Community of Christ

COVID-19  Ongoing Response

President Veazey to Lead 27 September Peace Seminar

9/24/2020

A series of free web-based seminars culminating in a peace award has begun.

Peaceful Humanity — A New Creation is a ministry of Community of Christ Europe and led by the Community of Christ European Peace and Justice Team.

On Sunday, 27 September, Steve Veazey will explore the theme of the European peace colloquy webinar series, "Peaceful Humanity – A New Creation." Veazey has been president of Community of Christ for 15 years.

The series, which continues into October, covers a variety of topics with speakers from many fields and backgrounds, all illustrating how their information relates to peace in our world. All webinars are held on Zoom at 1:00 p.m. Central Daylight Time in the US, 7:00 p.m. in the United Kingdom, and 8:00 p.m. in Brussels.

  • 1 October: “Peace of Mind: Mental Health and Wellbeing” with Sarah James and Hannah Langford
  • 11 October: Peace award ceremony: “Spirituality and Social Change” with Keith Hebden

Registration is free 

Previous seminars 

Isabel Cartwright/Ellis Brooks on “Making Soldiers out of Children: Is there Space for Peace in Schools?” 

Richard Wrangham on the evolution of human kindness and calculated violence.

Andrew Bolton on “Dehumanization Yesterday and Today: When to Act as a Neighbour.” 

Zac Harmon-McLaughlin on “Interfaith Partnerships and Advocacy.” 

Ryan and Georgia Comins on “Nonviolence and Diet: Can Peace Begin on our Plates?”

Alexandre Christoyannopoulos on “Leo Tolstoy’s Political Thought”  

President Veazey on the Healing Power of Human Connection

9/22/2020

How are you building connections during the global pandemic? In his most recent video, President Steve Veazey encourages us to explore innovative ways to grow communities of joy, hope, love, and peace. President Veazey recommends a book by Vivek Murthy, Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World.

Captions on the president's video are available in English, French, and Spanish. 


Reminder: Anti-Bias Workshop 4 October

9/20/2020

Congregations, mission centers, and members are invited to a free online event from the Community of Christ Diversity and Inclusion Team.

Participants in "Resisting Unconscious Bias and Building Inclusiveness" will choose 4 October or 1 November. The same program will be offered on each date (it also was offered in September).

Cathi Cackler-Veazey and Gwendolyn Hawks-Blue are team co-leaders. To register for the event, contact either ccacklerveazey@cofchrist.org or gblue@CofChrist.org.

The Diversity and Inclusion Team upholds the worth of persons and supports sharing the peace of Jesus Christ. It provides an underpinning to the church’s foundation by upholding inclusive beliefs and behaviors in relation to human interactions. Its focus is upon education, advocacy, inclusion, and organizational change in support of justice and covenant with one another and God.

More information is available at the Diversity and Inclusion Team page.


Tips for Observing Heritage Day

9/20/2020

Calling all church history fans—what is your congregation planning for Community of Christ Heritage Day on Sunday, 20 September? Community of Christ Historic Sites Foundation offers information for congregations to use, then add your local history. The foundation’s website also has other creative ideas—from hymn festivals to youth activity sheets. Make Community of Christ Heritage Day an opportunity to celebrate and share your congregation’s story!


Many Thanks to Community of Christ's Contributors

9/19/2020

Your generosity is making a difference!

Stassi Cramm, Community of Christ presiding bishop, recently recorded a message thanking all for their continued support despite the ongoing unpredictability of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Cramm tells viewers: "Whereas many nonprofits and religious organizations are tending toward 60 percent or less of planned 2020 income, Community of Christ is trending toward 80 percent or more!" 

After you watch the video, read the most recent Generosity Report for examples of accomplishments in the first months of 2020.

Historic Sites Foundation Offers Online Event for Heritage Sunday

9/18/2020

The Community of Christ Historic Sites Foundation will partner with Beyond the Walls for an online service focusing on church heritage. This worship service will feature storytellers from the church history community, including David Howlett, Barb Walden, John Hamer, and Rachel Killebrew.

The 20 September service will include a designated offering to help support the preservation and maintenance of Community of Christ historic sites. To join the event, go to YouTube on Sunday, 20 September at noon Eastern Daylight Time, 11:00 a.m. Central Daylight Time, 10:00 a.m. Mountain Daylight Time, or 9:00 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time. 

Community of Christ to Mark International Day of Peace

9/14/2020

On 21 September, Community of Christ will observe International Day of Peace.

Participants in Daily Prayer for Peace at 1 p.m. Central Daylight Time will join thousands in other cities to create an international wave of peace. Please join us as Apostle Janné Grover delivers the Daily Prayer for Peace from the Temple sanctuary, live on the church's Facebook page. 

Community of Christ and Independence have several connections to the international peace effort. Among them:

  • A twelve-foot statue, “Girl with Dove” by Tom Corbin, stands on the United Nations Peace Plaza near the Community of Christ Auditorium.
  • The church presents its International Peace Award at World Conference every three years. It has been awarded to Jane Goodall and Ela Gandhi, among others. The most recent recipients were local: Sister Andrea Kantner at Franciscan Mission Warehouse and Gary White of Water.org.
  • On 27 June, 1945, President Harry Truman arrived in Independence and addressed thousands of onlookers in the Auditorium. He had witnessed the signing the day before of the United Nations Charter in San Francisco. The brand-new UN was the subject of his speech in Independence.
  • On 11 December, 2006, after his final speech as UN secretary-general, delivered at the Truman Presidential Library in Independence, Kofi Annan visited the Peace Plaza for a wreath-laying ceremony.
     

The UN promotes the International Day of Peace.

 

Worldwide Mission Tithes Update Through July 2020

8/27/2020

A heartfelt thank you to those who continue to support both local and worldwide mission through generosity of time, talent, treasure, and testimony.

The church is blessed by those who are signing up for and continuing to give through eTithing and other methods. Together we’re making a difference! 

Bridge of Hope Now Totals $76 Million

8/25/2020

Thanks to the generosity and hard work of many, as of June 30, 2020, the church is $76 million toward the $120 million dollar retirement responsibility goal. That leaves $44 million left to go by January 1, 2024. Church leaders are grateful for the dedicated efforts of all those who are committed to helping meet this goal.

JWHA Event Illustrates Saints In Times of Crisis

8/24/2020

A John Whitmer Historical Association event on 19 September will offer two presenters with information regarding the ways crises have initiated change in Restoration communities.

The professionally produced online event will begin at 5:30 p.m. Central Daylight Time. Best articles and best books awards will kick off the meeting. 

The presentations for “Metamorphosis: Scattered and Gathered Saints Emerge After Crises”:

  • “The Story of the ‘Evacuees’: A Filipino Congregation, a Cold War Insurgency, and the Development of the First RLDS NGO, 1972-1974,” by David Howlett, PhD.
  • “Nor any manner of -ites: American Indians and Mormons,” by P. Jane Hafen, PhD. 

This event is free for association members; it’s also is open to nonmembers for $10.00 and to students for $5.00.

Registration is required for each person viewing the event, and registration closes 15 September. Attendees will receive a login and password after registering. 

Prior to the event, registrants will receive specific access instructions.

The John Whitmer Historical Association furthers independent scholarly interest by individuals of various religious faiths in the history of Community of Christ and the Restoration Movement. 

President's Message: 'We Must Speak and Act Against Racism'

8/23/2020

In his most recent video message, President Stephen Veazey shares some of his own experience in awakening to and confronting racial injustice. His challenge focuses on how racism denies the Worth of All Persons, one of the church’s Enduring Principles. Racism operates in opposition to the reign of God on Earth. If we are for the Worth of All Persons and the reign of God on Earth—as Jesus calls us to be—then we must speak and act against racism in all its subtle and not-so-subtle forms.

Statement on the Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

8/6/2020

August 6 and 9 mark the somber 75th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan. World Conference Resolution 1178, Nuclear Arms Reduction; and WCR 1303, Action toward Nuclear Weapons Abolition, encourage the church to denounce the violence of nuclear weapons and acknowledge the suffering they cause. 

We are grateful for the global hibakusha (survivors) who have courageously borne witness, often amid great difficulty. 

As a people dedicated to peace, reconciliation, and healing of the spirit, Community of Christ joined 189 organizations that signed a statement in opposition to nuclear weapons, making it one of the largest and most diverse interfaith proclamations against nuclear weapons to date. 

The signatories, coordinated by Faith Communities Concerned About Nuclear Weapons, remind us that we can act together from a place of determination, resilience and joy to make the world a different place. Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, Jain and indigenous voices came together on this statement.

Doctrine and Covenants 161:2a reminds us 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.”

The church continues to find those pathways through its prayers and ongoing programs, Toward Jesus the Peaceful One; a series of internet lectures from Europe, Peaceful Humanity—A New Creation; and the Daily Prayer for Peace, among others.

'Stories Behind the Preservation of the Joseph Smith Historic Site'

8/3/2020

An online lecture 6 August by Wendy Eaton will explore the preservation of Emma and Joseph Smith's Nauvoo. For more than 100 years, Community of Christ has worked to preserve the historic structures that share the story of the Smith family and their faith community. The lecture, "Stories Behind the Preservation of the Joseph Smith Historic Site," begins at 7:00 p.m. Central Daylight Time. 

Eaton will explain how the site has been understood, maintained, and preserved over the past century. This event is one of nine in the Summer Lecture Series hosted by the Community of Christ Historic Sites Foundation. Registration is required. Contributions are appreciated.

Exploring Our Response to the Gift of Creation

7/31/2020

The second conversation in an online series about the Sacredness of Creation will introduce the connection between God and creation, and explore humankind’s response to the gift of creation. The free event will be at 7:30 p.m. Central Daylight Time on 6 August and 6:00 p.m. Central Daylight Time on 30 August.

Participants can share their experiences with the power of creation, from beauty to destruction. Participants must register for “Exploring the Sacredness of Creation … and Why it Matters,” choosing one of the dates. Registration prompts an email with a link sent a few days before the event. 

Also scheduled are “Holy Attention to Awaken our Hearts” in September and “Hope for a New Creation” in October.

During winter, six more conversations/presentations are planned. Sacredness of Creation is an online ministry sponsored by the Greater Pacific Northwest USA Mission Center for Community of Christ.

Worship Elements for Use When Congregations Reopen

7/6/2020

Worship Ministries has created elements for use when the time is right to gather physically for services called Sacred Togetherness Again—A New Journey. Six weeks of proposed worship elements begin the journey. Leaders can choose to use a few in worship planning or incorporate all the elements each week. 

Food Aid Boxes Distributed at Auditorium

6/12/2020

More than 100 vehicles were waiting at 10:00 a.m. Central Daylight Time on Thursday, 11 June, in the parking area at the Community of Christ Auditorium, Independence, Missouri, USA, where the occupants received free boxes of food.

Volunteers from Central Mission Center in Independence gathered on the parking lot as food was prepared for distribution. As cars rolled past, volunteers offered dairy products and produce intended to aid families and individuals during the COVID-19 crisis.

By 12:30 p.m. all the food had been distributed. Community Services League, in cooperation with the Farmers to Family Food Box program through the US Department of Agriculture, made the event possible.

The Auditorium parking lot will be a weekly distribution site through August. 

Leadership Update: Jeffrey Naylor

6/9/2020

As stated in the May 2020 Letter of Counsel, Jeffrey A. Naylor was to be released from the Presiding Bishopric by his request at the end of September. In working to balance and prioritize his “professional, personal, and family responsibilities,” Jeff has realized this action needs to occur now. Therefore, Jeff is released from the Presiding Bishopric effective 8 June, 2020. The church continues to be grateful for Jeff’s self-sustaining service during this challenging time.

   –The First Presidency

More World Church Disaster Relief/Oblation Aid Made Available

6/5/2020

Just over $45,000 in COVID-19 crisis support was distributed 5 June to families and individuals in three areas.

  • Haiti: Two mission centers received a total of $30,000 in World Church Disaster Relief/Oblation Aid that will help 400 families. Food baskets including rice, beans, sugar, and cooking oil were to be distributed.
  • Africa: Five mission centers (Malawi, Kenya, Liberia, Zambia, South Africa) received a total of $11,300 to help supply food. 
    From Apostle Catherine Mambwe: “Most of the members have lost their employment due to the pandemic. They have been out of employment for at least two months now. With the lockdowns in their nations, feeding has been extremely difficult. … Aid will help them move from this helpless situation.”
  • Nepal: The mission center received a total of $4,200 for 130 families in seven congregations. They will get rice, red lentils, cooking oil, salt, sugar, soybean Nutrela, tea powder, and soap.

To date, $63,614 in US oblation aid has been reported in 2020. Total US oblation aid in 2019 was $177,026. Contact your congregation's financial officer to learn more about oblation assistance. 

World Conference Resolutions Reminder

6/5/2020

 

Mission centers are urged to begin consideration of legislation to submit for 2022 World Conference.

Items should address significant issues that would concern the entire church. Resolutions should propose actions that are clearly defined, capable of being readily implemented, and directly address the concerns raised. 

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

World Conference Resolution 1308, “Time for Introduction of New Business,”  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. 

Submissions are due 3 June 2021 and should be sent to Susan Sloan, World Church secretary, at Community of Christ International Headquarters or to ssloan@CofChrist.org. Sooner is better!

Oblation Funds Buy Food for Families in Africa

6/2/2020

Community of Christ sent $11,170 in COVID-19 crisis support on 15 May to six mission centers in Africa.

The money from World Church Disaster Relief/Oblation aided 1,306 families in 155 congregations. Families received corn, flour, cooking oil, rice, tomato paste, salt, sugar, and green beans.

Mission centers included: Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Kinshasa, Lualaba, Haut Katanga, and Tanganyika. Distribution was managed by Baka Blé, financial officer for Central and West Africa Field.

Council of Twelve USA Team Statement on Racial Injustice

6/1/2020

The USA Team of Apostles urges friends and members of Community of Christ to read a statement from the team released 1 June regarding current events. The statement also will be posted across the church's social media network. Thank you for you faithful support of Christ’s mission. 

Preparing to Reopen In-person Congregation Gatherings

5/29/2020

As governments begin to reopen economies and social life, the Presidency is providing this resource to assist congregations in preparing to resume in-person gatherings when appropriate. These guidelines are not telling congregations they must reopen beginning 1 June.

Community of Christ is a global community. This means the basic guidelines will be reviewed and modified, as needed, by local leaders and field apostles to address the specific criteria established by each government.

In ALL cases, congregation leaders need to work with their mission center president and supervising apostle to develop plans to reopen congregations for in-person gatherings.

Letter of Counsel

5/28/2020

President Stephen M. Veazey shares this letter of counsel with the church detailing changes in the World Church Leadership Council.

As announced 26 May 2020, 18 paid, full-time-equivalent positions at International Headquarters, in the field, and the World Church Leadership Council will end by 31 December 2020 to achieve the new budget levels for 2021. Notifications to field and International Headquarters employees will be completed by 9 June 2020.

Details about the changes in ministries and services caused by these reductions will be provided in the December 2020 Financial Update after the World Church Finance Board approves the 2021 Worldwide Mission Budget.

This is a difficult time for the church and especially for its employees. Please be prayerful and compassionate as we mourn the departure of friends and colleagues.

President Veazey: Sustaining the Church in Trying Times

5/27/2020

In a recorded message that underlines moments of hope, President Steve Veazey explains budget constraints and Community of Christ staff reductions ahead. He also urges wisdom and caution as congregations consider resuming in-person worship.


May 2020 Financial Update

5/26/2020

In the May 2020 financial update the Presiding Bishopric shared details about the church’s current economic situation and other information from the 21 May meeting of the World Church Finance Board. The next financial board report will be in December 2020.

Learn more at https://www.cofchrist.org/financial-updates.

COVID-19 Update on Reopening Churches

5/22/2020

The First Presidency has continued to monitor the progression of COVID-19 and the recommendations from professional health organizations and local governments. While health organizations continue to express caution, local governments are beginning to relax stay-at-home orders and make provisions for businesses and churches to reopen with modified in-person gatherings. The Presidency has been prayerful in how to guide the church in this next phase.

After consulting the World Church Leadership Council, which provides a global perspective, we are offering these recommendations.

Toward the Peaceful One Series Underway

5/16/2020

As we continue to explore the guiding question, “Are we moving toward Jesus, the peaceful One?” a yearlong series of interlinked Herald magazine articles, videos, and live online discussions begins this month.

The guiding question first was asked by President Stephen Veazey in his closing sermon at the 2019 World Conference. The series is an entry point to ongoing conversation about nonviolence by reclaiming and deepening our understanding of first-century Jesus and how that impacts us as followers of the peaceful One today. The multimedia connection points are intended to create opportunities for discussion and education in response to World Conference Resolution 1319.

Join us

Read: The Herald series begins in the May/June issue with “Toward the Peaceful One: Jesus Christ in Restoration Perspective.” It is also online at www.CofChrist.org/guiding-question. The series continues through May/June 2021 with topics drawn from Doctrine and Covenants 163:4a-b exploring what nonviolence looks like from the perspective of the poor, displaced, mistreated, diseased, and more.

Watch: Matt Frizzell, Human Resource Ministries director at International Headquarters and a Community of Christ minister, will share a reflection on each Herald article in videos. View them on IGTV on Instagram or Facebook. The videos also will be shared on CofChrist.org.

Discuss: Online groups will be offered via Zoom on the first Mondays of June, August, October, December, February 2021, April, and June. Each gathering will feature a panel of authors and other speakers related to the topic with opportunities for break-out discussion groups. 

REGISTER NOW
The first online discussion group will be held on Monday, June 1 at 7:30 p.m. (CDT). This is a free event hosted on Zoom. Apostle Janné Grover will lead a discussion with Matt Frizzell, author of the first article in the series. Opportunties for questions to the author and small-group discussion will be provided.
This event is free but registration is required for the online discussion.

“Whether someone starts with a belief in Jesus or concern for the world’s pressing problems, the hope we can find in divine possibilities is something we search and yearn for,” Frizzell said.

These articles, the video series, and Zoom gatherings are made possible by Worldwide Mission Tithes. Your contributions are welcome online or by mail to the Presiding Bishopric, 1001 W. Walnut St., Independence, Missouri, USA.

Oblation Funds Buy Food for Families in India

5/14/2020

Community of Christ sent $19,500 in COVID-19 crisis support on 8 May to the states of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh in India.
 
The money from World Church Disaster Relief/Oblation will aid 84 congregations and 2,413 families. Each family will get 10 kilograms (about 22 pounds) of rice, 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of dried legumes known as dal, and two bars of soap. Transportation costs also will be paid.
 
“This support will provide important assistance to our church members and friends in villages that have suffered economically from the COVID-19 shutdown,” said Field Bishop Mark Euritt. 

Fiscal Year 2019 Audit Approved

5/11/2020

Members of the World Church Finance Board approved the Fiscal Year 2019 Audit on 30 April. It is now available online.

Thank You For Your Contributions!

5/6/2020

Community of Christ donors are the best!

The total contributed 5 May on Giving Tuesday NOW in the USA and Canada, including matching funds, was $100,062 (USD).

This online effort was launched globally in response to the financial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thank you for your participation and to those who tried a text-to-give function through 1-844-964-1444. 

We encourage you to continue to give as you are able to Worldwide Mission Tithes and Local Mission Tithes. 

COVID-19 Disrupts Spectacular, IYF Plans

4/28/2020

Spectacular 2020 and IYF 2021, the leading Community of Christ events for youth, will not take place as planned.

Spectacular
A lengthy Spec leadership discussion and review of public health data regarding COVID-19 preceded the decision to cancel the July 2020 event. Spec participants live, eat, learn, play and worship together, so maintaining the recommended physical distance of 6-10 feet and a coronavirus-free environment would be nearly impossible. An online experience for 2020 and an additional year of eligibility for current seniors are under discussion. 

IYF
International Youth Forum attracts hundreds of teenagers to the Temple complex in Independence, Missouri, USA. It was postponed until 2023. The Council of Twelve, on the recommendation the IYF 2021 directors, made the decision. For many IYF participants and their families, the cost would be unaffordable because of financial hardship caused by COVID-19. IYF Le Buena Fe in Honduras also was postponed. 

More information will be shared when it is available.

Sheltering in Place: A Message from President Veazey

4/27/2020

President Steve Veazey draws insights from the disciples of Jesus who were isolated and afraid. When the Living Christ appeared to them, his words were of peace. What assurance of peace do you need today?

Ideas for connection and recommended spiritual practices are available in a Spiritual Check-in document. Connect with the church on CofChrist.org, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Financial Support for Mission During the Pandemic

4/26/2020

Many thanks to those who have been able to continue supporting mission during the COVID-19 pandemic. World church leaders are grateful to those using eTithing or mailing their mission tithes to congregational financial officers or International Headquarters.

Traditionally, almost 80 percent of mission tithes come through the offering plate. However, because the church is not physically gathering to worship, and because some members and friends face financial hardship during this emergency, local and worldwide mission tithes have substantially declined. While it is difficult to project or accurately report what is happening, the Presiding Bishopric monitors funds received on a weekly basis and is adjusting plans as needed.

One bright spot is increased use of eTithing: In March and April to date, 363 individuals/families have signed up for this online method of giving. Thank you to those who are trying this method of giving!

As you are able, church leaders ask you continue to contribute and even consider increasing your giving to local and worldwide mission tithes. ETithing is the easiest way. Or, send a check to your congregational financial officer or to International Headquarters, 1001 W. Walnut St., Independence, Missouri, 64050, USA.

If you are struggling financially, reach out to your congregation or mission center financial officer for Oblation aid.

Herald Publishing House Resumes Operation

4/23/2020

Herald Publishing House, located in the Community of Christ Auditorium, 1001 W. Walnut St., Independence, Missouri, USA, has resumed distribution of books and other church materials.

Business was interrupted in March when the church headquarters complex and other sites across the country closed in compliance with orders regarding COVID-19.

To ensure continued employee safety, Herald House will operate with minimal staff. Other Community of Christ buildings and sites remain closed, likely through June.

For more information, go to www.HeraldHouse.org, call 1-800-767-8181 or (816) 521-3015. 

Our Continued Response to COVID-19

4/17/2020

The First Presidency has continued to monitor recommendations from professional health organizations about preventing the spread of COVID-19. Many nations continue to recommend the suspension of group gatherings. Based on our review, the First Presidency is advising congregations and mission centers to continue suspending church gatherings. Read more

Community of Christ Extends Closing Date for Sites

4/17/2020

The Community of Christ temples, Auditorium, headquarters and historic sites around the USA will remain closed to the public through June 30. Church officials also extended a current work-from-home strategy for many employees. 

The decision to extend the plan reflects the Presidency’s continued concern for the welfare of staff and their families. The selected date is fluid, based on government and public-health recommendations. The First Presidency also advises congregations and mission centers to continue suspension of church gatherings. 

Church Receives Funds to Help Cover Payroll, Utilities During COVID-19 Emergency

4/15/2020

On Friday, 10 April, Community of Christ received $1.53 million USD as a loan through the Paycheck Protection Program, which is part of the CARES Act enacted by the USA government.

The loan will be used to cover employee payroll and utilities for eight weeks. Loan amounts used for these purposes during the eight-week time frame are forgiven. Any amount not used for eligible expenses will be repaid at the end of the eight-week period. 

The PPP loan will help bridge the gap for lost income due to cancelled events at the Auditorium and historic sites, lost preservation fees and sales due to closed historic sites and limited sales from Herald House, as well as anticipated shortfalls in Worldwide Mission Tithes.  

While this funding will be a significant help in filling a short-term gap, continued support of Worldwide Mission Tithes and local tithes by those who are able is critical as the church navigates the months during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prayers Needed for US Tornado Victims

4/14/2020

Please hold the Chattanooga community in prayer as residents and Community of Christ members recover from injuries and property damage caused early Monday, 13 April, by a devastating tornado. Members and friends have lost homes, businesses, and schools. Many were hurt, with hospitals at or nearing capacity. The church has a significant presence in the community, and leadership teams are working tirelessly to provide pastoral care and support. 
 
Church leaders are working closely with their apostle, and further updates will be provided as recovery efforts continue and additional need is identified. As always, oblation aid is part of the Worldwide Mission Budget and contributions help make those funds available in situations like this. Give today at www.CofChrist.org/give

'Living Hope' Video Available Online

4/13/2020

As we continue to find new ways of being together when physical distancing guidelines prevent gatherings, you're invited to view "Living Hope," an online worship experience recorded for Easter, April 12, now available on YouTube

Enjoy this uplifting message in music, prayers, reflections from members around the world, and a homily by President Steve Veazey. 

Worldwide Mission Tithes made this event possible. To give, go to eTithing or, if your country isn't represented there, send a check to Presiding Bishopric, 1001 W. Walnut St., Independence, Missouri, 64050, USA.

Oblation Aid goes to Apostle Mejia’s Field

4/9/2020

In response to the COVID-19 emergency, Community of Christ has sent $35,500 USD to help families in Central and South America buy food. These funds were matched in that region by an additional $7,500.

Apostle Carlos Enrique Mejia said 643 families will benefit from the funds. The effects of coronavirus mean many people in Mejia’s area are unemployed and have no money for food. “Some pastors have used some reserves of the offerings to help families,” he said, but the need exceeds those funds, and government aid is erratic or unavailable.

International Headquarters has not received any other requests directly to this point. Individuals or families who need aid should contact a congregational financial officer. 

Worldwide Mission Tithes make this support possible. To give, go to eTithing or mail a check to Presiding Bishopric, 1001 W. Walnut St., Independence, Missouri 64050.

Tending Our Souls

4/8/2020

In his most recent message, President Steve Veazey invites us to pause, rest, and tend to our souls during these turbulent times. He reminds us that, "This can be a time for us to deepen our understanding of the principle of sabbath as an opportunity for us to do some soul tending." 

As we prepare for Easter, President Veazey also ponders the role of attentiveness. 

Trust in God, Live by Faith

4/6/2020

 

In his weekly message, President Steve Veazey asks us, "How are you doing? Are you getting impatient? Are you grieving the cancellation of activities and events? Are you frustrated or angry about not knowing how or when this situation ends?" 

President Veazey acknowledges that in challenging times he sometimes feels like yelling at God, "Enough already!" Can you relate to this in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic? 

Insights found in the Book of Habakkuk in the Hebrew scriptures by President Veazey provide words of encouragement in turbulent times.

Ideas for connection and recommended spiritual practices are available in the Spiritual Check-in document. Connect with the church on CofChrist.org, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Help for Those Affected by COVID-19

3/26/2020

Oblation aid is available for individuals and families in financial difficulty as a result of COVID-19. As a reminder, oblation aid is part of the Worldwide Mission budget. Your contributions to Worldwide Mission Tithes support mission around the world, including aid to those who need it most. For information about oblation aid, contact a congregational financial officer.

A Spiritual Check-in

3/23/2020

As congregations around the globe are not gathering in person, many are wondering about meaningful ways to stay connected to God and each other. In this week's video with President Steve Veazey, he shares how he's staying centered during this situation and invites us to examine our own response. The ideas for connection and recommended spiritual practices he mentions in the video are available in the Spiritual Check-in document. 

Church meetings suspension extended

3/20/2020

As part of the church's COVID-19 prevention program, the First Presidency has extended the recommended suspension of church gatherings around the world.

Sacraments and COVID-19

3/19/2020

From the First Presidency: During the COVID-19 pandemic priesthood members will be asked to provide various sacraments. In all instances, priesthood members should respect public health guidelines that state people should practice “social distancing” and avoid, as much as possible, personal contact through which the infection spreads. In these unusual circumstances, the Presidency offers guidance related to the sacraments.

https://www.CofChrist.org/covid-19

None of us walks alone in these troubled times

3/16/2020

The USA Team of the Council of Twelve offers a message regarding the effect of COVID-19. Please share with those you think would benefit from these words of support.

Prayer for God's Comfort, Blessing In This Time of Global Illness

3/15/2020

Community of Christ President Stephen Veazey has written a prayer for this time of uncertainty and fear. He shared this prayer as a video on YouTube.   

You can also read the prayer here: https://www.cofchrist.org/daily-bread#!/3436/a-prayer-for-a-time-of-global-sickness-and-fear

The prayer is also available in French and Spanish


Ongoing Response to COVID-19 Virus

3/13/2020

After considering many factors, the First Presidency advises congregations and mission centers to suspend church gatherings in response to the projected spread of the COVID-19 virus. Read more

This situation is fluid. Church-related COVID-19 updates will be provided at www.CofChrist.org/covid-19.


Reunion Resources Now Available

3/11/2020

We pray COVID-19 concerns have dissipated in time for reunion/family camps.

As we consider the scheduling of these events, reunion 2020 materials are here. They're posted online and in the resource database. PDFs for adult, youth and children's materials are available, plus worship and sharing services. This year's adult lessons are based on A Way of Life: Understanding Our Christian Faith by Tony Chvala-Smith -- a book available through Herald House. Choose Generosity: Discovering Whole-Life Stewardship also is frequently mentioned.

Use of the PDFs is free, but a fee is charged for the books. 

Youth Worker Registration Required

3/2/2020

Registered Child and Youth Worker application forms are available for mission center officers, youth ministers, and camp directors in North America. Youth worker registration is required.

To make it easier to submit completed applications electronically, the RCYW form is available as a fillable PDF document. Application Guidance Notes and a Mission Center Checklist also are available.  

Submit completed RCYW applications to rcywapps@cofchrist.org for approval and registration.  

Applications submitted electronically are preferred because they require less time to process. If necessary, paper applications can still be mailed or faxed to the Office of General Counsel, (816)-521-3099.

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.

Organist-in-residence Experiences the Grammy Awards

1/26/2020

On Sunday, January 26, Organist-in-residence Jan Kraybill represented her recently released album, The Orchestral Organ, at the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. 

The recording did not win but had been nominated in three Grammy categories, the winners of which were named during a daytime event. Kraybill is organist-in-residence at Community of Christ Headquarters, Independence, MO, USA. She was in the audience.

"Just being on the list of nominees was winning, as far as I'm concerned," Kraybill said.

The nominations:

  • Best classical instrumental solo for Kraybill’s performance
  • Producer of the year, classical, for Marina A. Ledin and Victor Ledin of Reference Recordings
  • Best immersive audio album for technical design by Keith O. Johnson, Marina A Ledin, and Victor Ledin of Reference Recordings. “Immersive” indicates high-quality audio, but the CD is compatible with nearly all players.
     

Kraybill’s recording was made on the Julia Irene Kauffman organ in Helzberg Hall at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Kraybill plays and oversees the care of the Kansas City area’s three largest pipe organs: Community of Christ Auditorium’s 113-rank Aeolian-Skinner and Temple’s 102-rank Casavant, and the 102-rank Casavant at the Kauffman Center. 

For many years, Kraybill was principal organist for Community of Christ. She holds a doctorate in organ performance from the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Conservatory of Music and Dance. In 2010 she achieved an organist's highest certification: fellow of the AGO. 

Kraybill also is organist at Village on Antioch Presbyterian Church, Overland Park, Kansas, USA. 

Visit the Herald House On the Internet

1/4/2020

The publishing arm of Community of Christ is at www.HeraldHouse.org, with everything from lessons to apparel.

The 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.

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! 

AmazonSmile Supports Community of Christ

11/22/2019

As many of you 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. 

Community of Christ Social Media Ethics Statement

10/3/2019

The mission of Community of Christ is to proclaim Jesus Christ and promote communities of joy, hope, love, and peace. Social media provides opportunities for self-expression, community building, witness and education, faithful disagreement, and fulfillment of Christ’s mission. Social media, which provides ways to make relationships and engage in dialogue, has tools to promote or diminish Christ’s mission. 

The purpose of this ethics statement is to affirm for Community of Christ disciples and priesthood that Christ’s calling is lived out in all aspects of our lives including interactions on social media. Priesthood members and disciples of Jesus should consider the following guidance when using social media. The five elements of this guidance work together and should not be applied separately when applied to interactions and relationships on social media.

Updated Guidelines for Communion, Priesthood Release for Cause

9/23/2019

As announced at the 2019 World Conference, the First Presidency was preparing updated Guidelines for Serving the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper (Communion). After receiving feedback from the church and priesthood quorum and orders, the Presidency is releasing these updated guidelines.

Included are principles for providing online participation in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. During his closing message to the World Conference and church, President Steve Veazey shared these words of counsel:

Technology presents opportunities for involvement in sacraments by priesthood members and participants in separate locations. The First Presidency will act in its calling as chief interpreters of scripture, revelation, and church policies to provide procedures for offering sacraments in new situations while upholding essential meanings and symbols of the sacraments. As the church explores new opportunities for sharing sacraments, direction will come as needed through inspiration and wisdom.

Additional meaning is waiting to be discovered in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. Renewing covenant with Jesus Christ includes the call to live as peaceful human beings who personify Christ’s peace.

Spiritual blessing will be experienced when this call is emphasized as a vital aspect of the sacrament. Cherish opportunities to be spiritually formed by Christ’s sacred meal of remembrance, reconciliation, renewal, and peace.

              

WCR 1316 Priesthood Release for Cause was approved at the 2019 World Conference. In response, the Presidency is releasing updated administrative procedures.

Members of the Council of Twelve Apostles will develop educational opportunities to assist local leaders in the implementation of the Guidelines on Serving the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper and new administrative procedures for priesthood release for cause.

The documents can be found here and here.

Tell Us About Your Ministries

7/26/2019

We need stories of ministry and mission by individuals, congregations, and mission centers. They can help others, set examples, and provide inspiration throughout the church and beyond.

Stories can be considered for the Herald, www.CofChrist.org, and other communication channels. If you have photos that go with your stories, send them, too. Each photo should be at least 1 megabyte, and bigger is better. If available, send the photographer’s name as well.

We’ll be waiting at Herald@CofChrist.org to see what wonderful ministries our members are doing.

“Choose Generosity” Explains the Role of Stewardship as a Whole-Life Response

5/20/2019

“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

5/10/2019

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.

Copyright Information Updated for Congregations, Leaders

3/6/2019

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.

RSS Capability Added to Website

10/3/2018


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

8/16/2018

 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, blessing of children, laying on of hands for the sick, and ordination. The sacrament of evangelist blessing has a series of five videos that continue to be available from the Order of Evangelists. 

Community of Christ affirms God sanctifies common elements of creation — reflected in the sacraments — to bless human life and to renew and form the church to seek the peaceful kingdom of God. The videos: 

Discernment Guide, Videos Free on CofChrist.org

8/1/2018

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

6/19/2018

The USA Apostles of Community of Christ join President Stephen Veazey (announcement below) in contacting United States government officials to end the current policy of separating children from their refugee immigrant parents.

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,

Linda Booth
Barbara Carter
Janné Grover
Ron Harmon
Robin Linkhart
Lachlan Mackay

Statement from President Veazey Regarding Immigrant Families

6/18/2018

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

Free Member-Submitted Lessons, Music Available

6/5/2018

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. 

Additional materials are welcome. To submit a resource for possible inclusion on www.HeraldHouse.org, see the Member Created area for instructions.

Every Congregation's History Matters

2/13/2018

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 rkillebrew@cofchrist.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

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!

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