The first event of the “All Voices Canada” conference occurred on Saturday, May 15. It brought together over 140 people from across Canada to share with each other what Community of Christ means to them. We heard recorded “testimonies” from seven people in response to two questions:
Then everyone was invited to discuss their own responses in break-out sessions of smaller numbers of participants. These sessions enabled people from Canada East and Canada West mission centres to gain understanding and appreciation of what the church means to each of them from all areas of the country.
The next day, on Sunday morning, the Beyond the Walls online church service, originating from the Toronto congregation, provided the opportunity for seven more testimonies to be shared. A recording of this service is available here: Beyond the Walls May 16. You may note a majority of voices from Canada West in this service. The reverse was the situation for the Saturday conference. A recording of the Saturday conference is not available.
About 40 testimonies have been received in writing and many of them have been recorded. You can watch for those recorded testimonies (including those shared at the Saturday conference and the Sunday service) to be posted to the website: www.AllVoices.ca. As of today (May 18) the recordings have not yet been posted. However, if you scroll down to the “Testimony Tapestry” area of that page, you will find the invitation for you to write your own contribution and forward it to Apostle Art Smith. I invite and urge you to take advantage of this opportunity to include your story in this growing “Testimony Tapestry.”
A second major online event also occurred on Saturday. This was a fundraiser organized to benefit the Samish Island Campground as it makes its way through a second year of hosting no church or community events and therefore realizing no rental income. The event featured sharing by people with long histories with Samish and what the campground has meant to them. This included church members as well as representatives of organizations who have rented the grounds for their events for many years. The sharing of these individuals was interspersed with professional musical entertainment from church members and from other artists who responded to the invitations of friends to perform for the benefit of the Samish Campground.
The stated goal of the event was to raise $30,000 for the campground. The two co-hosts for the event (Alexis Beer from Canada West Mission Centre and Sean Langdon from Greater Pacific Northwest Mission Center) did a marvelous and entertaining job. Besides enthusiastically introducing the program participants and musicians, they regularly reminded all viewers/listeners of the purpose of the event and provided invitations to donate and instructions on how to donate – plus tactful and entertaining requests to donate MORE! By the end of the evening, they announced that the total raised had exceeded $50,000!
Congratulations to everyone involved in this very successful event! There are too many individuals to name here. By categories they include the organizers and planners who did their work for the last few months, Alexis and Sean for their skillful hosting work, the people who provided the supportive testimonies of what Samish means to them, the behind-the-scenes people who made sure the program and videos all ran on schedule and that donation updates could be provided throughout the evening, all the artists who contributed so generously of their musical talents, and, finally, all of those who generously financially supported this event. Thank you to all!
Both of these events are examples of “community in action.” All Voices Canada brought members and friends of Community of Christ together to discuss what is important to them about the church in Canada. The Samish Campground fundraiser brought together a diverse set of people from western Canada (mainly BC) and the U.S. Northwest – all friends of the campground regardless of their connection to the church – who recognize the importance of a place of spiritual and social significance to them and to so many others.
Well done, everybody! Well done!
As always, I pray for you God’s blessings of joy, hope, love, and peace in these challenging times.
Canada West Mission Centre President
By Apostle Art Smith
community of christ
355 Elmira Road North, Unit 129
Guelph, ON N1K 1S5 Canada
Canada West Mission: 877-411-2632
Canada East Mission: 888-411-7537