Updated Copyright Information
Community of Christ encourages individuals and congregations to follow copyright laws. To make this process a little easier to understand, the church maintains a web page ("Hymnal Tools") with a list of copyright licensing information, supplemental materials regarding music for your church, and frequently asked questions. Links to this information recently was updated.
Prayer Vigil for the Earth 31 December
The North American Climate Crisis Series will lead a twenty-four-hour online prayer vigil starting at noon Pacific Standard Time on 31 December.
"Praying with All Creation in a Time of Climate Crises" concludes with a devotional beginning at 11:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time on 1 January (1 January-2 January in Australia).
Across the globe, participants will pray for those affected by global crises, reflecting on our role in climate mitigation, and recommit to a simpler, eco-friendly lifestyle. You are invited to begin the New Year with an increased awareness and steady commitment to help lower carbon emissions and to mitigate climate crises around the globe.
- Sign up to provide a specific fifteen-minute period of focused prayer, meditation, or creative activity in their home to support the vigil.
- And, join online devotions, spiritual practices, and focus moments on Zoom throughout the vigil. The Zoom link will be active for the duration of the vigil. The focus moments include children’s story times; celebrations of creation through art, music and poetry; public prayer; spiritual practices; presentations and readings. Visit the series website for more information.
The vigil is Sponsored by the Greater Pacific Northwest USA Mission Center Community of Christ.
Please Send Your Advent, Christmas Photos
We’d like congregational members and leaders to send your photos of Advent and Christmas to us for possible use in next year’s Herald magazine and on CofChrist.org.
Photos should be a least 1 megabyte, though bigger is better.
Please include caption information: the photographer’s name, the event, and the location. Send photos to Herald@CofChrist.org. Thanks, and Happy New Year!
Oblation Funds Help After After Tornadoes Strike
Community of Christ has forwarded $15,000 to Keystone congregation in Mayfield, Kentucky, for disaster relief after a series of tornadoes ripped through the Midwest and South in the USA.
The storms struck the evening of 10 December, destroying lives and property across the Midwest and South in the USA. A storm carved a more than 200-mile path across Kentucky and claimed more than 70 lives. Funds from the church will help provide food, shelter, and transportation.
Amy Hoerchler, field support minister in the Central USA Mission Field, reported that among church members in the area:
- Only minor injuries
- Five homes lost (members/nonmembers extended family)
- Three member families lost cars
- Twenty-six people affected have been contacted personally
- Restoring electric and water services has been problematic in some spots
Cathy Sheppard, co-pastor for the Keystone congregation, said: “The outpouring of love and support is truly a testament to the good that is in our community and the larger community.”
To support oblation funding, give to Worldwide Mission Tithes.
President Offers Lectio Divina and Special Prayer
Community of Christ President Stephen Veazey has recorded a special prayer and a Lectio Divina for the Christmas holidays.
Lectio Divina is scriptural reading, meditation, and prayer intended to promote communion with God and to increase the knowledge of God's living word. President Veazey's Lectio Divina will be available on 24 December.
The president's prayer from the 12 December Advent service is available in three languages.
Enroll Now for Blue Session eLearning Leaders Classes
Developmetrics has opened enrollment for the next session of online classes for Community of Christ leaders.
The next group of eLearning classes and MEADS will be the Blue Session.
- Ministry of the Deacon (MP302): Six weeks, 8 January-18 February
- Ministry of the High Priest (MP307): Eight weeks, 8 January-3 March
- Introduction to Priesthood (MP300): Eight weeks, 8 January-3 March
- Introduction to Pastors Ministry: Six weeks, 8 January-18 February
Each class costs $25.00 and includes credit. To enroll, go to Developmetrics.org. Enrollment is limited.
New: Guides to Support Hybrid Worship
Recently released Supporting Hybrid Worship guides provide free, downloadable PDFs that explain how to create online worship.
The guides were created by an international team of volunteers informed by their collective experience in streaming and hosting online worship and gatherings. Suitable for congregations, mission centers, and campgrounds, these guides help navigate the process of envisioning and implementing a hybrid worship model.
Many areas of the church are building and nurturing a community that meets in person and online. We seek to embody and live words of counsel shared by President Veazey at the end of the 2019 World Conference, “… be the peace of Jesus Christ. As you do, you will discover a variety of ways in which spiritual community forms and flows as expressions of the gospel of peace.”
The pandemic meant many areas of the church rapidly shifted to providing ministries online. New online opportunities for worship, community-building, disciple and leader formation, and mission are providing positive local and global experiences.
The Starter Guide includes basic and enhanced basic options. The Complete Guide offers basic through advanced options.
Please Consider an Extra Gift
As your gifts are given to loved ones this Christmas, please consider an extra gift to your congregation and to Worldwide Mission Tithes. Your contributions make Christ’s birth real in the lives of people everywhere.
Live Advent Service Streaming 19 December from the Temple
On 19 December at 7:00 p.m. Central Standard Time, The Center for Living Water will live-stream an online musical Advent experience exploring the sacred invitation present in darkness. Gifted musicians will perform in the Community of Christ Temple Meditation Chapel. Participants are invited to prepare for Christmas through music, spiritual practice, and prayer.
The Bridge of Hope Goal is Getting Closer
The Presiding Bishopric is grateful for the ongoing work in the various Community of Christ fields to meet the Bridge of Hope targets that are part of the $120 million USD retirement responsibility goal. We’re getting closer, with $25.8 million USD remaining!
Join a Live, Online Advent Worship 12 December
Plan now to take part in a worldwide Advent service at 4:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Central Time USA on 12 December, presented on the Community of Christ Facebook page or YouTube channel in English, French, or Spanish.
Participants can share worship responses in real time in a live chat. German- and Dutch-speaking members and friends can join in worship as part of a live Zoom event with the European church; German speakers can contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
“The People Walk” is a communal opportunity for examination, reflection, and challenge as we consider the Advent journeys of Mary and Joseph, the shepherds, the Magi, and all of creation…and our call as we walk our own Advent journey.
The church’s global diversity will be seen in reflections on "Hope" from Rashmirekha Mallick of India, "Love" from Humberto Rosario of the Dominican Republic, "Joy" from Nicolas Lethanh of New Caledonia, and "Peace" from Apostle Barbara Carter of the USA.
The First Presidency will open and close the service, and President Steve Veazey will offer a moving Advent prayer. A worldwide choir will celebrate the season in song, and Organist-in-residence Jan Kraybill will play the prelude and postlude and unite us in singing our faith.
December 2021 Financial Update from the Presiding Bishopric
The Presiding Bishopric has released the December 2021 Financial Update. In this update, you’ll find important information about mission tithes, Bridge of Hope Tithes, and financial projections and trends.
A few highlights:
- In September, the World Church Finance Board approved the 2020 independent audit report for Community of Christ and consolidated affiliates. A summary can be reviewed online.
- Thanks to the generosity of many, Worldwide Mission Tithes are projected to be within the 2021 goal range of $11.7 - $12.7 million.
- As of 30 November 2021, the church had raised $94.2 million toward the $120 million Bridge of Hope retirement responsibility goal.
- Over 710 individuals and families generously supported Giving Tuesday on 30 Nov with $676,432 for Worldwide Mission tithes including $295,000 of matching contributions.
- In 2021, leaders are guided by feedback received from two USA surveys related to generosity and funding local and worldwide mission and services. Results and next steps can be reviewed online.
- On December 4, 2021, the World Church Finance Board approved the 2022 Worldwide Mission Budget continuing ministries and services provided in 2021. The 2022 budget is based on at least $11.06 million for Worldwide Mission Tithes in 2022.
- There’s still time to support worldwide mission in 2021. Make a year-end gift to Worldwide Mission Tithes.
Read the entire financial update.
2022 Approved Budget Summary
The World Church Finance Board has approved a Budget Summary for 2022. Tables explaining the budget are available to view.
Church Leaders Look to Recent Survey Responses
Responses to two recent surveys of members and leaders regarding Community of Christ now are available in a report presented to the World Church Finance Board.
An Amazing Final Total for Giving Tuesday 2021
On 30 November, Community of Christ invited members and friends to celebrate Giving Tuesday by contributing to Worldwide Mission Tithes. Contributors gave the church $676,432 USD, including matching funds.
Thank you, again, for your amazing generosity!
Free Earth Stewardship Lessons
Community of Christ's Earth Stewardship Team now offers lessons about the care and future of Earth’s peoples, creatures, environment, climate, and resources. These lessons (in English) are for investigation by adults and youth and can facilitate intergenerational sharing. The lessons are not intended to answer all questions or solve all problems. Rather, they present a challenge to explore, discuss, and seek solutions relative to the user’s understandings.
Five free lessons are available as PDFs for download on the Herald House site. Future lessons are being developed to connect Earth stewardship to peace and justice issues.
Wanted: Your Stories for Daily Bread
Daily Bread stories are always needed, but particularly now.
What is God’s invitation to you in the new year? When have you experienced the sacred lately? Share your story today through the Daily Bread Writers Guide page.
Lessons Have a New Home on HeraldHouse.org
New Year C lessons for children, youth, and adults are available. Unlike previous years, users will find them on the Herald House website.
Once on the site, find Church Life at the top of the page just under the large Herald House logo.
Click the dropdown and select a submenu, Lessons. The lessons are in grouped as Children, Youth, Adults. The files, Community of Christ Lessons, are free to download and arranged in alphabetical order. Just add them to the cart and check out. This is the new way to access the lesson series.
Community of Christ is expanding its digital footprint, and items formerly accessed on CofChrist.org might be moving to other sites. More information will be available regarding the new websites and their new functions in coming months.
Email Communications@CofChrist.org for more information regarding access to lessons.
'Witness the Word' Resources Available Online
New "Witness the Word" videos are available for free online and as DVDs.
- Sermons: Katie Harmon-McLaughlin with "Make Space" for Advent; Lachlan Mackay with "Christian First"; and Jane Gardner with "Remember" for Communion
- Disciples' Generous Response Moments: Ryan Pitt with "Be the Peace"; Sherry Kirkpatrick with "Share Generously"; and Rick Maupin with "Investing in Generosity."
Online, find "Witness the Word" videos in the Worship Resources database. Users can view or download from that location. After Community of Christ launches its three new websites, these resources will be posted separately as sermons and DGRs. A similar structure exists on YouTube, with playlists for sermons and for DGRs.
Pastors who don't currently receive "Witness the Word" DVDs can contact Herald House to be added to the WTW mailing list.
Final Lecture in Historic Sites Series on 18 November
The current round of a popular free weekly lecture series begun in 2020, "Church History Without Boundaries," concludes on 18 November.
Events included global Community of Christ stories from Australia, France, Japan, Germany, England, and Wales. Barbara Walden, Community of Christ Historic Sites Foundation executive director, said the storytellers in the series are not only great speakers, many live in the regions featured in their lecture.
The presentation on 18 November is "Community of Christ History in England," at noon Central Time USA with Peter Gaffney, a historian of the 19th century Transatlantic world who will explore how early Latter Day Saint missionaries won converts in England, not only because of the spiritual appeal of their message, but because of the promise of social and economic transformation early converts might have seen in it.
Drawing upon hundreds of previously untouched materials from the 1830s and 1840s, Peter Gaffney's work highlights how early Latter Day Saints were perceived as socially radical - in part because of the efforts of early missionaries themselves to connect with working-class communities and movements.
Webinar: How Congregations, Individuals Can Help Slow Climate Change
A webinar 14 November continues a series of online climate change events, with ”Through Crises Toward Transformation: Communities Making a Difference” offering video examples and advice for church members and congregations to consider as they work to make a difference.
Participants also can learn basics about policies that will help mitigate climate change. The 14 November event is at 4:00 p.m. Central Time USA. A follow-up conversation will be 21 November at the same time.
Some Community of Christ congregations already are making a difference with changes to their buildings and land, planting native plants, and providing butterfly way stations. Congregations addressing climate change are asked to contact Susan Oxley at email@example.com to share ideas and project summaries.
The 14 November event is free. Participation in previous webinars is not necessary. Registration is required. Participants in previous webinars or conversations will receive emails with login instructions.
This online ministry is sponsored by the Greater Pacific Northwest USA Mission Center for Community of Christ. The North American Climate Justice Team is the planner, with members from GPNWMC, Canada East, Canada West, IWMC, SPMC, and SPIMC.
HeraldHouse.org Menu, Offerings Upgraded
A new HeraldHouse.org megamenu and product collections mean visitors to the site will find many of Community of Christ’s resources with fewer clicks.
Visitors can continue to use the powerful search bar or quick links at the bottom of the home page. More updates are coming, including language integration in French and Spanish, followed by a way to see several pages of a book’s PDF before downloading.
To learn more about the upgrade and using its features, watch a video with International Headquarters staff members Jenn Killpack, Becca Loving, and Cara Casey.
Printed books and PDFs for Year C 2021-2022 Worship Resources and Sermon and Class Helps will be available in early November. You can order them now on HeraldHouse.org.
For those who access the online worship-planning tools, the Advent/December, January, and February, materials are available now. Beginning this year, the free version will be posted on the Herald House site. This change is part of a larger plan for Community of Christ’s digital environment.
Each month will have a link to the following content in PDF format.
- Worship Resources
- Sermon and Class Helps
- Sacred Space—small-group suggestions
You can access these materials in several ways:
- Visit HeraldHouse.org
- Click "Church Life > Worship Resources" in the new menu. Then choose the Advent/December Worship Planning Tools product.
- Scroll down the hompage to the Worship Planning section and click the orange button to access the materials.
- Use the "Worship Resources" link in the footer at the bottom of any page.
- Visit CofChrist.org
- Scroll to the blue footer at the bottom of any page and click "Worship Resources” under Quick Links
Daily Prayer for Peace Video Marks All Saints' Day
A recorded video of the All Saints' Day Prayer for Peace on 1 November is available to view through the Community of Christ Facebook page. Stassi Cramm, presiding bishop, offered the prayer with her husband, Stephen Cramm.
Family and friends who died in the past year, plus those who contributed to Christian community throughout the history of the church, are honored on All Saints' Day.
Free Earth Stewardship Lessons Now on HeraldHouse.org
Community of Christ's Earth Stewardship Team now offers lessons about the care and future of Earth’s peoples, creatures, environment, climate, and resources. These lessons (in English) are for investigation by adults and youth and can facilitate intergenerational sharing.
The lessons' format can separate to serve adult and youth classes, including expanded discussion opportunities. The lessons are not intended to answer all questions or solve all problems. Rather, they present a challenge to explore, discuss, and seek answers and solutions relative to the user's understandings.
Five free lessons are available on HeraldHouse.org as PDFs for download. More lessons are planned.
Among the proposed issues presented are climate, water justice, poverty, food production, ocean health, plastics, deforestation, environment, species and habitat, and pollution of air and water. A further concern will involve consideration of Earth stewardship’s connection to peace and justice issues.
The team welcomes comments and suggestions for additional topics. Find additional resources on the Earth Stewardship Team page.
Join the 2021 Generosity Cycle!
Through 21 November, Community of Christ will move through the Generosity Cycle. This is our annual opportunity to intentionally move together through a season of giving.
The four phases of the Generosity Cycle—Invite, Discover, Respond and Reflect—ground our discipleship in God’s extravagant grace and generosity that leads to whole-life stewardship in living Christ’s mission.
Ways to participate:
- Disciples’ Generous Response moments focused on the four phases can be found here.
- Reflections on the Generosity Cycle on Saturdays will be published online in the Daily Bread.
- Additional resources including a video and study guides are available here.
For more information, about how congregations or mission centers can participate, write to PresidingBishopric@CofChrist.org.
Avoid Scam Emails that Use Leaders’ Names
Names of Community of Christ leaders have been used in several email scams. To avoid these scams, remember that church leaders always use @CofChrist.org email for church business. Any emails allegedly from church leaders that use other email sources (@gmail or @yahoo) are a scam.
Spoofing and phishing email senders usually include a request for money or gift cards. Scammers do this hoping recipients will be tricked into making a purchase or clicking on an unsafe link.
The names of Bishop Stassi Cramm, President Steve Veazey, and other leaders have been used. (A spoof is when someone creates an email address that impersonates someone.) This cybercrime is a constant concern for everyone who uses email.
Church leaders will never ask for help in a secretive manner or request gift cards. Delete any message that spoofs church leaders.
"Witness the Word" Videos Available Now
New "Witness the Word" sermons and Disciples' Generous Response moments are now available.
You can view and download them on the Community of Christ website. They are also available for playback on YouTube.
This edition includes sermons by recent college graduate Natalie Harper, President of Seventy John Wight, and Graceland University Communications Director Shane Adams.
Disciples' Generous Response moments are shared by Rand Irons, Steve Newby, and Dawn Pagat.
Responding to Haiti’s Devastation
In August, damage from a 7.2-magnitude earthquake and then Tropical Depression Grace overwhelmed Haiti, a country already dealing with political upheaval.
On August 31, Community of Christ sent $56,200 USD to Haiti for earthquake relief.
More than four hundred eighty families across sixteen congregations in the southwestern part of Haiti were directly affected by the earthquake.
“A lot of their homes are either partially damaged or destroyed. There have been reports of church member casualties at the early onset of the quake,” said Moana S. Faana, field bishop for the Caribbean and field support minister for the South Central USA Mission Field.
In the town of Chardonnieres, for example, church officials reported thirty-six people died because of the earthquake, nine of whom were members of Community of Christ.
Oblation aid sent will provide rice, beans, cooking oil, and water, among other things. Local church staff worked with pastors and leaders to help distribute the relief.
The epicenter of the quake was in the western part of the country, near Trou de Nippes.
Thank you for your ongoing generosity that makes donations like these possible. To support these and future oblation efforts, members and friends can give to Worldwide Mission Tithes on the church website.
Donations by check should be sent to Community of Christ, 1001 W. Walnut St., Independence, MO, USA, 64050. Indicate “Oblation” on the memo line.
Bridge of Hope is $5.2 million Closer to Goal
As of June 30, Community of Christ has raised $93.2 million toward its $120 million Bridge of Hope goal—an increase of $5.2 million since December 31. Thank you to all those who are doing such amazing work toward meeting this goal!
As a reminder, funding the retirement responsibility is the first priority for Bridge of Hope. Growing endowments is the second.
Join Our 2 October Observance for International Day of Non-Violence
This United Nations-designated event will include gifts from global musicians, members of the Council of Twelve Apostles, and President Steve Veazey to guide us as we seek understanding of nonviolent struggle, and continue our shared journey toward Jesus, the peaceful One. Taizé is a contemplative style of worship.
International Day of Peace Online Event on 21 September
An online observance of Daily Prayer for Peace will focus on the International Day of Peace.
Apostles Richard James, Mareva Arnold, Janné Grover, David Nii, Art Smith, Bunda Chibwe, Robin Linkhart, and Carlos Enrique Mejia recorded sections of the the service, which can be seen at 1 p.m. Central Daylight Time on the Community of Christ Facebook page. Some portions of the event will be in English, some in Spanish, and some in French.
Participants can follow the script online. You do not need to be a Facebook member to watch the video.
Join the Historic Sites Foundation for Heritage Day Events
A hymn festival and the Joseph Smith III Peace Lecture will highlight 2021 Heritage Day, 19 September. The Historic Sites Foundation shared specifics:
- Sing the Sacred Story on Heritage Day Sunday!
All are welcome to join the Beyond the Walls choir and the Toronto Centre Place in celebrating Heritage Day. This year’s worship service, “Our Worldwide Story,” will feature heritage hymns and engaging readings from around the world. This live event on YouTube or Facebook starts at 11:00 a.m. Central Daylight Time USA.
- Annual Joseph Smith III Peace Lecture
An educational afternoon will be offered with friends from Liberty Hall Historic Site as they host the annual Joseph Smith III Peace Lecture. This year’s speaker is Jim Doty, who will share his favorite stories related to the life and legacy of Joseph Smith III. This live Facebook event is at 3:00 p.m. Central Daylight Time USA.
Climate Change Series Explores Role of Consumerism
The role of the consumerism that leads to the purchase worldwide of goods that rely on fossil fuels and plastics is the subject of a 19 September online climate webinar.
”Through Crises Toward Transformation: Systemic Solutions—Consumerism!” will explore lifestyle and corporate changes necessary to help mitigate climate change. Much of the industrial complex that makes and distributes consumer goods rely on fossil fuels, petroleum products, and plastics that continually add to the carbon emissions in the atmosphere. Wise consumer practices for the individual and for manufacturers are required to help solve this systemic problem.
"Systemic Solutions—Consumerism!” begins at 4:00 p.m. Central Daylight Time USA. Registration is required for this free online event.
Participants who registered for a previous webinar or conversation do not need to register again. Once registered, a Zoom link is sent a few days before each event.
This is an online ministry sponsored by the Greater Pacific Northwest USA Mission Center for Community of Christ. The North American Climate Justice Team plans the event, with members from Canada East, Canada West, IWMC, SPMC, and SPIMC.
Aid for Hurricane Ida Victims
Based on information the Presiding Bishopric has received from local leaders, church members and church properties in the southern United States were spared damage by Hurricane Ida.
As part of the larger community, however, Community of Christ is sending oblation support to three agencies providing aid in the area. The church contributed $3,000 USD to each organization listed here. The bishopric has researched these agencies and is satisfied they provide quality support and good stewardship of contributions.
- Project Hope provides medical personnel and hygiene supplies for families in shelters. Project Hope works with local partners to identify urgent health needs and provide personal protective equipment, including N95 masks, against the COVID-19 surge in Louisiana.
- United Way of Southeast Louisiana supports immediate relief and long-term rebuilding. It also supports community grants to partner organizations providing direct disaster recovery assistance.
- American Red Cross mobilized hundreds of trained disaster workers and relief supplies to support people in evacuation shelters. About 600 volunteers were prepared to support Ida relief efforts, and shelters were opened in Louisiana and Mississippi, with cots, blankets, comfort kits and ready-to-eat meals. The organization also positioned products needed for blood transfusions.
Thank you for your ongoing generosity that makes donations like this possible.
Contributions to Worldwide Mission Tithes, the source of oblation funds, can be made online or by check sent to Community of Christ, 1001 W. Walnut St., Independence, MO, 64050.
World Hunger Emphasis Sunday on 5 September
On 5 September, congregations will focus on the Oblation and World Hunger Ministry that is part of the Mission Initiative to Abolish Poverty, End Suffering. May this blessing and meditation offer inspiration and a pathway to action.
Prayer of Blessing
Gracious and Giving God,
In our plenty, we would remember your children who are poor, hungry, and broken. May you be with the blind, the ill, the destitute, the hungry, the refugees, and the despairing. Increase your spirit of generosity in our hearts, and multiply these gifts that your people everywhere may know new life, new hope, and new direction. In the name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.
—From worship suggestions for World Hunger Emphasis Day
Oblation Funds Aid Refugees
As a worldwide faith movement, Community of Christ strives to embody God’s peace through our beliefs in the Worth of All Persons, Unity in Diversity, and Blessings of Community. We stand with other communities of faith and faith-based humanitarian organizations in solidarity with displaced people around the world.
The world spotlight recently highlighted Afghanistan. Thousands of people are being relocated to places that might feel strange or unwelcoming. Our Statement on Immigration explains how to respond to the needs of individuals and families seeking refuge and safety.
A $10,000 donation from oblation funds will be given to aid the work of Church World Service as it supports newly arriving Afghans. Learn more about this important work on the CWS website.
We continue to monitor the situation and will send additional support as appropriate. Members and friends can give to Worldwide Mission Tithes to support these and future oblation efforts.
The words in Doctrine and Covenants 163:4a call us to hear and respond, “God, the Eternal Creator, weeps for the poor, displaced, mistreated, and diseased of the world because of their unnecessary suffering. Such conditions are not God’s will. Open your ears to hear the pleading of mothers and fathers in all nations who desperately seek a future of hope for their children. Do not turn away from them. For in their welfare resides your welfare.”
THE FIRST PRESIDENCY
Graceland Football Players Lend a Hand
Landscaping around Community of Christ International Headquarters in Independence, Missouri, USA got a facelift 18 August when a service project brought 100 Graceland University football players to the Temple campus.
Steve Graffeo, counselor to the presiding bishop, said the crew weeded island plant beds and trimmed the hedges throughout the Temple parking lot. Pruners, hedge trimmers, gloves, and rakes were provided.
“They definitely left the parking lot a better and more beautiful place,” Graffeo said.
After their labors, the football players were fed lunch: fifty-five large pizzas, cookies, and ice water. “That’s four large slices each,” Graffeo said.
With masks and social distancing in place, the team and coaching staff were shown the inside of the Temple. They also participated in the Daily Prayer for Peace in the sanctuary with Apostle Ron Harmon; Daniel Harmon, Spirituality & Peace Center coordinator; and Graffeo.
Coach Nate Robinson and Graffeo agreed the service project work day was a success, providing a good amount of team-building for the players. The coach would like to make it an annual event, Graffeo said.
How to Give to Haiti Assistance
Community of Christ is ready to provide Oblation Aid funds to Haiti, recently hit by a massive earthquake and then a storm, as specific needs are expressed. An online portal is available to give to Worldwide Mission Tithes, the source of oblation funds.
Donations by checks should be sent to Community of Christ, 1001 W. Walnut St., Independence, MO, USA, 64050. Indicate "Haiti Oblation" on the memo line.
Damage from the 7.2-magnitude earthquake and then Tropical Depression Grace in a country already dealing with political upheaval mean misery and loss of life for church members and other residents of the island nation.
As Grace drenched the earthquake-damaged nation, rain poured on people huddling in open in fields, away from weakened buildings.
Apostle Art Smith has had limited contact with Community of Christ leaders in Haiti. Several deaths in the Chardonniere congregation, in a difficult-to-reach region, have been reported.
“It’s going to take some time to get a full report on loss of life, injuries, and damage to church property and the property of our church families,” Art Smith said. The epicenter of the quake was in the western part of the country, near Trou de Nippes.
Please keep those affected by the two disasters and those who are providing aid efforts in your prayers.
World Conference Resolutions Reminder
With a rescheduled World Conference set for 2023, mission centers are reminded that the new deadline for submission of legislation is 21 April, 2022.
Any proposed resolutions already submitted to the review process remain valid.
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 should be sent to Susan Sloan, world church secretary, at Community of Christ International Headquarters or to ssloan@CofChrist.org. Sooner is better!
Dates Announced for Online World Church Event in June 2022
The First Presidency invites members and friends worldwide to hold 9-11 June 2022 for an online event to prepare for the 2023 World Conference.
Members and friends participating in the June 2022 online event will worship together, learn about resolutions and other topics to be considered at the 2023 World Conference, and continue exploration of WCR 1319 — Nonviolence.
Planners are working to determine when and how to best gather online, knowing that participation will span the world’s time zones. As details become available, updates will be provided.
Although we can’t gather in person in 2022, we look forward to being together online and through focused resources and activities as we share in worldwide community.
Watch for more information on the church’s website, by email, and on social media.
Registration for Mental Health Workshop Closes 19 August
Health Ministries Association, an affiliate of Community of Christ, will spotlight mental health in the association's annual workshop. The deadline for registration is 19 August.
"Mental Health: Moving Towards Well-being" will be 21 August online. The series of presentations on the many aspects of mental health are open to health professionals, clergy, and the general public.
Psychotherapist Jamie Copaken will present the opening keynote speech. He will discuss ways to be more assertive, grateful, and validating, to recognize our needs, and proactively avoid the effects of too much stress.
Workshops during the day will cover recognition of fear, isolation, loneliness, anxiety, depression, suicide, trauma, and PTSD—with treatment and resource information.
Rev. Alex Wales will offer the closing address, discussing strategies for becoming healthy and whole in body, mind, and spirit by using not only therapeutic approaches, but also by using the power of faith.
For more information, go to the HMA site.
Labyrinth Walk CANCELLED
A labyrinth walk scheduled 29 August at the Community of Christ Temple in Independence, MO, USA, has been cancelled out of concern regarding rising COVID-19 levels.
June Worldwide Mission Tithes Within Goal Range
The 2021 goal range for Worldwide Mission Tithes is $11.7-$12.7 million USD. Worldwide Mission Tithes reported through 30 June were just under $5.5 million, which is within the goal range of $5.4 to $5.8 million for that same period.
Thank you to those around the world who faithfully support both Local and Worldwide Mission Tithes.
Health and Spiritual Wholeness Workshop Focuses on Mental Health
Participants in the "Mental Health: Moving Towards Well-being" workshop can save with early bird rates if paid by 7 August.
The live, Zoom experience from the Health Ministries Association will be 21 August.
Mental health issues are a growing concern. Even before the fear and isolation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, anxiety, depression, suicide, trauma, and loneliness were increasing around the world.
Experts in the field will discuss the four most prevalent mental health issues, their symptoms, treatments, and resources.
- Stress & Anxiety
- Depression & Suicide
- Trauma & Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Loneliness & Isolation
Learn more and register at the Health Ministries Association website.
Lecture Series Installment Looks at Atherton Social Experiment
On 5 August, a lecture with David Howlett will explore the story of the Atherton stewardship community, an early RLDS experiment in communal living begun nearly a century ago. The free online event presented by the Community of Christ Historic Sites Foundation begins at 7:00 p.m. Central Daylight Time.
“F. M. Smith, the Atherton Community, and American Communal Experiments” will describe how nineteen families joined in shared property, labor, and worship on 2,500 acres of land purchased by the church outside of Independence, Missouri.
The church-sponsored communal experiment was heralded as a success at the 1930 centennial celebration but ended less than a decade later.
Slots for the event are limited and registration is required. This lecture originally was scheduled as part of the spring series.
Community of Christ Sends Aid to Haiti
Two mission centers in Haiti have received a total of $70,000 to the assist families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and recent political unrest.
The funds are from the oblation line of the Worldwide Mission Budget.
About 700 families in 80 congregations are receiving aid. The funds will provide a hygiene kit for each family that includes soap and Clorox, plus a nutrition kit that contains a fifty-pound bag of rice, twenty-five pounds of beans, and a gallon of cooking oil. Transportation and distribution costs also were covered by the church.
Sue Sloan to Retire Effective 31 December
From the First Presidency:
Susan D. Sloan, World Church secretary and First Presidency office director, will retire 31 December 2021 from full-time employment in roles she has had since 2012. Her retirement concludes more than 42 years of dedicated service to the church.
We are deeply grateful for Sue’s commitment to the mission of the church and its people. We look forward to Sue’s continued ministry in her retirement.
Susan K. Naylor has been appointed World Church secretary and First Presidency office director beginning 1 January 2022. Susan brings a wealth of experience and skills that will be a blessing to the church. A transition period begins 1 September 2021 to provide for mentoring and preparation.
Book Series: Seth Bryant, John Horner on the Kirtland Temple
A summer book series from Community of Christ Historic Sites Foundation continues this month with a discussion on David Howlett's book, Kirtland Temple: The Biography of a Shared Mormon Sacred Space. This four-week series (8-29 July) will explore the history of Kirtland's historic House of the Lord and how the interpretation of the past has been received as inspirational and contentious depending on the listeners. The discussion 22 July features Seth Bryant and John Horner, focusing on Part III of David Howlett's book.
The online program, registration required, begins each Thursday at 7:00 p.m. (Central Daylight Time). This one-time registration will sign you up for all four of the weekly discussions this July.
Prayers Requested after Deadly Floods in Western Europe
Elray Henriksen, national ministry coordinator for Belgium, and Eva Erickson, national ministry coordinator for Germany, have reported:
The Belgian emerging congregation asks for prayers for friends, families, and members of Community of Christ based in the Verviers district and affected by recent floods and heavy rains. Families initially reported they were without water, electricity, mobile connections, and had little food. Church officials were seeking a clear understanding of the extreme weather's impact on church members.
The floods also have affected Germany, where more than 100 people have been reported dead and 1,300 reported missing. Some of the missing were thought to be alive but have no way of communicating because mobile networks are down, and many places have no electricity. More than 100,000 households are without power. Members in Germany are thought to be safe, but church officials ask you hold all of those affected in your prayers.
India Receives More than $100,000 USD in Oblation Aid
Oblation Aid from the Worldwide Mission Budget is being used to assist families during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and $102,700 USD has been sent, according to Steve Graffeo, counselor to the presiding bishop.
The money was sent in June to the seven mission centers the church has across Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, and South India.
This aid will assist 4,232 families with masks, soap, and other supplies as well as rice and other cooking items.
The funds also will assist in transportation costs for distribution to the villages. Please pray for church members and other residents of India during this devastating time.
Prayers Needed for Haiti
We unite in prayer for the people of Haiti affected by the turmoil unfolding in that country. Haiti is devastated by the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, surging COVID-19 cases, as well as growing poverty, violence, and political unrest.
Renel Louis Jean, president for Haiti Great South Mission Center, requested “prayers for Haiti and for Community of Christ in Haiti as everyone navigates the days to come.”
Church leaders are working closely with their apostle and local leadership to monitor the situation. Aid will be provided as the needs of Community of Christ members and friends are identified.
Oblation aid is part of the Worldwide Mission Budget. Worldwide Mission Tithes help the church respond in situations like the one in Haiti. Give online today at www.CofChrist.org/give.
Peace and Justice Team Statement on Mideast Conflict
The Community of Christ Peace and Justice Team has released a call to action regarding recent renewed violence in the Mideast. The team encourages prayer and specific actions church members and friends can take, including informing themselves on this issue and writing and calling their leaders.
President Veazey on the Return to In-Person Church
In a recently launched video, Community of Christ President Steve Veazey addresses the process of returning to in-person church as the COVID-19 pandemic wanes in some areas. Veazey reminds congregations, however, of the blessings of the Holy Spirit through connections made in online services and urges continuation of those efforts.
“I hope we will embrace equally in-person experiences and digital participation where technology allows. It is important to extend our fellowship by providing fresh and meaningful ways to form Christ-centered communities. Groups that place equal value on in-person and online participation will lead us toward the Holy Spirit’s goal for us.”
The video, five minutes long, is available on YouTube.
Book Series Examines Joseph Smith's Run for President
The 24 June installation of the online Community of Christ Historic Sites Foundation summer book series is Joseph Smith for President, presented by author Spencer McBride at 7:00 p.m. Central Daylight Time.
Joseph Smith's 1844 presidential campaign is a surprising historical factoid to some. And even those who are aware of Smith's entry into American politics are unsure of what motivated the founder of the Restoration movement and how seriously he took the campaign. McBride will explain why Joseph Smith ran for president, what made his campaign unusual in the history of United States presidential politics, and what this campaign reveals about the political obstacles to universal religious freedom in nineteenth-century America and today.
Registration is required for the Zoom webinar. This is an English-only event.
History Book Club Series Debuts 17 June
Join the Community of Christ Historic Sites Foundation this summer to read and discuss four books exploring the people and places found in church history. This online gathering is meant to be an open and engaging discussion with the authors and fellow church history enthusiasts.
- Kingdom of Nauvoo, presented by Benjamin Park
- Joseph Smith for President, presented by Spencer McBride
- Kirtland Temple: The Biography of a Shared Mormon Space, presented by David Howlett
- Apostle of the Poor: The Life and Work of Missionary and Humanitarian Charles D. Neff, presented by Matthew Bolton
Each of the discussions begin at 7:00 p.m. (Central Daylight Time) on 17, 24 June; 8, 15, 22, 29 July; and 12, 19 August. Seating is limited; register online to save a virtual seat for the 17 June event. Registration links for the remaining events are with descriptions on the same page. This is an English-only event.
Report: A Generous Church Fuels Mission
Check out the most recent Generosity at a Glance report, a chance to reflect on the difference you make in mission.
Saturday DPP Volunteers Needed
COVID temporarily closed the Community of Christ International Headquarters and Temple to the public, but Daily Prayer for Peace continues. Please consider sharing in this ministry by offering the DPP on a Saturday of your choice.
Other days of the week are covered, but if you are willing to pray the DPP as an individual, a family, or a community group privately in your home or other sacred space on a Saturday, contact Tammy Lindle Lewis, firstname.lastname@example.org. Choose your preferred Saturday and an alternative Saturday. Church staff will provide the script and additional information the week before. Be a part of this Temple ministry wherever you live. This is a private, not recorded, event.
The Daily Prayer for Peace is a powerful witness of Community of Christ’s commitment to peace. Such regular expressions symbolize the church’s unrelenting pursuit of peace as God’s intent for a bruised and divided world.
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. Fulfill the purposes of the Temple by making its ministries manifest in your hearts.
—Doctrine & Covenants 161:2a-b
June 2021 Financial Update from the Presiding Bishopric
The Presiding Bishopric recently released the June 2021 Financial Update. In this update, you’ll find important information about mission tithes, Bridge of Hope Tithes, and financial projections and trends.
A few highlights:
- The church responded generously with over $12.6 million in worldwide mission tithes in 2020 making projections for 2021 - 2023 still accurate. Local mission tithes were over $16 million.
- The goal range for 2021 Worldwide Mission Tithes is $11,700,000 to $12,700,000. Worldwide Mission Tithes are currently trending within or slightly below this range.
- As of 31 December 2020, the church is within $32,000,000 of reaching the $120,000,000 Bridge of Hope goal. Each apostolic field continues to make progress toward their field’s portion of the $120,000,000 goal.
- Shared online experiences have blessed us as a community. Digital connection also means opportunity for dishonest solicitation of funds. Worldwide Mission Tithes is the best way to support sisters and brothers around the world.
- There is opportunity and great need to explore new funding methods to support worldwide mission especially with those younger than 60 in the USA and Canada. At the same time, growing multi-nation fields continue to work toward self-sufficiency.
- The church is invited to participate in the Generosity Cycle later this year as an opportunity to be intentional about whole-life stewardship and using our true capacity to move toward Jesus, the peaceful One.
Read the entire financial update.
Church History Segment Focuses on Communal Efforts
Join David Howlett on 3 June as he explores the Atherton stewardship community, an early RLDS experiment in communal living begun nearly a century ago.
“F. M. Smith, the Atherton Community, and American Communal Experiments” is a Community of Christ Historic Sites Foundation presentation. The free online event, open to anyone interested, begins at 7:00 p.m. Central Daylight Time USA.
At Atherton, 19 families joined in shared property, labor, and worship on 2,500 acres of land purchased by the church outside of Independence, Missouri, USA. The communal experiment was heralded as a success in 1930 but ended less than a decade later. David will share the story behind the church-sponsored experiment and what caused its formal closure.
Seating is limited for the 3 June lecture. Registration is required for this English-only event. Donations received from the evening lecture will go to support the ongoing preservation and maintenance of Community of Christ historic sites.
Share Your Thoughts with Daily Bread
Daily Bread is looking for reflections on President Steve Veazey's question from the closing message of World Conference 2019: Are we moving toward Jesus, the peaceful One?
How is it shaping your relationships, interactions, and decisions?
Send your reflections...we hope to share them in a post!
Use this simple form to submit: www.CofChrist.org/daily-bread-writers-guide
History Series Installment Focuses on William Taft Blue's Battle Against Racism
The life of a leading Black minister in the Reorganization during the 20th century is the topic for a 27 May online lecture at 7:00 p.m. Central Daylight Time.
Bill Russell and Gwendolyn Hawks-Blue will explore the life and legacy of William Taft Blue. He was ordained a priest in 1947 and later named pastor of Belmont Street Mission in Pensacola, Florida, a position he held for twenty-one years.
While enduring church segregation and racism in the southern United States, Blue transformed his pain into an affirmative testimony of faith and perseverance. In the late 1960s, Blue and wife Carrie relocated to Kansas City, Missouri, where he continued to work toward a world without racism and discrimination until Blue's death in 2007.
Seating is limited for the online lecture, part of the "20th Century Movers and Shakers in the History of Community of Christ" series. The program is free and open to the public, but donations received from the evening lecture will go to support the ongoing preservation and maintenance of Community of Christ historic sites.
Pray and Work for an End to Violence in the Middle East
Community of Christ members and friends are urged to pray and work for peace in the Middle East. The 2016 Community of Christ World Conference approved a resolution titled Palestine and Israel (WCR 1311). This resolved “That Community of Christ join with other Christian, Jewish, Muslim, ecumenical, and secular peace movements in the call for peace in Israel and Palestine.”
The escalating violence in Palestine and Israel is the opposite of peace and is not in harmony with God’s vision of shalom for creation. This violence causes great needless suffering and a growing number of civilian deaths, including children. A humanitarian disaster is unfolding. Let us pray, advocate, and work for peace in Israel and Palestine as called for by the World Conference.
—The First Presidency
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!