Presiding Bishopric Financial Update November 2017
Stassi Cramm, presiding bishop and counselor to the president, had two items of good news 16 November when she offered the third of three promised messages on the financial condition of the church.
Community of Christ ended fiscal year 2017 on 30 June with a surplus of just more than $600,000. Although total income was a bit below budget, expenses were held within the available income for the fiscal year, Cramm said.
In September, the Presiding Bishopric paid off a line of credit with Bank of Kansas City, using the $600,000 surplus and other funds. Cramm explained the financial position of the church, the valuation of its assets and plans for a way to make income more predictable and sustainable in materials available to view and read online.
New Videos Explain eTithing Process
A series of short videos show how to use the USA
Bishop Michele McGrath hosts the series and walks viewers through several of the most common tasks.
The videos explain how to select your home congregation and direct your contribution to Local Mission Tithes and Worldwide Mission Tithes. Once your account is set up, changing personal or billing information in the account is much like the functions seen on retail sites. And, contributors receive a mailed statement.
Pick the video that applies to you:
eTithing101: First-time eGiver eTithing101: Recurring Gifts eTithing101: Tips for PAT Givers eTithing101: Managing Your Account eTithing101: CFOs in the Know
You're Invited to Write for Daily Bread 2018
Do you have an experience, poem, or reflection that you would like to share with the church community in Daily Bread?
We are looking for submissions that are approximately 300 words. Remember to write for a global audience and in your own voice.
Some possible writing prompts:
- Where does God show up in your daily life?
- How are we invited to notice and tend the sacred in the ordinary?
- How has the Spirit been forming and transforming you over time?
More Daily Bread writing guidelines and a submission form are online. Thank you for considering sharing in this ministry!
Prayers for Texas Sisters, Brothers
We unite in prayer for those families and the communities affected by the senseless killing of children, women, and men in the First Baptist Church, Sutherland Springs, Texas. Their loss is heart-rending.
We join other faith organizations, including the National Council of Churches, and communities who grieve for those families who lost loved ones.
This tragedy reminds us of our call to “Become a people of the Temple—those who see violence but proclaim peace, who feel conflict yet extend the hand of reconciliation, who encounter broken spirits and find pathways for healing.” (Doctrine and Covenants 161:2a)
It also points us to World Conference Resolution 1270 (page 57), on personal use and ownership of firearms.
With Your Help, We Can Meet Our Year-end Goal
For the past two months, contributions to Worldwide Mission Tithes have met monthly targets. This is good news. The World Church has set a goal of $3.5 million in Worldwide Mission Tithes for November and December. And, it’s attainable!
As we look to the future, it is important to achieve a stable and sustainable budget. The key is consistent giving for Local and Worldwide Mission Tithes. Here are ways to help meet the year-end goal and create a sustainable level of giving for the future:
- Sign up for
eTithing. It provides an easy, ongoing method to support Local and Worldwide Mission Tithes in a sustainable way.
- Collectively, we can make our $3.5 million year-end
goalif all current contributors give $5.50 per day between 1 November and 31 December. That’s just $165 per month or $330 total.
- Congregations, mission centers, families, and individuals can make a multiyear pledge in response to Time to Act! Pledge using the form here.
- Consider increasing mission tithing by 2 percent each year.
Together, we can make a difference as we live Christ’s mission locally and support mission globally through Mission Tithes.
Key Points and Ways to Help - Time to Act!
NEW: This document includes key points from President Veazey's message and lists a few tangible ways you can help as we move together into the future.
Plan Now to Enlist Graceland Students for Internships
Church-affiliated organizations, mission centers, campgrounds, and congregations with interest in interns are encouraged to contact Mike Hoffman, campus minister at Graceland University.
Hoffman said recently that some students already are being placed for summer of 2018.
Businesses and nonprofit organizations outside the church also are encouraged to take on interns, providing them experience related to majors or a career. Jan Gray handles those inquiries at the college.
Internships are an integral part of Graceland’s experience for students, Hoffman said. Positions related to a major or career help them prepare for employment. An internship related to the Community of Christ's mission can help prepare students for bi-vocational ministry.
Most students would benefit from paid internships. Transportation, housing, and meals might also be considered for internship plans. Resources to help plan an internship are available.
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" in order have us show up on the first page of results.
Submission of 2019 World Conference Resolutions
Deadline for mission centers to submit items for 2019 World Conference consideration is 6 April.
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
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.
Submissions should be sent to Susan Sloan, World Church secretary, at Community of Christ International Headquarters or to ssloan@CofChrist.org.
World Service Corps Alumnus on Winning Nobel Team
Matthew Bolton is living Christ's call to Pursue Peace.
The Graceland University alumnus and former World Service Corps volunteer was part of an effort that led to a Nobel Peace Prize win for the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. The prize was announced 6 October.
He and his spouse, Emily Welty, who also has been working with ICAN, are professors at Pace University in New York City.
Community of Christ Lessons
Community of Christ lessons are available for children (ages 6–11), youth (ages 12–18), and adults. Weekly lessons connect the lectionary text with Community of Christ identity, mission, message, and beliefs. The next set of lessons for 22 October through 26 November 2017 are now available for download. Visit the Lessons page today!
Statement on Las Vegas Shooting Tragedy
The USA Team of Apostles has offered this statement on the 1 October shootings in Las Vegas:
As Community of Christ, we share the peace of Jesus Christ in a troubled world. This calling is grounded in our belief in Unity in Diversity, Blessings of Community, the Worth of All Persons, and Responsible Choices.
We join with other faith organizations, including the National Council of Churches (statement), and communities who grieve for those families who lost loved ones. We unite in prayer for them and others affected by the mass shooting on 1 October in Las Vegas, Nevada.
We also denounce
Doctrine and Covenants 163:2a reminds all to “strive to be faithful to Christ’s vision of the peaceable Kingdom of God on earth. Courageously challenge cultural, political, and religious trends that are contrary to the reconciling and restoring purposes of God. Pursue peace.”
Spiritual Formation and Companioning Program Deadline Is 26 January
A new group of Spiritual Formation and Companioning participants
For three years, participants have learned to listen more deeply to their longings and callings. They also learned to listen more skillfully and attentively to others, discovering a depth in relationships that the soul craves.
Now a new Cohort of students will form to begin their classes. The training provides opportunities to grow in spiritual community, discover new forms of worship and practice, and learn from gifted ecumenical presenters. The first year focuses on personal spiritual formation and transformation with an option of continuing for the second and third years to receive a Spiritual Companioning and Leadership certificate.
A more complete article about the courses appears in the November/December Herald. For more information, contact Katie Harmon-McLaughlin at khmclaughlin@CofChrist.org, (816) 833-1000, ext. 2393; or administrative support at (816) 833-1000, ext. 3038.
Joint Statement on Sale of Printer’s Manuscript
On September 18, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints purchased the Printer’s Manuscript of the Book of Mormon from Community of Christ in Independence, Missouri. The sale price of $35 million was provided by generous donors. The manuscript has been owned by Community of Christ since 1903.
The manuscript now will be housed in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ international headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah. Plans are underway to display the manuscript to the public at the Church History Library in the coming months.
To learn more, see the Questions and Answers
Contributions Help During the Wait on FEMA, Insurance
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
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:
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
Communication with church members and leaders most affected by Hurricane Irma is difficult because power is out in many places and
According to Barbara Carter,
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.
Nepal Update; Hurricane Harvey Announcement
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
If you wish to support the relief efforts in Texas and surrounding areas, you can give now through
- Log in or select Give Without an Account.
- Choose Disaster Relief in the
- 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.
President's Message Urges Giving
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
Congregations are urged to support Worldwide Mission tithing with a service dedicated to the subject and with investment income.
Herald House Has a New Internet Home
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 costs, where 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 email@example.com prior to placing their first order so that merchandise can be tax exempt.
Visit www.HeraldHouse.org today!
Redesigned Icons Illustrate Enduring Principles
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
Grace and Generosity is a palm-up hand profile below a heart.
Continuing Revelation is a curling flame.
All Are Called is a globe.
Responsible Choices is two arrows in a circular design.
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.
Download Community of Christ App
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
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,
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
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
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:
- 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.
Commentary on Principles From the First Presidency
The First Presidency has released commentary regarding priesthood morality in response to a referral from the 2016 World Conference.
The commentary is based
Priesthood Status Categories Update Arrives
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
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.
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!