We are so happy to be sending you this virtual postcard from our Community of Christ World Conference in Independence Missouri, USA!
So far we are having a wonderful time sitting with our friends from across Canada West and reuniting with friends from far away.
We’ve especially enjoyed the words of home and encouragement in the messages shared by church leaders and we encourage you to check out all the recordings online at cofchrist.org
We will share more here after we return. We hope you enjoy these few snapshots from our time so far.
Gwyn, Kat, & Shannon
Yours in Christ,
Gwyn, Kat, and Shannon
Written by Gwyn Beer
Canada West Mission Centre Co-President
"We are pilgrims on a journey - CCS # 550
World Conference 2023 starts on Saturday, April 22! I know some people are already on the journey to conference. I will be flying on April 20th and I look forward to seeing Independence again!
I choose the hymn above before I went on the website and saw the hymn list. The hymnal is 10 years old this year!!! I love to just read the hymns as poetry. The hymns that are on the website for conference are available in multiple languages.
I read through the legislation on the Community of Christ website again today. Whether you are making an actual journey to conference or you are staying home, check out the conference website. Wherever you are, you are part of Community of Christ. Join together in prayer, study, discernment, financial and courageous support.
As CCS 550 sings "we are here to help each other walk the mile and bear the load... I will share your joy and sorrow till we've seen this journey through.
I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.’
Yours in Christ,
Gwyn, Kat, and Shannon
Written by Vickie MacArthur
The Spark for a Lotus on Fire
“It feels like I am slowly dissolving the me I think I am, to become the love beyond the boundaries of Buddha and Christ, and you and me.”
--- A Lotus on Fire
As I stand at the podium at Analog Books, looking out over the sea of expectant faces, I feel a tinge of nervousness. Surrounded by walls of books on every side, I wonder what passage I could possibly read from my newly born book, that hasn’t already been written in some form? As I take a deep breath, and take time to truly look into the faces of beloved family, friends, and students, I see a spark of love shining through. It reminds me of another time of looking into the eyes of Buddhist Master Thich Nhat Hanh. It was that moment that sparked the idea for the book I now hold in my hands, A Lotus on Fire: How a Buddhist Monk Ignited My Heart.
I met Thich Nhat Hanh (Thay) at a large retreat out in Vancouver in 2011, just after my mother passed away from cancer in 2011. I arrived with a raw and open heart, hoping for a quiet space to be with the sadness and loss I felt. At one point towards the end of the retreat, I had the opportunity to sit very close to this gentle and revered monk. Our eyes met, and a feeling of love such that I had never known welled up in me. It felt like I was looking into the eyes of the Buddha, or Christ.
When I got home, I felt like I needed a way to process and reflect on this life-changing glimpse of “enlightenment” I’d received. I got out my journal and started to write. I wrote in the format of Letters to my Teacher (Dear Thay), describing my feelings, and asking the deep questions of my heart. Each question led to some insight and answers, but always uncovered deeper questions. Over time, these letters began to connect some of the dots for my life experience, revealing some overall patterns and themes. I wondered if these heartfelt letters in my journal could somehow become a book?
So began the long process of writing, and re-writing, in between teaching yoga, raising our teenage boys, leading church, and all the other activities of life. I finished the first draft in 2019, and started looking for an editor. Several months later, I was invited to be part of the online leadership team for Awakening Spirituality, an online outreach group for our church, dedicated to being a safe and welcoming place for all different kinds of spiritual seekers. On the leadership team, I met Susan L. Scott, a long time church member whose own roots run deep in the RLDS tradition. Susan is also an author and editor passionate about inspiring and helping people like you and I to write and share our own stories. She calls this “Spiritual Life Writing”, stories at the intersection of spirituality and everyday life. She became my mentor and editor for the rest of my book journey. I shared my excitement with my dear friend Lana Cullis, and she too became a mentor and companion for me.
In early 2021, we finally had a fully edited manuscript. Initially, like a lot of new writers, I hoped to find a traditional publisher to publish my book. This is no easy task, as most large publishers won’t even look at you without an agent, and smaller publishers don’t want to take a chance on you unless you already have a huge following, and a large social media platform. The submission process alone was like writing an entire book all over again. So I spent the next 6 months sending out book proposals, and either getting a polite “thanks, but no thanks,” or no answer at all. It felt like my manuscript disappeared into a big black hole!
In September 2021, my life changed drastically. I was hit by a car while crossing in a crosswalk, and sustained serious injuries to my left shoulder and left knee, requiring two surgeries, two weeks in hospital, and three months in bed (and lots of prayer!) My life literally flashed before my eyes, and I spent most of the next year recovering. When I finally felt well again, I knew I needed to find a way of getting my book out into the world right away. My story mattered, as do all our stories!
I decided to self-publish and become an “Indie-Author” as we’re called. It’s still a lot of hard work, but it gave me more control over the creative design of the book, including title, front and back cover design, and inside formatting, and complete copyright and ownership. I found an experienced graphic artist up in Calgary, who designed the stunning cover for A Lotus on Fire, and also did all the formatting inside the book, so I could upload easily to Amazon to publish both the paperback and E-Book versions. An official book launch was planned for March 22 at Analog Books here in Lethbridge.
As I now stand at this podium, holding A Lotus on Fire in my hands, I can feel the faith of many generations converging in this moment. I sense the courageous faith of my parents and many generations of RLDS, now Community of Christ. I feel the teachings and meditation practices of Thich Nhat Hanh, and his Vietnamese Buddhist lineage traced right back to the Buddha himself. I feel the great love of the Living Buddha, and the Living Christ flowing through me, to be a tiny spark of love wherever I am.
A Lotus on Fire is available in both paperback and E-Book on Amazon. To find out more about Vickie and A Lotus on Fire, please see Vickie’s website: www.vickiemacarthur.ca
Yours in Christ,
Gwyn, Kat, and Shannon
This is Holy Week. We breathe in this space when Jesus was closer to his disciples than ever before, yet so far away as they clung to him and would keep him from following his call. Holy Week is a space for learning how to stay awake and watch, and how to act. We find ourselves right now in the liminal space between the extraverted, frenetic joy of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and the deep, upwelling, inner joy of encountering resurrection past the grave.
Both of those kinds of joy were evident in our CWM staff retreat last weekend. As Gwyn, Shannon, Debra, Sandra, and I got to know each other in one another’s full presence for the first time, we were able to share our hopes for this work as well as the struggles we encounter. Our joy came from being accepted as we are and our felt freedom to be fully heard, to be encouraged, to experience beautiful hospitality. Like the disciples, we came together and ate. We walked together. We prayed together, for us all.
None of us can see the future of our beloved Mission Centre. All of us care so deeply about the well-being of this particular expression of Christ’s love on earth! In your journey through Holy Week, we encourage you to find community, break bread together, listen deeply to one another, and remember the new life that Jesus has shown us. May we all travel well in darkness so that we may be embraced in resurrection light!
Yours in Christ,
Gwyn, Kat, and Shannon
Please register online for World Conference through our www.cofchrist.org website. If you would like your registration fee to be paid for by the Mission Centre, please send your reimbursement request to CWM_MCFO@communityofchrist.ca and Dar will get the funds sent back to you as quickly as possible.
The Founding of the Church
Written by Stephen Thompson
Canada West Mission Centre Historian
Vol. 1 | No. 1
Welcome to the first edition of “Historians Corner.” The intention of this once-a-month column (maybe twice-a-month once we get started) is to highlight brief nuggets from the history of Community of Christ and especially from the church in Western Canada. These “brief nuggets” will be just that - brief. Perhaps frustratingly brief from both a writer’s and a reader’s perspective. There is simply not enough space here in the Weekly Wire for a lot of detail. But there are many places to find details about church history and we will try to refer you to those resources when possible if you wish to know “the rest of the story” (as broadcaster Paul Harvey used to say).
For this first instalment, we are going to go back to the very early days of the church. The organizational meeting for the church was held on April 6, 1830, - one hundred and ninety-three years ago this month. (Yes - our bi-centennial is fast approaching!) The formal organization of the church was the culmination of a series of events over the previous five to ten years; we will not attempt to summarize those events here.
The meeting was held “in the Smith log cabin in Manchester Township, Ontario County”1 in western New York state. No minutes of the meeting were made. Accounts of the actions taken at the meeting were written some time later. We know the six people who attended were: Joseph Smith, Jr., Oliver Cowdery, Hyrum Smith, Samuel H. Smith, Joseph Smith, Sr., and Joseph Knight, Sr.1 The Prophet, Joseph Smith, Jr., addressed the other five men in the spirit of revelation as recorded in section 21 of the Book of Doctrine and Covenants. As originally organized, the church was known as the “Church of Christ.” It did not become the “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints” until 1838.1 Subsequent name changes were to “Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints” in 1860 and to “Community of Christ” in 2001.
Register for 2023 World Conference
We are so excited to be together again and share in business, worship, learning, and community-building.
The 2023 World Conference officially begins with the opening legislative meeting at 10am on Saturday, April 22 and concludes with a sending forth worship on Friday, April 28. Pre-conference activities begin on Friday, April 21. Everyone is invited.
REMOTE SITES FOR WORLD CONFERENCE
The Council of Twelve has tentatively determined two locations for remote sites. One will be hosted in Honduras and the other will be hosted in D.R. Congo. One additional remote location will be hosted at Graceland University to accommodate students who are taking their final exams during World Conference week.
PROTOCOL FOR COVID
Special attention is being given to health and safety. This will require some precautions not experienced at conference before.
Based on what we know at this time, people will be strongly encouraged to wear masks when indoors at World Conference to protect the most vulnerable in our gathering. We will provide larger spaces for delegation seating using the main floor and the balcony and encourage people to spread out during other indoor events.
We are also strongly encouraging participants to take several self-initiated and self-monitored precautions to include testing for COVID before arriving, staying home if one tests positive or has fever or symptoms, and getting up-to-date on vaccinations to protect one’s self. Thanks for your understanding!
We look forward to sharing with our global family!
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
Site powered by Weebly. Managed by Community of Christ