Join us for this year's Nurturing Justice Retreat and make a change in our world!
When: April 22-24
Where: See poster above
Registration via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please RSVP for more details. All events are free of charge, come to one or all!
“Before any change comes chaos.”
My sacred movement teacher shared this truth from quantum physics with us during our meditation this morning. It led me straight into the drama of Holy Week. Did the disciples read their way into a new reality with Jesus? Did they meditate their way in? No, the new reality did not come from a bloodless birth or over the internet or through a book. Not even from a pulpit! The new reality of God’s love in Jesus Christ came through very gutsy things: betrayal, pain, scorn, abandonment.
“What wondrous love is this, o my soul:
What wondrous love is this, that caused the Lord of life
To bear the painful cross for my soul.”
What cross do you bear? If the answer isn’t immediate, let me ask: What chaos are you in right now? I do not believe that we can expect to live into a new reality as Community of Christ here in Western Canada without some chaos. I certainly don’t believe we can think our way into it! If I can believe that Jesus was still held by God during the events of his passion, then I can believe that we find ourselves held by God during difficult conversations about finances, about relevance, about COVID, and about ‘what’s next’. We honour the name we share with Jesus when we humbly hold the remembrance of Holy Week. Let us share the last supper. Let us stay awake with Jesus. Let us gather close as we can as he is tried and beaten. Let us gaze on the cross. Let us be prepared for a tomb, and a stone, and a magnificent wondering: What is this new reality being born?
Yours in Christ,
Gwyn, Kat, and Shannon
Spring is here and this marks another new beginning and a new chapter here at World Accord. We are thrilled to announce that Kristin Douglas will be leading the team at World Accord as the new Executive Director effective April 4, 2022. We will be saddened to see David Barth go at the end of April but are also celebrating his 24 years of service where he successfully led World Accord to grow and fulfill its mission of cultivating communities that thrive.
Kristin is an experienced and passionate non-profit professional with a focus on fund development, relationship management, strategic planning, campaign management and volunteer engagement. Most recently, she worked as the Executive Director for Ethiopiaid , a non-profit organization focused on sexual and reproductive health and rights and women’s empowerment.
Kristin is a very well rounded, passionate and intelligent leader. She brings more than eight years of professional experience from both small, grassroots non-profits like World Accord, as well as large, national and international NGOs. With a BA in Philosophy, Minor in Social Justice and MSc in Human Rights & International Politics, she has a passion for the type of work that World Accord does and an appreciation for how we pursue our goals. World Accord is in good hands.
On a more personal level, Kristin has a number of hobbies and interests. She describes herself as a “social butterfly” which can be reflected in her love for concerts, trivia nights, and comedy shows. She uses her social skills in athletics as well, as she currently participates in an ultimate frisbee league. Similar to many of our World Accord donors and previous Executive Directors, Kristin also has a huge passion for travel and hopes to see as many of the corners of the world as possible. She enjoys both classic weekend road trips or more adventurous and exotic international travel.
For our foodie members of World Accord, you can win the heart of our new executive director with ceviche, or “arguably the best pizza in North America” fresh from Windsor. Furthermore, Kristin is not only a lover of Peruvian food, but she is also known for her breakfast-making skills. Eggs Benedict and omelets are her favourite foods to cook up while at home with her partner and yorkie poo.
Thank you all very much for everything you have done for David Barth, World Accord, and our partners during his tenure. David expressed “It has been a privilege and an honour to serve you and our partner organizations in this manner. I know Kristin will enjoy getting to know you all as much as I have, and hope you enjoy getting to know her as well.”
On Sunday we were encouraged in our worship services to share generously. I’ve had this on my heart as I’ve been driving around the city. There are so many blossoms, and pollinators, and more sunshine than I’m used to seeing! Both the Bible and the natural bible of creation give us abundant examples of generosity. God is love, we love God, so why is sharing hard for us?
Like meditation or prayer, generosity can be practiced and strengthened. Our ‘muscle’ for generosity is our heart. Jesus famously had no place of his own to lay his head, and we have lots of options for our comfort, so this can be tricky work for us.
How can we practice generosity? First, we can increase our awareness of troubles both near and far. Then we can soften into awareness of our capacity to give while overcoming our fears of being overwhelmed. We can pray that God’s will be our will – God’s heart our heart. When we want to treat ourselves, we can also treat someone else. When we hear of refugees, either in the global north or south, we can send money along with our prayers to organizations that we trust, including our church. In the end, generosity comes down to trust – trust that we won’t be abandoned or left helpless if we share what we have and care about the needs of others. Trust that there is enough for all.
As we head toward Holy Week along with Jesus, let’s really listen to what he says in his last sermons about the flowers of the fields and about abiding in Him. Let’s build our relationship with Jesus and our capacity to trust.
Yours in Christ,
Gwyn, Kat, and Shannon
Easter is coming soon! As we all follow the path of the disciple and move closer to completing our Lenten Journey, I pray that you are feeling the power of the Spirit!
Palm Sunday will be the beginning of the Holy Week of Easter. I remember the times that we prepared for Easter and the commercial as well as the spiritual parts of the journey.
My family would prepare for Easter with dad reading scripture about Jesus coming into Jerusalem on a donkey with people cheering his arrival and laying palm branches down for him. I had a good imagination and could see in my minds’ eye the donkey and the adoration of the followers.
We also participated in the commercial part of Easter. We boiled eggs and had fun dying the eggs, using wax crayons to write on the eggs. We also got new clothes for Easter. I really don’t remember wearing an Easter bonnet though. Chocolate was also part of Easter and enjoyed by all.
Don’t let the commercial part of Easter overshadow your Spirit! Celebrate the Joy of Jesus entering Jerusalem followed by the trial and subsequent crucifixion of Jesus.
Share your sorrow for what happened to Jesus that the disciples and followers of Jesus including his mother witnessed.
Easter morning, the rock is rolled away from the tomb where Jesus body had been laid. The tomb was empty. Excitement, disbelief, joy and the mystery of eternal life in Jesus Christ!
Continue your Lenten Journey toward Easter morning.
This week Lethbridge congregation have sold their building. This will allow the congregation to find their new path and mission. What an exciting time for them! As they move forward on their journey, please be aware that the Lethbridge congregation has the opportunity to fulfill new dreams. Offer a prayer for this congregation that going forward will be an easy and enlightening path.
Yours in Christ,
Gwyn, Kat, and Shannon
Turn to the spirit within you! As we approach Easter, look around your world in wonder and appreciation.
As snow starts to melt, green grass returns, flowers start to sprout, and the world reawakens. I am privileged to be staying on a beef farm. I came to the farm yesterday to new birth! A little calf! Joy, hope and a peaceful feeling came over me. I said a prayer for momma and baby thanking God for being there when I was not…from the very heart of a suffering, sacred world.
Our world is in turmoil. There is a sense of desperation about the war in Ukraine, the next COVID wave in China, news about the increase in racist attacks in Canada and the need to reverse climate change on the planet.
Where do you turn? Do you wonder how all this affects you? Do you wonder what you, as one person, can do to make a difference?
Turn to the spirit within you! Use the tools that you have been taught and the tools we are being given. I have been very appreciative of the Daily Bread Lenten practices that are offered to guide us.
Daily Bread - March 15, 2022
Reads in part...
There IS a vision greater
There IS a Spirit moving
There IS a deeper yearning
That means something real
There IS a God creating
And re-creating still
Who continues to call out
In the caverns of your soul
From the very heart of a
Suffering, sacred world.
Read full reflection and scripture here
We are getting closer to Easter. Our themes from World Church have been our guide. Enter the Wilderness, Count the Stars and Seek the Lord! Isaiah 55:6 “Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near”.
Yours in Christ,
Gwyn, Kat, and Shannon
Registration is open for CWM Adult Lessons
(ongoing, weekly on Sunday evenings)
CWM is pleased to continue offering the adult lessons which were well received in the Winter and Spring 2021.
These classes are intended to create an environment similar to a Sunday morning adult Sunday school class. We have enjoyed diverse participation across Canada West Mission Centre. It is interesting because the materials have been prepared by the church. It is enjoyable because those teaching/facilitating have prepared each session to appeal to participants as much as possible.
All are encouraged to participate, there will be no registration fee but registration through www.cwm.events is required to obtain online link.
Our "Green Session" of e-learning classes and MEADS are open for Canadian enrollment starting on March 2.
The following classes are open for a limited enrollment:
To enroll, go to developmetrics.org and click on the "Canadian Registration Form".
Classes cost $7.50 each, MEADS class cost $30 and should be paid before class via eTransfer to: email@example.com
Should you have any questions, please contact David Lloyd.
Join us for the online follow-up conversation on:
Join us in exploring uncomfortable truths about systemic injustices and issues of conflict connected to climate change. Go deeper, opening yourself to the lessons provided by marginalized communities in touch with creation. Along with ethnic and indigenous leaders, we can unite to find a more hopeful way forward.
All sessions are free and participation in previous webinars and conversations is not necessary to join. If you registered for a past webinar or conversation, you do not need to register again. Once registered, you will be sent a link to join the sessions.
For more information about the series please visit the Climate Change Colloquy website.
Please join us in thanking our friend David Lloyd and sustaining him as he moves into the next phase of his journey with the Community of Christ Seminary at Graceland University. We are sincerely thankful for David’s gift of developing disciples to serve in partnership with Community of Christ in Canada since 2016.
Over the last six years, David has offered online Temple School courses and Ministerial Education and Discipleship Studies (MEADS) courses, both face-to-face and in online formats. Hundreds of disciples in Canada and the US have been blessed by these experiences, especially while classrooms remained closed during the pandemic.
David will now serve as the Director of the newly formed Center for Innovation in Ministry and Mission (CIMM), an adult education, non-credit bearing extension of the Community of Christ Seminary at Graceland University. David will continue to offer the Temple School courses under the auspices of the Seminary instead of Developmetrics.
Zac Harmon-McLaughlin Dean of the Community of Christ Seminary, said, “We are excited to have David join our team in making practical ministry and theological education more accessible and tangible for all people. David brings an incredible skill set with him that will make The Center for Innovation in Ministry and Mission a leader in theological adult education and cutting-edge opportunities for leadership development in ministry and mission.”
Community of Christ First Presidency Member Stassi Cramm said, “Community of Christ is excited about the leadership development and spiritual formation opportunities for disciples that will be made possible through our partnership with the Center for Innovative Ministry and Mission at the Community of Christ Seminary at Graceland University.” Cramm, who also is a member of Graceland’s Board of Trustees, continued, “We look forward to working with David Lloyd as the new director. He has been an innovator in online leadership development training through his work with Community of Christ in Canada.”
The Community of Christ Seminary and Graceland University are lucky to welcome David on their team. We are certain that this will be a true blessing for the future of learning and leadership development in our church.
Blessings, David, and our sincere thanks for the ministry you have provided. Thank you as well for the service you will continue to share going forward with the seminary.
Living Buddha, Living Christ: Remembering Thich Nhat Hanh (1926-2022) by Vickie MacArthur
“With a deep mindful breath, we announce the passing of our beloved teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, at Tu Hieu Temple in Hue, Vietnam on 22nd January, 2022 at the age of 95.”
As I read these words through a blur of tears, memories of being with this dear Buddhist teacher on retreat at his monastery in southern France come flooding back: the slow, measured way he entered the meditation hall, as if imprinting peace with every step, the way his delicate hands cradled his cup of tea before savoring a long slow sip, the way his dazzling smile could light up every person in the room, the graceful arc of his arm as he drew it back before inviting the sound of the meditation bell to awaken our hearts and minds, the peaceful countenance of a Zen master deep in meditation, the child-like wonder as he gazed at the first lotus blossom of the season, the playful glint in his eyes as he invited the children to come forward, and finally, the way he would stop and look at you in the middle of a dharma talk, his wise words seemingly speaking to the deepest questions of your heart.
Since his passing, there has been a huge outpouring of both grief and gratitude around the world for this peaceful and courageous Buddhist monk. A true bodhisattva, his teachings on mindfulness, along with his life of compassionate action, have touched millions. Born in Vietnam in 1926, he lived an inspiring life of both contemplation and service: entering the monastery as a novice monk at the tender age of sixteen, choosing to leave the safety of the monastery to help rebuild bombed-out villages during the Vietnam war, traveling to the United States to advocate for the end of that war, with the help of Dr. Martin Luther King, then being exiled from his homeland when he tried to return. Eventually settling in France, Thich Nhat Hanh continued to advocate for peace and eventually built a thriving monastery near Bourdeaux, ordaining hundreds of monks, nuns, and dharma teachers who continue to teach and offer retreats all over the world. (Read more at www.plumvillage.org.)
Although Thich Nhat Hanh has been described as an artist, a poet, a mystic, a scholar, and activist, it is his loving and compassionate presence that has touched me to the core. Looking into Thay’s eyes was like looking into a mirror that was a pure reflection of love. It felt like looking into the eyes of the “Living Buddha, Living Christ.” Thay’s book of the same name connects Buddhism and Christianity; his legacy ensures that millions now also see the deep connections between these two great traditions.
Watch for Vickie’s upcoming spiritual memoir, A Lotus On Fire: How a Buddhist Monk Ignited the Love in My Heart
Yours in Christ,
Gwyn, Kat, and Shannon
Join us Saturday, March 19 with a worship service on Sunday, March 20 for "We are One, We are Many", an online women's retreat with Jeannine Ward.
Time Zones: 9am Pacific / 10am Mountain (SK) / 11am Central
Registration Fee: $20
Register at www.cwm.events or click on the button above.
Should you have any questions, please contact Lisa Neudorf firstname.lastname@example.org
We are in the second week of Lent. As I think about Jesus spending 40 days in the wilderness fasting and praying, I feel the need for prayer myself. In this world today, the need for prayer and the desire for peace are so prevalent. How can we make a difference in the situation that is so close through the media and yet so far away? Prayer for peace and understanding can make a difference. Reach out in comfort to anyone you know who needs it. Just listening and offering prayer can help ease someone’s stress about a situation to far away physically.
I want to offer the information below for your consideration.
The following eLearning classes are open for a limited enrollment:
Temple School Classes cost $7.50 each. To enroll, go to developmetrics.org and click on the "Canadian Registration Form."
MEADS class costs $30 and should be paid before class via check to: Canada East Mission Centre, c/o Melissa Freer, 355 Elmira Road North, Unit 129, Guelph, ON N1K 1S5
Have you ever taken a course through Developmetrics? The courses are all online. Learning is something that we all do every day when we watch something new to us or read something new or try something new. Why not take an introduction to Scripture to just open up your mind? Maybe take the Children and Youth Workers Core Training even though you may have raised your family and / or taken something like it before? We can always use help with our children and youth and this course will make helping easier to step up and assist. What's the next step on your discipleship path?
Yours in Christ,
Gwyn, Kat, and Shannon
After nearly 24 years of service to World Accord - its people and partners - David Barth is retiring as the organization's Executive Director. Please join us in celebrating his life's work on Saturday, March 12th at 5pm PST, 6pm MST, 7pm CST, 8pm EST via Zoom.
After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing a link to join the session. To register click on the button below. See you there!
Any questions? Please email email@example.com
Community of Christ members in Ukraine struggle as the war continues. The church has about 140 members in Ukraine. Apostle Richard James works to keep in touch with members as fighting continues, but communication is difficult.
He said in late February that a member and his wife who live in Kyiv were “doing ok” but fearful about what was happening in their nation. Another member and her family in Kyiv were spending their nights in her basement, attempting to avoid shelling. “She is very frightened,” James said.
These individuals and others mentioned here, whose names were withheld for security reasons, appreciated very much the prayers and concerns of the church, James said. Across the border in Russia, former church staff also expressed appreciation for messages of support received from the church.
As fighting in Ukraine escalated, at least one church member family left Odessa and is in the Republic of Moldova. Other members are safe in Spain and Russia. Yet two other families are still in the Donbass region, the Russia-affiliated area, and are not threatened by shelling.
Not many houses in Kyiv have basements and the only bomb shelter available nearby is the subway, a church member explained to James. “We are not able to reach [the subway] during air raids, so the only alternative is to stay in the apartment, sitting with our backs against weight-bearing wall in the hallway.”
James said that until the recent invasion, congregations in Odessa and Kyiv had continued to meet. Outside Kyiv, congregations in Donetsk, Gorlovka, and Yasynuvata have endeavored in recent months to meet, but this area is held by rebels aligned with the Russian government and gathering isn’t always safe. Members attempt to keep in touch by phone.
Church leaders in Germany will meet in coming days to determine how best to help Ukrainian refugees who likely will settle in Europe.
Steve Graffeo, counselor to the presiding bishop, announced that $20,000 USD in oblation aid will be donated to four organizations with the ability to get aid to areas affected by the conflict. Your ongoing generosity to the Worldwide Mission Tithes makes this possible.
Each of these organization will receive $5,000 from Community of Christ:
May our prayers for peace continue to shape and inspire our actions.
This is the first week of Lent. I had pancakes this morning to celebrate Shrove Tuesday. Shrove Tuesday is observed by many Christians who "make a special point of self-examination, of considering what wrongs they need to repent, and what amendments of life or areas of spiritual growth they especially need to ask God's help in dealing with.”
Lent – the 40 days leading up to Easter – was traditionally a time of fasting and on Shrove Tuesday, Christians went to confession and were “shriven” (absolved from their sins). A bell would be rung to call people to confession. This came to be called the “Pancake Bell” and is still rung today. Shrove Tuesday was the last opportunity to use up eggs and fats before embarking on the Lenten fast and pancakes are the perfect way of using up these ingredients.
What are you giving up for Lent? As Shannon explained last week, she does not use the snooze button on her alarm clock. She uses that time in meditation.
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday which is March 2, 2022. Ash Wednesday marks the official beginning of this 40-day period of abstinence. Click here to read "Blessing the Dust for Ash Wednesday" by Jan Richardson.
Though not every person observes Ash Wednesday in the same way, Ash Wednesday is the time when you may finally decide on what you want to give up for Lent, or perhaps it's an opportunity to spend a quiet moment on some Easter prayers. Maybe it is not GIVING something up but ADDING a new practice. With the world climate issues, pending war in Russia and Ukraine, continuing health concerns and the opportunity to “get back to the old way of life”, you can add something for 40 days.
There are two ways that you can join other Community of Christ friends and members on a Lent journey this year:
Gwyn, Kat, and Shannon
Writing into the Sacred: Speaking to Light - A Nurturing Spirit Online Retreat
Special Guest: Author Susan Scott
When: March 4-6, 2022
Cost: $25 per person. Click on the button above to register and see schedule!
We have bittersweet news to share with you all. Our Gathering Ministries champion Lisa Neudorf will be leaving her position with the Canada West Mission Centre effective February 28th.
We will let Lisa share in her own words why this was the right time for her to leave, but first we wanted to convey our deep appreciation for Lisa’s service to the mission centre these many years. Lisa has set the bar high for our gatherings in Canada West, and we want to assure you that as your Mission Centre Co-Presidents, we are committed to ensuring those programs continue at that high level.
Think about when you have seen Lisa in action at camps, reunions, and conferences, and how she always has that item you wouldn’t have thought to pack, or the words to encourage you to try something new. As we’ve navigated the Covid-19 pandemic in past two years, Lisa has had to come up with new and creative ways for us to come together virtually when we couldn’t be together in person, culminating in her realization that her work was not limited to camps and retreats but could be better named “Gathering Ministries” to encompass all the ways we gather as Community of Christ in Canada West.
It likely goes without saying that Lisa will be missed and is irreplaceable. As we continue to discern the path forward for Community of Christ in Canada with All Voices and our own work here in Canada West, we will not necessarily be immediately filling her position. We welcome your thoughts and reflections on how to best continue our commitments to Gathering Ministries in Canada West.
To explain why this was the right time for Lisa to move to something new, we’ve asked her to share a few words:
Please join us in thanking Lisa for all her hard work, service and contributions to the Canada West Mission Centre. Also join us in wishing her nothing but the best in the future.
Thank you so much Lisa and God bless you!
Gwyn, Kat, and Shannon
This week we offer this column to Debra Donohue, Creating Connection Director for Canada West Mission, who brings us some exciting news!
"Creating Connection One Person at a Time"
Written by Debra Donohue
Creating Connection Director Canada West
1-877-411-2632 ext. 4
I want to share some news with you that I am very excited about. My role as Creating Connection Director for Western Canada will be changing a little.
Before I became the Creating Connection Director, I was the Congregational Outreach Specialist for BC. Now I have been given the opportunity to take the best of what I learned as Congregational Outreach Specialist, and the best of what I learned as Creating Connection Director, to embark on a new vision of Creating Connection.
I hope to become a bridge between Community of Christ and your local communities. I know that many of you already have wonderful relationships with your communities. It’s my hope to build on those relationships through the resources and advertising we can do through meetup.com and other platforms. Rather than create new projects and extra work, I want to take the good work you are already doing and promote it, ask for volunteers from the community, and ultimately introduce like minded people in your communities to you in a way that is comfortable for you both. Of course, I would love to help you with your new ideas too.
I’ll be communicating with the Pastors, Pastorate and Leaders in your areas to find out where I can be the most help and I ideally, we’ll have a group from each congregation that may or may not include the pastor to figure out what areas I can assist with. Please let me, or your leadership team, know if you would like to be part of an informative zoom call. For you to gather information from me, and for me to gather information from you.
In Creating Connection we’ve had great success advertising on Meetup.com, Facebook and Eventbrite. Through meetup, we can really pinpoint our message to people in your local areas. I’ll give you some examples of activities I’m thinking about.
Does your congregation or group do a Peace Walk, or a River Cleanup, or a day at the Food Bank, or provide Christmas gifts to a charity or neighbours? Do you have an online activity like prayer shawl knitting, or a conversation group you could invite people to join? Do you hold a workday at your church building or campground where we could invite others in the community to volunteer? I can help connect you with like minded people in your community who want to be part of something meaningful. They may not realize yet who we are in Community of Christ, and how similar our feelings are towards inclusivity, peace and justice, environmental causes, and supporting community.
I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas. Please reach out me by phone or email or connect with your pastor. To learn more about Creating Connection events visit the Creating Connection Meetup Event Page!
Yours in Christ,
Gwyn, Kat, and Shannon
SPECTACULAR 2022 UPDATE for families of youth in Canada West Mission who are eligible to attend SPEC
It was recently announced SPECTACULAR will return as an in person event from July 16-23, 2022 at Lamoni, Iowa. Any youth who have finished grades 9 through 12 are eligible to attend.
We are interested in hearing your feedback and feelings about Canadian youth attending SPEC. If your household has youth who are eligible to attend SPEC (finished grade 9 through 12 by the end of June 2022), please click on the buttons below to read the document and complete the feedback survey by March 1. This will help us in our planning and decision-making process.
We are asking for responses from all families whether or not your child is planning to attend. We will keep you updated as we move along in this decision-making process and anticipate a final decision if Team Canada will attend SPEC will be made by the end of April.
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