Letter to New Zealand
The First Presidency shared the following letter with members and friends in New Zealand.To members of Community of Christ in New Zealand:
Since the announcement of the tragic shooting in your nation, the members of the First Presidency have held you and the people of New Zealand in our prayers. There is never adequate words to express at a time of deep loss and tragedy like all of you have experienced in the past several days. And yet, even in the midst of the pains and sorrows that grip all of us around the world, there is the consistent message of God’s love and peace that seeks to be heard in our lives and in our responses to this kind of loss.
Please know that we unite our faith in God with your faith as we pray for healing for all the families impacted, the Christchurch community and your nation. As the Easter celebration is one month away, we need to remember that God’s faithfulness will always seek to bring healing and new life out of suffering and tragedies we all face. This is the hope we hold on to for you and for the people of New Zealand. Though we are a long distance from you, we are united with you in our prayers, our hope, and our love and faith.
May each of you encounter moments of peace and blessings from our love and from God’s presence that abides.
With prayerful thoughts,
The First Presidency
Letter of Counsel
Please read the letter of counsel from President Stephen M. Veazey regarding changes in World Church leadership.
Director of Human Resource Ministries
Relocation for Michele McGrath
The First Presidency has given their support to Bishop Michele McGrath’s request to relocate in order to provide support and care to her family. Bishop McGrath will continue to serve as Counselor to the Presiding Bishopric as steps are taken to transition her responsibilities as Director of Finance.
“As a church that values the worth of all persons,” said President Steve Veazey, “we endeavor to do all we can to support employees who need to make adjustments to provide caring presence for family members.”
“Steve Graffeo and I are grateful to support the needs of Michele’s family while continuing to benefit from her knowledge and expertise as part of the Presiding Bishopric,” said Presiding Bishop Stassi Cramm. “We will be working with Michele and staff to facilitate the transition of her responsibilities as the Director of Finance.”
USA Field Staff Changes Announced
The USA Team of Apostles, after significant prayer, thought, and
Official Policy on Consumption of Intoxicants
Since 2013, the First Presidency has engaged World Church leadership teams in extensive discussion on scriptural, theological, historical, ethical, legal, cultural, pastoral and health issues related to drinking intoxicants. As a result of this study and review of existing policy, the World Church Leadership Council approved a revised policy on the use of intoxicants by priesthood in Community of Christ. This revised policy is “Consumption of Intoxicants by Priesthood” and is effective beginning 1 January 2018.
Response to USA Withdrawal From Paris Climate Agreement
In response to the announcement of the withdrawal of the USA from the Paris Climate Agreement, the First Presidency said:
"An Enduring Principle of Community of Christ, based on numerous insights in scripture, is Sacredness of Creation. This fundamental principle of our faith calls us to join with God as stewards of care and hope for all of creation. In Doctrine and Covenants 165:1d we are called to “Pursue Peace on and for the Earth.” Today and in the future, Community of Christ will be faithful to our calling to protect and heal our environment as a mission priority."
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.
Statement on Recent Immigration Order
The First Presidency released a statement on the recent immigration executive order.
New Community of Christ Team Includes Three World Church Historians
History is alive and well, valued, and continues to play a critical role in the life of the church, said Apostle Lachlan Mackay, leader of a newly formed history team. The Church History and Sacred Story Team, chartered by Community of Christ President Stephen M. Veazey, has three volunteer historians. They are David Howlett of Saratoga Springs, New York; Barbara Walden of Hartford, Connecticut; and Ron Romig of Independence, Missouri.The goal of the team will be to engage the church in exploring its sacred story in responsible ways that inform and encourage its mission, Mackay said.
Walden holds a master of arts in museum studies and is executive director of the church Historic Sites Foundation. Romig is past president of both the John Whitmer and Mormon History associations. Howlett has a religious studies doctorate from the University of Iowa. Other members of the team include Peter Judd of Kansas City, Missouri; Rachel Killebrew of Independence; and John-Charles Duffy of Oxford, Ohio.
The team will write articles for the Herald magazine and the international church website, encourage exploration of international history, and produce reports for the First Presidency. The team can be reached at historian@CofChrist.org.
2016 World Conference Minutes
The 2016 World Conference minutes were reviewed and approved by the Standing High Council Minutes Review Team. The review and approval procedure was included in the Standing Rules for the 2016 World Conference and approved by World Conference delegates.
2016 World Conference Official Actions
Please read and share the Official Actions of the 2016 World Conference. Complete daily minutes from the Conference are being reviewed. They will be e-mailed to staff and published on CofChrist.org in English, French, and Spanish as soon as they are available.
Additional financial questions sent during the 3 April President's Address and Q&A webcast are answered by the First Presidency and Acting Presiding Bishopric.
Words of Counsel
See the final version of the words of counsel to be considered for inclusion in the Doctrine and Covenants during the 2016 World Conference.
Update on the Grassroots Effort from the Acting Presiding Bishopric
In February, a social media group asked Community of Christ leaders what it would take to avoid layoffs in March and beyond. The leadership responded, saying the church would need an increase in world mission tithes that is timely, reliable, and sustainable and encouraging members to submit world mission tithing plans to the Presiding Bishopric.
During that time, the church received just over $1M in one-time contributions and $1.2M in sustaining commitments for 2016, 2017, and 2018. Read the full update from the Acting Presiding Bishopric.
As another step toward greater transparency, and in response to requests received, the Presiding Bishopric will post the Fiscal Year 2014 Audit Report (our most recent) and future audit reports on the website. Previously these reports were published in the World Conference booklet, however to cut down on printing, people will be directed to the website resource instead.
Acting Presiding Bishop Stassi Cramm shares more details about the church’s financial situation. (text)
“What Would It Take?” Dialogue in a concerned social media group started a grassroots effort to encourage increased generosity and support current staffing levels for the worldwide church. They asked leaders what it would take to avoid layoffs in March and beyond.
First Presidency Shares Financial Update
The First Presidency and World Church leaders want to share the following financial updates and related information with the church:
- Steve Veazey interviewed by Linda Booth
- World Church leadership transitions announcement and statements to the church by Steve Veazey and Stassi Cramm
- Letter about World Church Leadership transitions and statements to the church by Stassi Cramm and Steve Veazey
- “The Way Forward” statement by Scott Murphy
- Financial Update Questions and Answers
2016 International Peace Award Recipient
The First Presidency announced Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee (pronounced beau we) as the 2016 Community of Christ International Peace Award recipient. Read their official statement.
Fiscal Year 2016 Budget
The Presiding Bishopric released the Fiscal Year 2016 summarized budget.
Statement on Syrian Refugee Crisis
The First Presidency released a statement on the Syrian refugee crisis.
World Church Leadership Transitions
President Steve Veazey released important information about World Church leadership transitions.
Calls for Presidents of Seventy
The First Presidency outlined who will fill vacancies to serve as presidents of seventy and members of the Council of Presidents of Seventy.
Ecumenical Interfaith Officer
The First Presidency released information about the Ecumenical and Interfaith officer for Community of Christ.
World Conference Resolution (WCR) 1304 Baptismal Prayers
The First Presidency released information in response to World Conference Resolution 1304 Baptismal Prayers.
Next Peace Award at 2016 Conference
The First Presidency released information about the next Community of Christ International Peace Award.
Letter of Counsel
The First Presidency released a letter of counsel regarding the Presiding Quorums.