where youth from around the world come together to celebrate and claim their place in Community of Christ. The event, held once every four years, is an awesome experience at the Community of Christ Temple in Independence, Missouri, USA that each youth has one chance to attend.

This special event will be July 19-20, 2018, for youth who have finished grades 9-12 (ages 15-19). Learn more.

Updated Congregation Pages Available

5/5/2017

Expanded congregation pages on www.CofChrist.org/find-a-congregation are available. This provides an opportunity for congregations to share more information about themselves with website visitors. 

New sections of the congregation page: 

  • Welcome — a statement welcoming visitors and seekers to their congregation 
  • Share with us — a list of worship and gathering times 
  • Our ministries — youth group, English as a Second Language courses, etc. 
  • Social media links — Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram 

Current sections of the congregation page: 

  • Photo 
  • Address 
  • Congregation contact information (phone, e-mail) 
  • Website link 
  • Leadership contact information 
  • Google map 
  • Mission center association 

Visit the Liberty Congregation page for an example of an expanded congregation page. 

Congregations must complete this form to update their page. Email web@CofChrist.org with questions. 

Commentary on Principles From the First Presidency

4/28/2017

The First Presidency has released commentary regarding priesthood morality in response to a referral from the 2016 World Conference.
The commentary is based in the Enduring Principles, which help define the character and identity of our church. They arise from our response to the foundation of our faith—God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit—and our sacred story as a people. The presidency encourages the church to become familiar with these principles and explanations in anticipation of coming responses to particular issues.

Priesthood Status Categories Update Arrives

4/28/2017

Priesthood Status Categories is the second recent document supplied by church officials. It describes the Community of Christ ministry structure, which encourages faithfulness and is responsive to changing personal circumstances. Similar information can be found in the July/August Herald.

Community of Christ World Conference Resolutions

2/22/2017

The 2016 World Conference authorized the First Presidency to make a selection of the resolutions that have current force and effect for the management of the church and further authorized the Presidency to make necessary editorial changes to bring the language into current usage.  

The World Conference Resolutions are presented to give church leaders easy reference to them and for those who might be investigating Community of Christ to see the actions of our highest legislative body and know what the church stands for. A log of all World Conference enactments with copies are maintained in the church’s archives for the use of historians and researchers. The document will be housed in the Resource database on the church's website. 

Submission of 2019 World Conference Resolutions

1/19/2017

Resolutions to be considered by the 2019 World Conference should address significant issues that would concern the entire church. Resolutions should propose actions that are clearly defined, capable of being readily implemented, and aligned to directly address the concerns raised. 

Resolutions submitted early in the inter-Conference period will benefit from having ample time for translation, collaborative review by church leaders and mission centers, and more thorough church-wide discernment. 

World Conference Resolution 1308 “Time for Introduction of New Business, adopted in June 2016, states:

Resolved, That for legislation to come before World Conference, such legislation must be submitted to the First Presidency no later than one year before the opening of each World Conference.

The deadline for mission centers to submit items for 2019 World Conference consideration is April 6, 2018. Submissions should be sent to Susan Sloan, World Church secretary, at Community of Christ International Headquarters or to ssloan@CofChrist.org.

Letter Regarding Political Climate

11/21/2016

The First Presidency and USA Apostles released a letter about the political climate in the USA:   

If you are a congregational leader, we invite you to share this letter with your congregation. 

Thank you for everything you do to support Christ’s mission!