Christmas Around the World
As you enjoy Advent and Christmas this year, we'd like you to capture your memories, outreach events, ornaments, and activities in photos. Please send your photos, including a brief caption with the photographer's name, to Communications@CofChrist.org. We'll collect them for consideration in next year's Herald magazine and on the church's website and social media networks. Photos should be at least one megabyte, though bigger is better. Thanks, and merry Christmas!
Support Christ's Mission Through GoFundMission.org
The church recently launched www.GoFundMission.org for members and friends in the USA. GoFundMission is a community-funding pilot website of the USA mission fields where you can give directly to a mission project.
How to Give
Local and Worldwide Mission Tithes are a disciple’s top priority as we pursue Christ’s mission. Giving through www.GoFundMission.org is an opportunity for when you have extra and see a project you want to be part of; plus it’s an invitation to everyone in the community to get involved and see the impact of their generosity. This month, you can help the Children's Peace Pavilion add technology to their new site.
You can give to Local and Worldwide Mission Tithes through e-Tithing and offering envelopes.
We invite you to watch this Christmas greeting from the First Presidency. May you continue to "Choose Hope" this holiday season and throughout the year.
Journeying Through Advent
Holiday preparations are beginning in many homes in many forms. Some of us come expectant; some come resistant. We may come bringing grief and heavy-heartedness or joy and anticipation into these seasons that change and hold us in every phase of life. However you come, you are welcome here– along this ancient way that leads to fullest life.
While many will be preparing their houses, their menus, and their travel plans, we pause at this seasonal threshold to consider how we are preparing our hearts. May these images, resources, and questions guide us as we prepare to move meaningfully through Advent.
You are invited to join us at the Spiritual Formation Center blog for practices, poetry, and reflections throughout the Advent season.
Worldwide Mission Tithes Contribution Update
Contributions as of October totaled 2.5 percent less than the annual goal.
Also, #GivingTuesday was a big success this year, with contributions of $312,000. That was a great start to the year-end December giving goal of $2 million.
As we head into the holiday season, remember that meeting our $15,100,000 tithing goal for the year is critical to sustain current ministries. Thank you for your continued response to God’s grace and goodness in your life.
Shelby Upgrade Complete
The Shelby upgrade is complete, and Shelby is now available.
User logins and passwords have not changed. This document provides a list of some of the updates. Most updates are in the Financials Module, including Bank Reconciliation, Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, and Payroll.
Now, manuals for both Recorders and CFOs as well as a variety of resources and tutorials on the most commonly used functions can be found at www.CofChrist.org/shelby. Use this page as your point of entry to Shelby, as it will replace the citrix.cofchrist.org web page in the future.
If you have questions, contact the Help Desk at infosys@CofChrist.org or call (800) 825-2806 ext. 1234.
Amazing Things Happened on #GivingTuesday
On 29 November, Community of Christ invited members and friends to celebrate #GivingTuesday by contributing to Worldwide Mission Tithes. Through your generous support, the church received over $312,500 USD!
This amount includes the $60,000 USD in matching gifts but only includes contributions from the USA. We will update the #GivingTuesday contribution total when we receive information from other areas.
Thanks to all those around the world who continue to generously support Christ's mission in a variety of ways! We are humbled and excited by your generosity of spirit, service, and financial support.
Book of Mormon E-book Now Available
Community of Christ announced today that the Book of Mormon is now available as an e-book for Amazon devices and apps. It joins the church’s e-book offerings online and its publication is the result of a team effort that spanned several years. Published by Herald Publishing House, this $9.99 e-book is divided into sections and has an extensively linked topical index.
First published in 1830, the Book of Mormon is regarded as scripture by Community of Christ members and followers of the Latter-day Saint movement around the world. The Book of Mormon chronicles stories of ancient peoples migrating from the Near East to the Americas, their beliefs and instructions, wars and contentions, and revelations about righteous living. It testifies of Jesus Christ’s appearance in the Americas after his resurrection where he taught people about salvation, God, and peaceful living in harmony with biblical writings. For those who hold this scripture sacred, the text supports the Biblical message that Jesus Christ is the Living Word of God.
Community of Christ President Stephen M. Veazey, who expressed his gratitude to everyone who played a role in completing this project, said, “When responsibly interpreted and faithfully applied, scripture provides divine guidance and inspired insight for our discipleship. By providing this e-book format, I am very hopeful that we can continue to share our sacred story with members, seekers, and students of religious history.”
Community of Christ is registered as a charitable organization eligible to receive donations from the AmazonSmile Foundation. Connect to Community of Christ easily via this AmazonSmile link.
Community of Christ has 250,000 members in more than 60 nations. The church’s mission is to “proclaim Jesus Christ and promote communities of joy, hope, love, and peace.” Community of Christ International Headquarters is located in Independence, Missouri.
For more information contact communications@CofChrist.org.
Letter Regarding Political Climate
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!
Support Community of Christ Through AmazonSmile
As many of you prepare to purchase gifts for the holidays, please remember that Community of Christ is registered as a charitable organization through AmazonSmile.
Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible purchases to Community of Christ whenever you shop on AmazonSmile. AmazonSmile is the same Amazon you know. Same products, same prices, same service.
If you are an Amazon shopper, please consider making Community of Christ the recipient of a portion of your eligible sales. Simply click this link to smile.amazon.com (for our Canadian members and friends, please use this link for a similar option at Amazon.ca) and Community of Christ will automatically become the charitable organization of your choice. You can change it at anytime. If you search for us, please search "Community of Christ Independence MO" in order have us show up on the first page of results.
2017 Reunion Themes
Start your planning. The 2017 Reunion Themes have been posted. Resources will be posted as they become available.
Still Fighting Hunger
Community of Christ recently reaffirmed its longstanding relationship with Bread for the World when President Stephen M. Veazey signed a statement of support for efforts against worldwide hunger.
The statement, also signed by other religious leaders, will be published as a forward in Bread for the World’s 2017 hunger report: Handle with Care: Fragile Environments, Resilient Communities. The report says in 2000 one in four people experienced hunger; today it’s one in eight. The goal is to eradicate hunger everywhere by 2030. The statement urges “the US government and international community to…invest more in fragile countries to promote peace, create stability and opportunity, and build resilience.”
Community of Christ is a significant supporter of Bread for the World through allocations from the World Hunger-Tangible Love Team with funding from the Mission Initiative of Abolish Poverty, End Suffering. The church urges congregations to recognize World Hunger Emphasis Day on the first Sunday in March as they plan services and Disciples’ Generous Response moments. Click on the Resources link on the World Hunger page for tools to use in congregations.
When Is Reunion?
Reunions and family camps are important events in the life of the church. These inter-generational gatherings allow us to tangibly experience the blessings of community as we live, love, and share together and grow in our understandings of the mission of Jesus Christ. Make sure your reunion or family camp is listed on the CofChrist web calendar. Please send the following information to web@CofChrist.org:
- Mission center
- Reunion name
- Reunion location
- Contact information
Haiti Aid - Update
Thank you for your ongoing generous support for Hurricane Matthew disaster relief aid in Haiti. As of Monday, 31 October members in Canada, the British Isles, and USA have donated about US$30,000.
The church will send up to $35,000 beyond the initial $10,000 allocated for these relief efforts as immediate and long-term needs in Haiti are assessed. Contributions received for Hurricane Matthew disaster relief that exceed $35,000 may be used for Haiti relief or other future Abolish Poverty, End Suffering needs. We ask for your continued prayers for our brothers and sisters in Haiti.
Year A Lessons Available
Community of Christ lessons for children (ages 6-11), youth (ages 12-18), and adults will continue with Year A, beginning 27 November 2017. The first 14 lessons for children and youth are available for download. Adult lessons through Advent 2016 (27 November 2016 to 1 January 2017) are available for download. Additional lessons will be posted quarterly. When accessing lessons, you will find a brief form to provide useful information and the opportunity to support these lessons by giving to Worldwide Mission Tithes. A donation of $20 USD per quarter, or $80 USD per year, for each age is suggested.
Presiding Bishopric Provides Grassroots Effort Update
Thank you to those who responded to the church’s financial situation at the beginning of 2016.
This week, the Presiding Bishopric provided an update on where we are with these generous commitments.
- Of the 253 one-time gifts committed, we have received 95 percent.
- Of the 627 sustaining commitments, we have received about 76 percent for 2016.*
As we look to the new year, we ask for your continued prayers and support. The ongoing fulfillment of annual commitments over the next several years is essential in sustaining ministries. If you made a one-time gift in 2016 and are in a position to respond again in 2017, your generosity will shape our ability to respond to missional opportunities going forward.
Thank to those who have responded. Our ability to sustain vital, life-changing ministries around the world depends on these ongoing expressions of our true capacity to give.
Offering Envelopes and e-Tithing Focus Us on Holistic Mission
President Veazey has called our Mission Initiatives "foundational and essential to the church’s life!" Beginning January 1, USA offering envelopes will reflect this holistic emphasis. You will enter a single amount on the Worldwide Ministries side of the envelope to be used across all five initiatives to support Christ’s mission—our mission—holistically, around the world. Envelopes in other countries will be updated as stock is depleted. E-Tithing categories will change by the end of March.
To honor World Conference Resolution (WCR) 773, envelopes for the first Sunday of each month will have space for a contribution to Abolish Poverty, End Suffering, allowing for oblation giving. This will be in addition to the opportunity to give an amount to Worldwide Mission Tithes.
Since Mission Initiatives debuted in 2011, 74 percent or more of all contributions have been given to Use Where Needed Most. In fiscal year 2016, it was 85.6 percent. Read more in the article, “Focus on Holistic Giving,” see the fiscal-year 2017 Worldwide Mission Budget, and get answers to frequently asked questions.
Sunday Organ Demonstration Recitals to Continue at New Time
Through the end of July, enjoy daily 30-minute organ demonstration recitals at 3:00 p.m. at the Temple in Independence, Missouri. Beginning August 1, recitals will be held only on Sundays at 2:30 p.m. Because International Headquarters is operating with less staff, the Sunday schedule will be condensed so the Temple can be open for the 1:00 p.m. Prayer for Peace and the recital at 2:30 p.m., except when the building is completely closed for holidays.
See details on when the Temple is open for tours, Daily Prayer for Peace, organ recitals and more. Learn more about how recitals are supported through your giving to the Worldwide Mission Budget in an official announcement. Many thanks to organists, tour guides, and Prayer for Peace volunteers who selflessly offer these quality experiences.
Family-friendly Spiritual Retreat in April
Join in a family-friendly spiritual retreat, Encountering God at Home, at the Temple in Independence, Missouri, April 7-9, 2017. This retreat will focus on nurturing household spirituality for families, children, and youth. There will be tracks for adults, youth, and children, with childcare available for children under 3. Though this retreat is designed for young families who are seeking ways to have meaningful spiritual experience in their homes, everyone who feels the call to work with children and families is encouraged to attend! Information and the retreat flier are on the Spiritual Formation Center website. Contact Katie with any questions.
Church Launches New Online Giving Platform in USA
Community of Christ launched e-Tithing, a new online giving platform, for members and friends in the USA.
Giving is safe, easy, and flexible with e-Tithing! You can give on your desktop computer, tablet, and mobile device. Make one-time and recurring contributions by bank withdrawal, and with credit and debit cards. When you set-up a recurring contribution, you decide when giving starts and the frequency of recurrence (weekly, every two weeks, bimonthly, or monthly).
You can also contribute anonymously or create an account. With an account, you can:
- View your giving history
- Add a credit or debit card
- Change credit or debit card information
- Manage your recurring contribution
- Make a one-time gift
If your congregation accepts online contributions, you can give to Local Mission Tithes and Worldwide Mission Tithes. If your congregation does not accept online contributions, you can still give to Worldwide Mission Tithes.
Thank you for everything you do to support Christ’s mission!
Your Generosity Makes a Difference
Check out the 2015 Generosity Annual Report and reflect on the difference you made on mission as we live out the five Mission Initiatives.