Semi-annual Evangelist Report: May 2021
Semi-annual data regarding the Order of Evangelists recently was distributed by Presiding Evangelist Jane Gardner. The church has 607 evangelists worldwide.
- Active Evangelists: 607
- Evangelist Emeritus: 44
- Female Evangelists: 215
- Male Evangelists: 436
- Age Range of All: 99-43
Democratic Republic of Congo 4
French Polynesia 18
Ivory Coast 1
Republic of China (Taiwan) 2
United States 530
Frank Flood, Australia Mission Center
Bernard Bancroft, British Isles Mission Center
Grover Tibbetts, Southeast Mission Center
Doris Stollsteimer, Mid-Atlantic Mission Center
Elbert Heath, Central Missouri Mission Center
Karen Bouverette, Michigan Mission Center
Andrea Johnson, Southeast Mission Center
Brenda Senga, Canada West Mission Center
Bridge of Hope Update: December 2020
We have amazing news! As of 31 December, 2020, the church has raised $88 million toward its $120 million Bridge of Hope goal—an increase of $12 million since June 30. Thank you to those in all fields of the church around the world who are working so diligently to meet this important goal. The next update will be provided in September 2021.
As a reminder, funding the retirement responsibility is the first priority for Bridge of Hope. Growing endowments is the second.
VIDEO: President Veazey on Jesus, the peaceful One
In a recent video filmed in the beautiful Temple in Independence, Missouri, USA, President Stephen Veazey ponders:
- Are our thoughts and actions aligned with Christ's peace?
- Are we moving toward Jesus, the peaceful One?
India the Focus on 3 May of Daily Prayer for Peace
At Community of Christ International Headquarters, anxious prayer requests for India have been received as the COVID-19 crisis rages. Thousands suffer and die daily in overcrowded Indian hospitals; medical care and oxygen are difficult to come by.Goganamanda Daiva Aseervadam, a senior pastor, died over the weekend from COVID-19, according to his family. Vikram Goganamanda, financial officer at Andhra Pradesh Mission Center, is his son.
In response to the pandemic's devastation, a specific Prayer for Peace at 1:00 p.m. Central Daylight Time on 3 May for India will be presented by Bennet Joshua Issac son of Prince Daniel. Joshua, of Chennai, is president for South India Green Valley Mission Center. His presentation will be seen on the church's Facebook page. Participants do not need a Facebook account to watch.
Survey Deadline 2 May
We want to hear from you on a variety of topics. Your thoughts and ideas matter to us.
To gather the most information, we’re asking several different groups to share the link to a quick survey. If you get multiple invitations, please take the survey just one time.
This anonymous survey should take 5-10 minutes to complete.
Reunion Resources Available
Many 2021 reunion and family camp resources are now available online.
This year's theme, "Let Peace Dwell Here," focuses on exploring nonviolence from a variety of viewpoints and topics. In response to a 2019 World Conference action, these materials continue the conversation in preparation for the 2023 World Conference. Adapt the lessons and worship experiences as needed for your gathering. Adult resources also will soon be available in French and Spanish.
- Discover Peace Here
- Grow Peace Here
- Practice Peace Here
- Discern Peace Here
- Create Peace Here
World Labyrinth Day 1 May
Join us on 1 May -- World Labyrinth Day! Walking the labyrinth is a purposeful prayer walk. It can be a catalyst for meditation and reflection. Everyone is encouraged to take a sacred walk to discover inner sacred space and be open to the Spirit’s movement.
Visit the church's website and learn more about this spiritual practice.
Join Our Earth Day Observances 22 April
Across Community of Christ, groups and individuals will celebrate Earth Day, 22 April.
We invite you to choose an event to join:
- Rick Bunch, leader of the Earth Stewardship Team, will offer the Daily Prayer for Peace at 1 p.m. Central Daylight Time on the church's Facebook page. A Facebook account is not required to watch. The team also offers resources and literature suggestions.
- For several weeks, the Greater Pacific Northwest USA Mission Center has offered a free climate change colloquy series. On 22 April, an online discussion will include Dr. Richard Waugh, who spoke 11 April on the subjects of drought, flood, and humanity's role in those climate disruptions. The Earth Day discussion will focus on Waugh's presentation. Participants are encouraged to watch the 11 April video before logging in for the 22 April event, which is at 6:00 p.m. Pacific Time, 7:00 p.m. Mountain Time, 8:00 p.m. Central Time, and 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
Waugh is also a long-time elder in Community of Christ.
Participants must sign up before joining the passcode-secure Zoom conversation.
For more information contact Rod Downing, chair, North American Climate Justice Committee, at email@example.com.
Spring Lecture Series Opens with Former Historian Richard Howard
Community of Christ Historic Sites Foundation will offer "An Evening of Church History" with Richard Howard, a free online program at 7:00 p.m. Central Daylight Time on 22 April.
Part of the Spring Lecture Series, this event features Richard P. Howard and Andrea Read-Davis. They will explore Richard Howard’s experience preserving the past as church historian from 1966-1994. Highlights will include his groundbreaking research, reflections on 20th-century change agents, and challenges he encountered.
Seating is limited for the program. Save a seat here. This is an English-only event.
Richard Howard’s program is one of seven lectures offered in coming weeks that will focus on 20th-century movers and shakers in Community of Christ history.
Twenty Years as Community of Christ
Twenty years ago the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints changed its name to Community of Christ. To mark this anniversary, two podcasts from Project Zion offer a look at the past, the name-change decision, and what has grown out of that change.
- Listen to the candid and inspiring stories of how the Spirit moved among the people and leadership as we embraced our name, Community of Christ. Two retired General Officers share the inside story as well as their personal journeys of awakening to what was being birthed among us. Host Robin Linkhart talks with Danny Belrose and Ken McLaughlin.
- The journey of a name change is the focus of conversation as Steve Veazey and Linda Booth share the story of how RLDS became Community of Christ. More than a name change it became a pathway into the future bringing blessing to the church and to the world.
Join a Taizé-style Service on Good Friday
Community of Christ invites members and friends to view a recorded service 2 April, Good Friday, on Facebook or YouTube. Participants are encouraged to gather at 1:00 p.m. Central Daylight Time on Facebook. Those who cannot watch at that time may view the same service at any time beginning at 8:00 a.m. Friday on YouTube.
This online experience will be available in in French, English, and Spanish, with singers and instrumentalists from around the world. Join to sing or to listen to this 30-minute Taizé-style service. For Taizé, participants repeat prayers and chants, creating a contemplative experience.
Singers, instrumentalists, and participants are expected from Canada, USA, Bolivia, Korea, French Polynesia, France, Côte d’Ivoire, Congo, Hawaii, Germany, Kenya, Spain, England, Wales, Honduras, and Zambia.
Church Officials Postpone World Conference
After careful consideration of global pandemic recovery trends and consultations with field leaders and health professionals, the Community of Christ First Presidency has decided to delay 2022 World Conference until 2023.
Upholding our Enduring Principles in light of the collective information we have at this given time, it was wise to delay the next World Conference until delegates from around the world can safely travel, enter the USA, meet together, and return without contributing to community spread of COVID-19 or its emerging variants.
Read the full statement and Questions and Answers.
Joyous Worldwide Easter Service Planned
An online Easter worship event 4 April is shaping up to be a globally diverse celebration.
“Breathe New Life” airs at 4:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Central Daylight Time. Participants will be encouraged to post their thoughts in social media as the recorded service plays on YouTube and Facebook. Multiple languages will be available in captions.
Meditative music starts 10 minutes before each airing. Be prepared with emblems for Communion.
Worship begins with a Tahitian guitar performance reflecting on Psalm 30:11:
You have turned my mourning into dancing;
you have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.
Several young adults, including Humberto Tinsman of the United States and Gonzalo Mejia, Jr. of Honduras will remind us to look for Christ’s peace, breathing new life. As a global community, we, in turn, will respond in singing, dancing, and sharing where we see Christ’s peace breathing new life.
Church members and friends have been asked to submit videos of themselves dancing to “Takwaba Uwabanga Yesu!"/"There’s No One Like Jesus” from Community of Christ Sings.
The community will be invited to sing “Mfurahini Haleluya,” 471 in CCS, with members from Congo and “Crown Him with Many Crowns,” CCS 39, with Jan Kraybill leading. Kraybill, a Grammy nominee, is organist-in-residence at International Headquarters, Independence, Missouri, USA.
A prayer of invitation, offered by Annette Henstra of The Netherlands, will be in Dutch.
Communion (the Lord’s Supper) opens with “Hallelujah! We Sing Your Praises,” CCS 656, performed by participants from Europe.
Apostle Catherine Mambwe of Zambia, focusing on John 20:21, will offer the homily. As member-submitted photos of the emblems are shown, Raiarii Tama of French Polynesia will play guitar. Apostle Carlos Enrique Mejia of Honduras will invite participants to Communion.
Apostle Mareva Arnaud Tchong of Tahiti follows with a combined prayer. Organist Jan Kraybill will play while all are invited to take the Communion emblems.
Kathy Fallon of the United States will play a guitar arrangement of “For Everyone Born,” as participants share in a global passing of the peace, beginning with Apostle Bunda Chibwe offering the Prayer for Peace in Icibemba from the Temple Sanctuary. Bibek Nayak of Nepal will share in the Disciples’ Generous Response.
The community will sing “For Everyone Born,” CCS 285, followed by a Sending Forth statement.
Kraybill concludes the service with an upbeat postlude, an abbreviated “Toccata from Organ Symphony No. 5” by Charles-Marie Widor.
Lenten Video Series Continues
Weekly, guided Lenten meditations, "Gospel Contemplation," continue on YouTube or the church Facebook page through Holy Week. Katie Harmon-McLaughlin will read scripture linked to the season on 19 (John 13:1-15) and 28 (Mark 11:1-11) March. Viewers are invited to pray along, using their senses and imagination to mentally enter the text and explore its meaning.
Closed captions in French and Spanish can play with the videos on YouTube.
Join Us for Holy Week Observances
Community of Christ invites members and friends to a host of events celebrating Holy Week and Easter.
- March 28 – Gather with an online community for Palm Sunday. Services will be offered throughout the day.
- March 29 at 1:00 p.m. Central Daylight Time – Daily Prayer for Peace offered in Spanish on our Facebook page
- March 30 at 1:00 p.m. Central Daylight Time – Daily Prayer for Peace offered in French on our Facebook page
- March 31 at 1:00 p.m. Central Daylight Time – Daily Prayer for Peace offered in English on our Facebook page
- April 1 – Gather with an online community for Maundy Thursday. Services will be offered throughout the day.
- April 2 at 1:00 p.m. Central Daylight Time – Join us for a Good Friday service on our Facebook page, or watch it as you are able on our YouTube channel, starting at 8:00 a.m.
- April 3 – Light a candle and practice a moment of silence. Share a picture of your candle and a statement of blessing on social media using #CofChristLent.
DEADLINE EXTENDED: Be Part of Easter Worship
We're gathering videos and photos for an online worldwide Communion worship, and we need your help to create a truly global experience. The deadline is 19 March. You can help with:
- Photos of your Communion emblems in your home.
- Videos of you dancing to "Takwaba Uwabanga Yesu!," ("There's No One Like Jesus!"), 121 in Community of Christ Sings.
Learn how to submit your pictures and videos below.
Whatever your Communion emblems look like—bread and juice, water and crackers, even milk and cookies; and wherever you take Communion—at home, at work, in a congregation—we want to see it.
Send us your best photos that are:
- Landscaped images (longer than wide)
- At least 3 megapixels
- Good-quality image in focus, with emblems clearly visible
We want to dance with you in joyful celebration of Jesus with us now and always...come join the dance! Here's how:
Get the music...
Download "Takwaba Uwabanga Yesu!"
Set up your phone or camera (more below) put on your ear buds or headphones (so we don't hear your music while you record...but you can clap or play percussion if you want to) and your dancing shoes (or go barefoot!)
Play back the music to your ears and dance with joy! No matter your age or ability, let's celebrate together in movement and dance. Kids? Yes. Just your dancing feet or whirling wheels? Absolutely. Your whole family? Certainly! (Kids must get their parent or guardian's permission first and submit a Photo Release for Minors Form with the video.)
Upload your video to WeTransfer, entering jokeefe@CofChrist.org as the email address to notify.
Setting Up Your Phone or Camera
- Videotape a landscaped image (if a phone is used, hold it sideways) and record with the higher-quality back-facing camera, i.e., the one you would use to take a photograph) at HD 1080p quality (1920 pixels x1080 pixels) at 29.97 or 30fps, with enough light to ensure good picture quality and in a quiet environment where your audio can be recorded without extraneous noise.
- Please ensure the camera or phone is at eye level. Look directly into the camera to record. No bright windows directly behind you, please.
- Please start your recording at least 10 seconds prior to your dance, and let your recording continue at least 10 seconds after you are done before you stop recording.
- Add no graphics please; we'll add those in later for a consistent look across the entire presentation.
Questions or issues? Contact jokeefe@CofChrist.org.
Computer System Upgrade, Restoration Continues
Following a forensic investigation into a security incident that affected some International Headquarters systems, the internet is now available at the Temple Complex in Independence, MO, USA.
The investigation did not find evidence that any personal information or jurisdiction banking information was accessed or acquired by any unauthorized third party. As previously announced, an upgrade to cloud-based systems is underway. This will allow implementation of the latest security measures.
To get a church laptop/desktop computer connected to the ethernet, Wi-Fi, and suite printers, employees must contact InfoSys@CofChrist.org to set up an appointment. InfoSys also will connect printers for employees who have a printer in their offices.
Priority will be given to employees who need connectivity at headquarters to be fully productive.
Employees who have other equipment that needs to be connected to the staff internet are asked to email InfoSys@CofChrist.org before proceeding.
Public Wi-Fi is available again and can be used for smartphones.
Suite printers are back online but the ability to scan to email is not functional nor is the ability to scan to file, which placed the scanned item in the M drive. Scans will have to be saved on USB drives for now.
Email notification of voicemails is still not available. Employees are urged to to check voicemail periodically.
Employees who have an application they were using before 20 January that they do not have access to and still need, are asked to send the name of the application to InfoSys@CofChrist.org.
Computer Security Incident Investigation Concludes
The forensic investigation into the security incident for some International Headquarters systems has concluded.
Under the direction of our insurance company and guidance from legal counsel, Community of Christ hired a leading computer forensic firm to assist with investigation of the January 2021 incident and confirm the security of the church’s systems.
This process determined that the church was the victim of a ransomware attack that resulted in some of our files being locked or encrypted for a period of time. As a reminder, eTithing, AIP tracking, CofChrist.org email, the world church’s general ledger software, and the current payroll systems were not involved in this incident.
The investigation did not find evidence that any personal information or jurisdiction banking information was accessed or acquired by any unauthorized third party. The church is reviewing our technical security measures and is taking steps to reduce the risk of this type of incident. As previously announced, we have accelerated our upgrade to cloud-based systems. This will allow us to implement the latest security measures identified by the experts. However, this requires more time than a simple data restoration on the existing network.
Auto-forwarding to another CofChrist.org email address was disabled 1 March. Please monitor your CofChrist.org email.
Resetting the password for your account will be required every 90 days.
We appreciate everyone’s patience and cooperation as we move to improved systems. If you have any questions, please email PresidingBishopric@CofChrist.org.
Climate Change Series Focuses on Biodiversity
A series of free discussions sponsored by Community of Christ groups on climate change and its effects continues 7 March with Dr. Phoebe Barnard, University of Washington, on the subject of biodiversity.
The webinar “Through Crises Toward Transformation: Biodiversity Loss — The Fraying Tapestry of Life” will
explore biodiversity and how climate-based loss of species has created tipping points. The event will consider how individuals and faith communities can respond appropriately to biodiversity loss.
The 7 March event is at 2:00 p.m. Pacific Time, 3:00 p.m. Mountain Time, 4:00 p.m. Central Time, and 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
Follow-up conversations on the same subject will be 14 March at 2:00 pm Pacific Daylight Time, 3:00 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time, 4:00 p.m. Central Daylight Time, and 5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The 18 March discussion is at
6:00 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time, 7:00 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time, 8:00 p.m. Central Daylight Time, and 9:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.
Registration is needed for the Zoom events, with more information here. Previous webinars, conversations, and Steve Veazey’s sermon are available online. The series is open to people of all faiths and traditions.
The series is sponsored by the Greater Pacific Northwest Mission Center, led by the Community of Christ North American Climate Justice Team.
International Headquarters Switches to Fuel Oil Reserves
Deadly winter weather prompted Community of Christ’s natural gas supplier to ask officials to instead use the church’s fuel oil reserves for heating at the International Headquarters Complex in Independence, Missouri, USA.
Hoping to reduce the use of natural gas needed for the greater community, church officials complied on the morning of 17 February.
In the process of making the switch a boiler valve proved defective, causing black smoke to be seen rising from the Auditorium. A second boiler then was used and repairs were made to the defective valve.
The last time the fuel oil reserves were used was in 1989.
Super Bowl Sunday Organ Concert Available Through 7 March
Jan Kraybill's twenty-second Super Bowl Sunday Organ Concert will be online through 7 March. Kraybill used multiple organ consoles at the Community of Christ Auditorium and Temple for this event dedicated to the many people who have faced the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Virtual Virtuosity: A tribute to all virtuosos of the COVID digital era" first aired 7 February. The free recording is on the church's YouTube channel.
Viewers also will learn about seldom-seen parts of the headquarters complex.
- William Walton's Crown Imperial March (transcription by Herbert Murrill)
- Herbert Howells' Psalm-Prelude Op. 32, No. 2 (on Psalm 37:11, "the meek shall inherit the earth")
- J.S. Bach's Prelude and Fugue in G Major, BWV 541
- Paul Manz' Partita on St. Anne ("O God Our Help in Ages Past")
- Franklin D. Ashdown's Variations on "The Star-Spangled Banner"
- Sigfrid Karg-Elert's O Gott, du frommer Gott ("O God, Thou Faithful God"), Op. 65, No. 50
- Jehan Alain's Litanies
Live Ash Wednesday Daily Prayer for Peace 17 February
On Ash Wednesday, 17 February, please join a live Daily Prayer for Peace event on the church's Facebook page. Katie Harmon-McLaughlin, spiritual formation specialist, will lead the event. Participants do not need a Facebook account to watch.
Building-Closure Policy Extended
Community of Christ International Headquarters (Temple and Auditorium) and its historic sites around the USA will remain closed to the public through 31 December. The First Presidency made this decision based on current information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic with continued concern for the health and welfare of visitors, staff, and their families. Church officials previously extended a current work-from-home strategy for many employees through 30 June.
Staff members continue the work of the church and monitor email and voice mail. Specific contact information is available online. You may also use the Contact Us form or call (816) 833-1000 to leave a message.
Decisions about worship gatherings, camps, and other physical gatherings are being made regionally under the leadership of field apostles.
Second Volume of Doctrine and Covenants Commentary Available
Commentary on the Community of Christ Doctrine and Covenants, volume 2, by Dale E. Luffman covers sections 132-165, providing a look at the Restoration and the modern church.
The book, with 500-plus pages, is for sale on HeraldHouse.org for $44.95.
Dr. Luffman served on the Council of Twelve Apostles from 1994 until 2013. A serious student of scripture, Luffman did considerable theological, historical, and scriptural research and reflection for his two commentary volumes. His draft was reviewed by Community of Christ officials and others, but Luffman maintained an independent stance while producing the books. The author died 25 March.
Each section has Introduction, Historical and Theological Context, Commentary and Exegesis, The Significance of This Text for Its First Readers, and The Significance of This Text for Today’s Readers categories.
Primarily designed as a reference work, Luffman’s commentary is a vital tool for those who preach or teach from the Doctrine and Covenants as well as individuals who seek understanding through individual or group study of the church’s book of inspired counsel.
This commentary also is useful for individuals that wish to enhance their scriptural literacy. The first volume, Commentary on the Community of Christ Doctrine & Covenants Volume 1: The Joseph Smith Jr. Era, also $44.95, is available on HeraldHouse.org. The volumes are sold separately.
Bridge of Hope Total Grows to $80 million
As of December 15, 2020, the church has raised $80 million toward our $120 million Bridge of Hope goal. This is an increase of $4 million since June 30, 2020. This is good news and the total received will increase when the 2020 closing process is completed. A December 31, 2020 Bridge of Hope update will be provided as part of the June 2021 financial update.
As a reminder, funding the retirement responsibility is the first priority for Bridge of Hope. Growing endowments is the second. Thank you to those across the fields of the church who continue to place attention on meeting this important goal.
2020 Worldwide Mission Tithes Gifts Within Goal Range
Community of Christ members and friends demonstrate resilient generosity!
The church gave more than $12 million in Worldwide Mission Tithes in 2020 landing within the goal range. Thank you to all those who through a year like no other, supported Christ’s mission in amazing and even sometimes surprising ways.
As we all look forward with hope in 2021, the Worldwide Mission Tithes goal range is $11.7-$12.2 million. If this past year is any indication, we can do this!
'Project Zion' Segment Focuses on the Year Ahead
President Steve Veazey recently was interviewed by Linda Booth for a "Project Zion" podcast about Community of Christ in 2021 and other timely topics that are affecting nations, the world, and the church.
The podcast is part of a "Project Zion" series called Coffee Buzz. The year ahead perspective is sixteenth episode of Coffee Buzz taped by Linda Booth with a member of the First Presidency.
An edited version of this interview will be published in the March/April edition of the Herald magazine.
Church Signs Anti-nuclear Weapons Message
Community of Christ and Community of Christ - British Isles have joined the more than 150 of signatories on an interfaith statement in support the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The treaty entered into force 22 January.
Community of Christ signed the interfaith statement in support of World Conference Resolution 1303 - Action toward Nuclear Weapons Abolition.
“At this historic moment, we must act decisively to strengthen the power of the TPNW upon its entry into force, and to work for peace, cooperation, and common security,” the interfaith statement says.
In addition to a comprehensive ban on nuclear weapons, the UN treaty also addresses the disproportionate effect of nuclear weapons on women and indigenous peoples and the importance of victim assistance and healing of environmental harms which align with Community of Christ Enduring Principles, Worth of All Persons and Sacredness of Creation.
A New Book Club for Church History Enthusiasts
Community of Christ members and friends who are interested in church history are invited to join a new online book club.
As the club launches, Lachlan Mackay and Barb Walden will explore Roger Launius' book, Joseph Smith III: Pragmatic Prophet. Each week the club will delve into three chapters of the Launius biography, reflecting on the historical context, lessons, and rich history embedded in Joseph Smith III's life story.
This gathering is meant to be an open and engaging discussion on the life and legacy of Joseph Smith III. A one-time registration will sign you up for all five weekly discussions. Each begins at 7:00 p.m. Central Standard Time each Thursday from 4 February - 4 March. Participants are asked to read the first three chapters prior to the 4 February online discussion. Joseph Smith III: Pragmatic Prophet is available from the Red Brick Store and other online sources.
Climate Colloquy Webinar Discussions 21, 24 January
A series of free discussions sponsored by Community of Christ groups on climate change and its effects continues 21 and 24 January. The online discussions will review previous presentations by Dr. Richard Gammon, “Mitigating Climate Crisis.”
The series helps participants align more fully with God’s inextinguishable spirit of goodness that calls all to God’s vision of a flourishing of life. The series (to be archived) endeavors to anchor participants in the church’s sense of spirituality.
Gammon, a climate scientist educated at Princeton and Harvard, has observed climate change issues for 30 years. He helped write the first Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report in 1990.
Registration is required for the Zoom events, with more information here.
Discussions are scheduled 21 January at 6:00 p.m. Pacific Time, 7:00 p.m. Mountain Time, 8:00 p.m. Central Time, and 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time with the second opportunity on 24 January at 2:00 p.m. Pacific Time, 3:00 p.m. Mountain Time, 4:00 p.m. Central Time, and 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
This colloquy is sponsored by the Greater Pacific Northwest Mission Center, led by the Community of Christ North American Climate Justice Team. All are invited to participate in this webinar series.
Congregational Recorder Training for Shelby Users
Join Community of Christ Recorder Christopher Shaw on Zoom or Facebook Live to learn the basics of using Shelby as a congregational or mission center recorder at 1:30 p.m. Central Standard Time Friday, 15 January. This brief course will offer several examples: how to enter a baby blessing when neither parent is a member, change a priesthood status, and an explanation of changes that can be made locally and which must be performed at World Headquarters. An opportunity to ask the World Church recorder questions will be provided live at the end of the session.
Participate on Zoom or, for members of the Community of Christ Shelby Users Group, on Facebook.
This session will be recorded and an archived video link will be available for those unable to attend.
Basic Beliefs Commentary Available
Exploring Community of Christ Basic Beliefs: A Commentary, edited by Anthony J. Chvala-Smith, is now available in ebook (Kindle) format from Herald House and Amazon.
Community of Christ produced a revised statement of beliefs in 2005. This has since been available in pamphlet form and on the church website for use by members and others. The statement consists of an introductory paragraph and an additional eighteen paragraphs, one on each of the following topics: God, Christ, The Holy Spirit, Creation, Humanity, Sin, Salvation, The Church, Revelation, Scripture, Sacraments, Discipleship, Ministry, The Reign of God, Peace, Resurrection and Eternal Life, Judgment, and End Time.
This new commentary is the result of some years of painstaking effort on the part of multiple authors from several nations to provide elaboration on the Basic Beliefs paragraphs. The authors’ work has been reviewed by editors, brought together in one continuous work, and approved for publication by the First Presidency. An introductory chapter ("What We Believe Is Important") and a chapter on each of the first nine paragraphs have been completed and are now available as a Kindle book.
Each chapter of this exploratory commentary contains:
- "Restatement of the Belief Paragraph"
- "An Introduction to the Topic"
- "Biblical Foundations"
- "Application for Discipleship"
- "For Further Reading"
- "A Testimony on the Topic"
- "A Spiritual Practice"
- "Questions for Reflection and Discussion"
Commentary on the remaining nine chapters are expected toward the end of 2021 or early 2022.
Community of Christ has no formal creed that all members and ordained priesthood must accept, so no statement on beliefs will ever represent every member of the community. However, the writers and editors of this commentary have succeeded in finding the “center-ground” of the beliefs of Community of Christ—a place where each member can connect and express their own theological perspective.
It is hoped that members and inquirers alike will find this volume useful in understanding the church’s basic beliefs as well as exploring their own journey of discipleship.
You're Invited to Write for Daily Bread
Do you have an experience, poem, or reflection that you would like to share with the church community in Daily Bread?
We're currently exploring the Guiding Question: Are we moving toward Jesus, the peaceful One? We invite you to share stories of your journey toward Christ's peace.
Submissions should be approximately 300 words. Remember to write for a global audience and in your own voice.
More Daily Bread writing guidelines and a submission form are online. Thank you for considering sharing in this ministry!
A President's Christmas Memories
Project Zion Podcast ends 2020 with a candid interview with President Steve Veazey, conducted by Linda Booth. In it Veazey shares Christmas memories, reflections on the year, and hopes for the future.
2020 Worldwide Mission Tithes Update Through November
Total contributions through November 30 equal $9.95 million. That means to meet the $12 million dollar goal for Worldwide Mission Tithes in 2020, December contributions need to total $2.05 million.
You can still help. If you are able, consider an extra contribution to support mission tithes. If you give weekly, give an extra week’s contribution before the end of the year. If you give monthly, consider adding a contribution. Every extra gift makes a difference and provides hope to many at a time when it is needed most.
See just a few of the things your mission tithes support in Generosity at a Glance.
Please Send Your Advent, Christmas Photos
While families likely will celebrate Advent and Christmas differently in this year of COVID-19 awareness, we’d still 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 the photographer’s name, the event, and the location. Send photos to Herald@CofChrist.org. Thanks, and Merry Christmas!
Preserving Congregational History
Join Community of Christ Librarian and Archivist Rachel Killebrew on 11 December via Zoom to learn the basics of why and how we preserve and share our sacred story. This brief course in historical record and item preservation is geared toward congregational historians.
Participants in the online meeting at 1:30 p.m. Central Standard Time will learn how to compile an annual report, what to include, and where to submit it at the end of the year. One segment will focus on how to preserve a congregation’s historical treasures ranging from paper to audio and visual media.
Feel free to share this invitation with pastors and leaders. This session will be recorded and an archived video link will be available for those unable to attend.
Meeting link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81220365419?pwd=ODlqSDUyaHVkOHRTbU5MTitITEVXdz09
December 2020 Financial Update
In the December 2020 financial update the Presiding Bishopric shared details about the church’s current economic situation and other information from the 5 December meeting of the World Church Finance Board. The next financial board report will be in June 2021.
Learn more about the church's financial condition.
Amazing Things Happened on Giving Tuesday
On December 1, Community of Christ invited members and friends to celebrate Giving Tuesday by contributing to Worldwide Mission Tithes. Even though we’re in the midst of a global pandemic, contributions set a record: About 858 contributors gave a total of $773,000 USD! Thank you, thank you! Our previous record was in 2019, $575,000.
This amount includes matching funds. If you missed it, you can get more information from an announcement on the Community of Christ Facebook page by Stassi Cramm and Steve Graffeo.
Your generosity continues to astound and amaze.
Climate Change Colloquy Resumes 15 November
A climate change series sponsored by Community of Christ groups continues 15 November with Phase 2, featuring Dr. Richard Gammon who helped write the first Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report in 1990.
The free webinar, “The Unraveling and Reweaving of Creation,” offers a detailed look at the climate change crisis itself—how we got here, the current status, and how to resolve the core issues.
This series helps participants align more fully with God’s inextinguishable spirit of goodness that calls all to God’s vision of a flourishing of life for all. Phase 1 of the series (to be archived on CofChristclimatejustice.org) endeavored to anchor participants in the church’s sense of spirituality, particularly its fierce hope.
Gammon, a climate scientist educated at Princeton and Harvard, has observed climate change issues for 30 years and on 15 November will present information on the science behind climate change and offer current IPCC projections.
Registration is required for the webinar that starts at 2:00 p.m. Pacific Time, 3:00 p.m. Mountain Time, 4:00 p.m. Central Time, and 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time, with more information here.
Participants are encouraged to discuss Gammon’s presentation on 19 November at 6:00 p.m. Pacific Time, 7:00 p.m. Mountain Time, 8:00 p.m. Central Time, and 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time. A second discussion will be 22 November at 2:00 p.m. Pacific Time, 3:00 p.m. Mountain Time, 4:00 p.m. Central Time, 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
The series is sponsored by the Greater Pacific Northwest Mission Center, led by the Community of Christ North American Climate Justice Team. Other events in Phase 2:
- “Mitigating Climate Crisis” with Gammon presents and analyzes the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change global recommendations on 10 January at 2:00 p.m. Pacific Time, 3:00 p.m. Mountain Time, 4:00 p.m. Central Time, and 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Community of Christ President Steve Veazey will dialogue with Dr. Gammon.
Discussions about Gammon’s topic will be on 21 January, 6:00 p.m. Pacific Time, 7:00 p.m. Mountain Time, 8:00 p.m. Central Time, and 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time. A second opportunity is on 24 January at 2:00 p.m. Pacific Time, 3:00 p.m. Mountain Time, 4:00 p.m. Central Time, and 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
- “Engaging the Faith Community” on 14 February with a panel of family members including Apostle Ron Harmon, with Zac and Katie Harmon-McLaughlin, and Emily Rose.
- “Biodiversity Loss and Why it Matters” on 7 March with University of Washington climate scientist Phoebe Barnard exploring species biodiversity and the tipping points due to climate-based loss of species.
Phase 3 will be an in-person colloquy 29-31 October, 2021.
New 'Worship Resources' Volume Available Now
Worship Resources Lectionary Year B: Beginning Advent 2020 to Advent 2021 is an important resource for worship planning needs from Advent 2020 to Advent 2021. This volume is now available from Herald House Publishing.
A new feature of the book is the use of the Old Testament scriptures for more than half of the service outlines. The theme and worship planning for those Sundays will use the Old Testament scriptures recommended in the Revised Common Lectionary for Year B (semi-continuous reading).
Weekly worship outlines include Community of Christ worship themes, lectionary-based scriptures, ways to engage all ages, recommended hymns from Community of Christ Sings, drama scripts and responsive readings, specific prayers, focus moments, and worship settings. Worship outlines also are available online by calendar day.
Also helpful are the two Sermon and Class Helps that provide commentary on the lectionary scriptures each week. They are also good resources for personal or small-group study.
USA Apostles Statement on the Nov. 3 Election
The USA team of Apostles released a statement on Friday regarding the November 3 election.
Veazey: Trust in the Holy Spirit
In his most recent video, Community of Christ President Steve Veazey shares some important updates and words of encouragement with the church. As you prepare to hear his message, consider these additional resources:
- View the principles and guidelines for offering the sacraments through online means during the pandemic that President Veazey references in his message.
- Listen to the Project Zion Podcast "Sharing Sacraments During COVID" where Linda Booth sits down with Scott Murphy to discuss these guidelines and what they mean for the church.
President Veazey's video has subtitles in French and Spanish.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to reduce opportunities for the church to provide in-person pastoral-care ministries and to gather physically for fellowship, worship, and community formation. After extended consideration, the Presidency is providing principles and guidelines for offering the sacraments through online means during the pandemic. These principles and guidelines may be refined in the future as the church lives into its experiences with online ministries.
It is our hope that providing for the sacraments to be shared through online experiences will continue the pastoral-care ministries the church is called to extend into human life, even during this time of physical distancing. It also will provide the church learnings for how to share the sacraments in a world that is becoming more borderless through online connections. May blessings abound as you offer these gifts.
President Veazey on the Healing Power of Human Connection
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.
Bridge of Hope Now Totals $76 Million
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.
President's Message: 'We Must Speak and Act Against Racism'
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.
Worship Elements for Use When Congregations Reopen
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.
World Conference Resolutions Reminder
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!
Council of Twelve USA Team Statement on Racial Injustice
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
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
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
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.
COVID-19 Update on Reopening Churches
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.
COVID-19 Disrupts Spectacular, IYF Plans
Spectacular 2020 and IYF 2021, the leading Community of Christ events for youth, will not take place as planned.
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.
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
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?
Financial Support for Mission During the Pandemic
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
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
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
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.
'Living Hope' Video Available Online
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.
Tending Our Souls
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
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.
A Spiritual Check-in
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
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
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.
None of us walks alone in these troubled times
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
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
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.
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
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!