I experienced the feeling that many Community of Christ members describe upon arriving in a new congregation. Some describe it as a sense of belonging, or an instant family connection, or even as if they’d been there before. I like to describe it as the way the world should be. Roaming the world is hard enough alone, but knowing that you can walk through the doors of our church’s buildings in a foreign city/country and be immediately welcomed is invaluable. Before I knew it, I was enveloped by seemingly familiar people – laughing, talking, and sharing around food (my favourite). It was only the next day that I realized I never even knew their names…we just knew one another.
Has this ever happened to you in Community of Christ? In all my travels, I’ve never encountered another community like this one…and I, for one, am incredibly grateful to be a part of it.
This has happened to me in countries around the globe, in neighbouring cities, and in this case, a neighbouring province. I walked through the door and familiar iconography greeted me: the church sign out front sparked an immediate sense of calm, the smell was homey, and the faces oddly familiar.
Only my second Canada West Mission (CWM) Conference, I was blown away by the diversity of the congregational representatives (delegates) in attendance. We had members from Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia, as well as church leaders from Ontario and Independence, Missouri, USA. What stood out to me this year was the music…it was electrifying! The Vancouver congregation is known for its musical abilities, and now having visited personally, I can attest to this!
I spent a great deal of time with young adults from the area throughout the weekend – sharing meals together on-site, visiting the nearby Richmond Night Market, and singing and voting alongside them in the sanctuary during legislative sessions and services. As usual, I was impressed by their decorum, their interest in the process, and the energy and gifts they bring to this diverse community.
Jan Kraybill was our guest minister and she shared her wonderful musical skill with us throughout the weekend and during a one-day workshop on how to incorporate music into worship.
I hope to see you at our next Canada West Mission Centre Conference in Regina, Saskatchewan!
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.