How can anyone explain the wonder, value and experience of conference? Each person was present because they wanted to be. My heart was lifted by the presence of believers from various countries wanting to let us know how grateful they were to be there. I am grateful I was present and thankful to the many who looked after me. I felt the body was in tune with the Presidency, Bishopric, and Apostles. One of the just-retired apostles and his wife sat right in front of us, and I was so touched that they still filled their role – they just changed seats.
The meeting of special friends continued throughout the week. The Bishopric brought ministry to the people and let us know how valuable we are as people. The offering was generous, and I believe people felt the grace that attended the service.
I am an Evangelist and was blessed in conversations with my brothers and sisters. I feel overwhelmed when I think about the service in the Temple with our brother Bunda Chibwe leading the choir and the people. President Murphy led the service and all were moved by the dynamics of his words.
Our own Dar Shepherdson spoke eloquently and with great passion and sincerity. Several times I was moved to pray for different people and did so. I received so much, and I am so grateful for our leadership in our area and at headquarters. We truly are blessed to have those in the Bishopric to show us the way.
I had a further blessing in being able to stay with Everett and Judy Graffeo. Thank you, each one who helped to plan this life changing experience.
In the faith.
When I got to the Community of Christ Temple and Auditorium in Independence, Missouri, I began to wonder if I would get there for another conference due to my age. I have been to many in the past, so for me it felt like home in the buildings and with the people. The dedication of the busy organizers and volunteers was evident throughout the week. I attended all the business sessions and witnessed the ordinations of two new apostles and a bishop. You can find information about the resolutions on the Community of Christ World Church website.
All resolutions were handled with wisdom and thoughtfulness. The last sermon by President Veazey sent us forward with the counsel to dig deeper into our faith and be diligent for the journey ahead.
There was loving respect and a kind collegial atmosphere in the conference as a whole and in the international meetings of the Seventy. Our Seventy quorum #8 met a few times with all the international Seventies outside the USA for a few meetings. A few days later our quorum #8 broke off and went into a smaller room for several early mornings. We had interpreters in English, French, German, and Spanish.
We shared our perspectives and trials. We saw old friends again and together shared the challenges of our calling to be witnesses and forerunners of Christ’s peace. At our last session, I was one of those honored to pray in my language for a blessing for the journey and burdens of those in my quorum from Canada, Mexico/USA border area. Delegates from Dominican Republic, Haiti, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and other parts of South America then prayed for all of us in their own language. This was a highlight for me, for I felt a strong love among us and a deep awareness of our “unity in diversity.” I knew during the prayers we were truly like brothers and sisters.
I looked up into the Auditorium ceiling of beautiful star lights during the familiar hymn “The Spirit of God Like a Fire Is Burning.” The sound of the robust singing with the fantastic sounds of the pipe organ was beautiful. I stood beside a childhood friend from my home congregation in Ontario as he sang with his full tenor part to my soprano. We knew the words by heart and confessed later that this church and all it stands for is in our DNA. This faith movement claims our identity and heritage with a strong sense of total loyalty and commitment.
Community of Christ has evolved from its past in a good way, and the message and growth of understanding as to our mission is clearer to me than ever before.
I had tears as I left the parking lot to leave for maybe the last time. The love, dedication, and friendship of the people will sit in my heart forever.
Calgary Spark is a collection of stories told by members and friends of the church alike. Each person's story is helping to shape our community in new ways.