Auditorium a Favorite for Graduation Ceremonies
More than 62,000 people participated in graduation ceremonies during May at the landmark Community of Christ Auditorium in Independence, Missouri, USA.
That total includes graduates, their families and friends from 14 high schools and three universities. Lee’s Summit West brought the largest group of graduates — 540. Guadalupe Centers Alta Vista High School graduated 100, the smallest group.
Schools from across the Kansas City metropolitan area use the Auditorium for graduation, from Raymore-Peculiar to Staley High School and Oak Grove to Park Hill South.
In all, from May 6-25, the Auditorium was the site of 15 graduations with crowds ranging from 1,000 to more than 5,000. The Auditorium, an affordable resource, seats 5,800.
For more information about graduation ceremonies at the Auditorium, 1001 W. Walnut St. in Independence, contact Cara Casey at firstname.lastname@example.org or (816) 833-1000, Ext. 3071.
Two Recent Sell-Out Books Back In Stock
Herald House has reprinted two popular recent publications.
- God All Around! Linda Booth, a member of the First Presidency Team and longtime Community of Christ minister, collected stories of God’s interaction with ordinary folks, showing how God continues to reach out to his people. Each story engages, inspires, forms, and has the power to send forth disciples who see God all around us. Booth’s book is $14.95.
- Commentary on the Doctrine & Covenants, Volume 1 This reference work by former Apostle Dale E. Luffman is intended for anyone who wants to delve deeper into the scripture. It’s especially useful for preachers, teachers, individuals, and church groups. The first volume of this ambitious work focuses on the Joseph Smith Jr. era and covers the first 113 sections of the Doctrine and Covenants. First introduced at 2019 World Conference, the commentary is $44.95.
Contact Herald Publishing House for more information.
A New Way to Tour the Temple in Kirtland
View the Temple in Kirtland, Ohio, from the comfort of home by taking a 3D virtual tour online.
While exploring the Temple using the recently produced 3D virtual tour isn’t quite the same as walking the board floors of the structure dedicated in 1836, the online version has distinct advantages.
By manipulating the video made in spring of 2018, viewers can check out nearly every aspect of the Temple. For example, viewers can see the interior of all the pulpits, something Seth Bryant, director of the Kirtland site, says even he rarely does.
View the video
- Go to the Temple website, create an account and contribute $7, which goes toward preservation efforts. The individual donation is good for 24 hours of viewing.
- Click the circles in the video images to “walk” through the Temple.
- A different button specifically for groups requests a $25 donation.
- The lower court, with two sets of pulpits that face each other, was used primarily for congregational worship. The second floor, which looks much the same, was intended for priesthood training.
- The third floor’s rooms were used for academic classes during the day, quorum meetings, other church functions in the evenings, and offices — including that of Joseph Smith Jr.
- Icons in the lower left and right corners direct use of the 3D tour. The dollhouse view shows the building’s floors in layers, and clicking on a location in the layers takes the viewer to that spot.
- The floor selector function does much the same, but the user’s first view is that specific area. This function indicates five floors, but only three are floors are visible. The other two “floors” are the pulpits and the space immediately around them. To thoroughly understand layout of the building, use dollhouse and floor selector together.
- View the 3D virtual tour with a standard monitor and keyboard, or with a virtual reality headset such as Google Cardboard or Samsung Gear VR.
- Buttons in the lower right corner of the screen toggle between the monitor and VR headset option.
Donors helped pay for the initial costs of the video by contributing to the Community of Christ Historic Sites Foundation. The foundation’s board also provided a substantial contribution.The Temple, owned and operated by Community of Christ, is a National Historic Landmark where visitors still come to pray and worship.
The historic site is open March through December. Operating hours during its main season, May through October, are 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday and 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday. To tour the Temple in person, a preservation fee of $7 applies to each person 8 and older. Off-season hours and more information is available at www.kirtlandtemple.org.
April Contribution Update
Estimated contributions to Worldwide Mission Tithes in April were $900,000. We are approximately $835,000 behind our goal to date. As previously explained, weather in much of the USA has caused worship service cancellations. In April, the 2019 World Conference budget benefited from the generosity of the church. As we head into the busy summer months, consider signing up for eTithing as a way to ensure your contributions continue no matter where you are on Sunday.
Share this video from the 2019 World Conference about actions we can take to meet the annual tithing goal.
View Financial Update Videos and Audit Document
The Presiding Bishopric is grateful to church members for their continued generosity.
To keep the church informed, a new series of videos from the 2019 World Conference recounts where we stand, financially, and recent decisions made. This series has been posted online, as have documents regarding the recent audit of the church.
Visit www.CofChrist.org/financial-updates to view the videos and read the documents.
Your Chair Is Waiting
Breathe new life into your ministerial talents by seeking a master of arts in religion from the Community of Christ Seminary. Admission applications for fall 2019 will be accepted through 31 May.
Not interested in a degree program? There are options to take courses as continuing education units or audit a few classes that particularly interest you.
Visit the Graceland University website or email Seminary@Graceland.edu for more information.
Official Minutes of 2019 World Conference Available
The final official minutes of the 2019 World Conference business sessions are available at CofChrist.org/2019-world-conference. Once there, select the Official Actions box and choose the date you want to read.
The minutes are reviewed by church officials and parliamentarians.
“Choose Generosity” Explains the Role of Stewardship as a Whole-Life Response
“All of giving begins and ends with God.”
When President Steve Veazey made this remark, he pinpointed Community of Christ’s vision of generosity.
A new publication, Choose Generosity: Discovering Whole-Life Stewardship, explains how stewardship includes our generous response on Sunday morning but, more importantly, is embraced through our actions and responses in all aspects of our lives.
This 120-page resource provides insights about the importance of embracing generosity—receiving and giving—and deepening our discipleship with Christ. Through this easily understood book, individuals, families and groups can learn how stewardship means choosing to live our lives generously each and every day.
The Six Principles of a Disciple’s Generous Response, from Receive God’s Gifts to Share Generously and Spend Responsibly, are explored. Each section includes questions for reflection.
Choose Generosity, in English, is $10.95 at Herald House.
"Way of Life" Is a Straightforward Guide to Understanding Our Faith
Amid the global challenges of the 21st century, Community of Christ members and seekers want more than ever to make sense of the church’s deepest convictions.
A Way of Life: Understanding Our Christian Faith, a book by theologian and teacher Anthony Chvala-Smith, investigates in direct, easily understood language what it means to follow Jesus Christ in today’s world.
At 141 pages this work of theology speaks passionately from both Community of Christ’s transforming vision and the rich resources of the wider Christian tradition.
A Way of Life is a revised and much-expanded version of Understanding the Way. Addressing new topics such as “The Reasonableness of Faith,” “Faith and Science,” and “The Embodied Life,” this book, even more than its predecessor, brings the church’s faith into creative conversation with some of the urgent social and spiritual needs of the present.
“I am convinced,” Chvala-Smith wrote in the preface, “that Community of Christ has glimpsed something breathtaking, restorative, and transforming: a vision of Christian faith that not only critiques shallow distortions, but offers a luminous way of life shaped by an ongoing encounter with the Living Christ.”
A Way of Life: Understanding Our Christian Faith is $8.95, in English, from Herald House. It's also available as an e-book.
March Contribution Update
Estimated contributions to Worldwide Mission Tithes in March were $950,000. This compares to a budget of $1,140,000, about 20 percent below our goal to date.
The Worldwide Mission Tithes goal for 2019 is $14.7 million. May we each continue to explore our true capacity to support mission and sustain the church into the future.
Vacation? Illness? Using etithing allows you to support mission even when you can’t be in church. Sign up today!
Sharing 2019 World Conference
Throughout the church’s history, World Conference has been a formational experience and the 2019 event was no different. To share this amazing experience, use these highlights from the celebration, worship, and business of the week.
These items also can be found at www.CofChrist.org/2019-world-conference.
Becoming a People of the Temple
Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Temple and what it means for the future
"Discover Your Future"
President Stephen Veazey’s closing sermon and words of counsel
Official Actions of the 2019 World Conference
Summary of the legislative actions taken by the conference
"Exploring Priesthood Ministry"
First Presidency’s presentation (in slide show format, three languages) on priesthood ministry and recommitment
Financial Update – 2019 World Conference
The Presiding Bishopric shared information and held discussions about church finances and the New Way Forward.
• Presiding Bishopric Report (D-1)
• Meeting the Retirement-responsibility Goal (J-2)
• FAQ about the Bridge of Hope – Retirement Responsibility
• Statement about Termination of General Operating Endowment
“Discover Living Water”
President Veazey’s Sunday evening sermon
Find more video from events and worship at the Community of Christ YouTube channel; select 2019 World Conference playlist. Images by our volunteer photographers are on Flickr, and be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Materials for 2019 Reunions
Reunion is a time for spiritual growth, personal discernment, renewed relationships—and fun. “Following the Spirit” is the theme of this year’s materials. Each publication is designed to be modified for your reunion location and the makeup of the community you serve. The materials are flexible enough to use for Sunday school or individual study.
Adult Lessons, a book in printed form, is available through www.HeraldHouse.org.
All others are available through www.CofChrist.org now as PDFs to download and print locally. Look for:
- Children’s Activity Guide
- Sharing Services
- Worship Resources
- Youth Lessons
For more information, email Communications@CofChrist.org.
Final eTithing Changes Coming 23 April
Members and friends contributing through eTithing saw major changes in the electronic giving platform in 2018. SecureGive, the eTithing platform host, will release a final update on 23 April 2019.
Changes To Occur
Congregations and mission centers participating in eTithing are subscribed to a free plan or a $5-per-month per congregation plan. Those who contribute to a congregation participating in the free eTithing plan will experience these changes starting 23 April 23 2019:
- Your congregation name will not be listed on eTithing.
- Members and friends will give through the new My Home Congregation listing.
- Members and friends can contribute to two options:
- Congregational Ministries (100)
- Worldwide Mission Tithes (901)
- Congregational Ministries (100)
- Contributions will be sent to and receipted by the congregation where one’s membership record is located.
- Recurring contributions to giving options not listed on eTithing will be discontinued.
Example: John is a member of a congregation that participates in the free plan. John’s recurring contributions to Worldwide Mission Tithes (901) and Congregational Ministries (100) will remain unchanged after the transition. His recurring contribution to Campership Fund (105) will end after the upgrade.
More Giving Options
Members and friends can now contribute to any congregation on eTithing and contribute to more than one eTithing congregation. Previously, contributors could only give to the congregation where one’s membership record was located.
Contributions will be sent to and receipted by the congregation that receives the donation. Contributors will receive a receipt from each congregation they give to on eTithing.
Contact your congregational financial officer for more information or contact Fiscal Services by email or (816) 833-1000 ext. 1397.
Copyright Information Updated for Congregations, Leaders
Updated information and guidance regarding copyright and trademarks is available at CofChrist.org.
In response to suggestions and frequently asked questions from Community of Christ members and leaders, the Office of General Counsel has added copyright information about streaming or podcasting worship services, using online content, posting online, and the use of YouTube videos in church.
Expanded information about copyright exemptions, licenses, and permissions is included in the online update. The subject of trademarks is covered, including specifics about the use of Community of Christ trademarks.
Congregations and mission centers are encouraged to review this information. Copyright questions also can be answered by email.
Thank you to all members, priesthood, and leaders for your continued efforts to remain compliant with copyright and trademark law, and ensure any copyrighted material is used responsibly in your congregation and mission center worship services, online presence, resources, and other ministries.
Please remember that, even when living exciting expressions of our faith and mission, we have a legal and a moral obligation to respect the rights of those who have created copyrighted materials.
Letter of Counsel
Please read the letter of counsel from President Stephen M. Veazey regarding changes in World Church leadership.
Request a Graceland Representative
Graceland University's summer representatives are selected every year to travel to Community of Christ camps and reunions across North America.
A GU representative will add ministry to your event and share their Graceland experience. These students, some of Graceland’s best and brightest, are trained to use their gifts and talents to help make your camp or reunion a memorable experience.
Camp and reunion directors can request a Graceland representative to be part of your youth camp or reunion staff by visiting the Graceland website. Requests are due March 15. For more information contact Emily Munter, Graceland University’s Community of Christ outreach and marketing specialist.
Please Send Your Advent, Christmas Photos
As you enjoy Advent and Christmas this year, we’d like you to capture your memories in photos and send them to us for possible use in next year’s Herald and on www.CofChrist.org. Photos should be a least 1 megabyte, though bigger is better. Please include caption information: the photographer’s name, the event, and the location. Send photos to Herald@CofChrist.org. Thanks, and Merry Christmas!
RSS Capability Added to Website
The Communications Team has announced the release of four free RSS feeds at www.CofChrist.org/rss. These include Daily Bread, Daily Prayer for Peace, Announcements, and Mission Stories.
Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication is a way to bring digital content to a user automatically. It also provides a way for web designers and managers to embed content from these sections of CofChrist.org on a web page. The embedded area then updates when new content is added on CofChrist.org.
The request to add this feature came from several people in the field. We hope other congregational and mission center website managers will find it useful to embed or subscribe to RSS feeds to get updated content from CofChrist.org. Individuals who use RSS readers also may subscribe to this service.
Send questions about these RSS feeds to the Online Media Team at web@CofChrist.org.
Sacrament Videos Available Online
The simple beauty of Community of Christ’s sacraments is featured in a series of videos available for viewing on www.CofChrist.org.
The series was designed for training priesthood members, but the brief, inspirational videos will appeal to anyone with an interest in the church. We thank all involved in producing these videos. They are available in English, French, and Spanish.
The sacraments portrayed are baptism, confirmation, The Lord’s Supper (communion), marriage,
Discernment Guide, Videos Free on CofChrist.org
A new resource is available for individuals and communities seeking to engage in discernment, the practice of seeking and following the movement of the Spirit.
Personal and Communal Discernment Guide includes four videos and an accompanying PDF file with tools, practices, and reflections.
This resource is intended for individuals and communities discerning Christ’s mission as they ask questions about vocation, identity, leadership, and the future. The guide and videos are available in English.
USA Apostles Affirm Veazey Statement on Refugee Families
The USA Apostles of Community of Christ join President Stephen Veazey (
One of our Enduring Principles, Worth of All Persons, calls us to "challenge unjust systems that diminish human worth."
We also urge members and friends of the church who share this concern to communicate their views to government officials and legislators.
In Christ’s peace,
Statement from President Veazey Regarding Immigrant Families
On Friday, June 15, I contacted the United States Attorney General by email and voicemail to express my grave concern about the policy of separating children from their refugee immigrant parents.
I stated that such a practice is ungodly, unchristian, and contrary to scriptural teachings about how to treat the most vulnerable in our midst, especially children.
I called on the attorney general to immediately end the current policy because it is unjust and unacceptable. I urge other members and friends of the church who share this concern to communicate your views to governmental officials.
We must join our voices and efforts with others who are working daily to liberate the children and reunite them with their families.
— President Stephen M. Veazey
Updated Youth Worker Application Available
Updated Registered Child and Youth Worker applications are available for mission center officers, youth ministers, and camp directors in North America at www.cofchrist.org/children-and-youth-worker-registration. New versions of the Application Guidance Notes and Mission Center Checklist also are available.
In response to many requests, the RCYW application is being made available as a fillable PDF document.
This should make it easier to submit completed applications electronically. Submit completed RCYW applications to email@example.com for approval and registration.
Applications that are submitted electronically are preferred because they require less time and effort to process. If necessary paper applications can still be mailed or faxed to the Office of General Counsel.Thank you to all mission center, congregational and camping staff for your continued efforts ensuring that any person working with children and youth at Community of Christ events has received the necessary youth worker training and has been registered as a youth worker.
Free Member-Submitted Lessons, Music Available
More than 50 examples of lessons and music created by Community of Christ members are now available on www.HeraldHouse.org for download to members and congregations.
All materials in the Member Created area on the website are free. On the site are lessons, song lyrics, and sheet music for worship—including small-group lessons for youth.
Two Kansas City-area Organizations Named 2019 International Peace Award Winners
For the first time in its history, the Community of Christ International Peace Award will be given to organizations in Kansas City and Independence, Missouri, USA.
The two recipients were chosen to highlight the 25th anniversary of the Independence Temple.
Water.org and the Franciscan Mission Warehouse each will receive an award, placing those groups among the ranks of Dr. Jane Goodall (1999) and Bread for the World (2014). The efforts of the award winners uphold Community of Christ Mission Initiatives, including Abolish Poverty, End Suffering and Pursue Peace on Earth.
Water.org is in Kansas City, Missouri. It has provided millions of people with water and sanitation, helping to break the cycle of poverty and expanding opportunities in the world’s poorest communities.
Franciscan Mission Warehouse is in Independence, Missouri. The group collects surplus equipment and supplies from US medical facilities and sends them to hospitals and clinics in the poorest parts of the world.
The International Peace Award includes a financial gift to be donated to the charitable peace, justice, or environmental organization of the recipient’s choice. Honorees also receive an original sculpture by Wyoming artist Gail Sundell that depicts two hands holding a crystal globe of the Earth.
The International Peace Award presentation will be at 7:00 p.m. on 6 April, during the 2019 World Conference. The event marks the 26th year of the award and the presentation is scheduled to be webcast from the Auditorium conference chamber. A wider public announcement will be made closer to the presentation date.
Every Congregation's History Matters
Congregational historians are needed to help share our sacred story! To appoint a historian:
- Choose someone in your congregation to represent your history. Make sure this person is willing and available to serve.
- The congregation's pastor or mission center president then contacts the World Church librarian-archivist at firstname.lastname@example.org, supplying the name and address of the nominee.
- An official appointment letter and writing guidelines will be sent to the new historian.
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!