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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Hot Tub!

From Barb Kernohan

You never know what can happen when you invite someone to church.
Last December, Gail was invited to come to church by Pam and this time she came.
Gail continued to come and she wanted to learn more about the church. This church was quite different from the church she grew up in.
We were introduced to each other and our friendship began as I gave her many resources to read based on her questions.  She devoured everything I gave her and I tried to answer her questions to the best of my abilities.
We met at different places including Tim Horton’s and then as she grew in her knowledge she decided we needed another place to share, so off to Pakenham and Almonte to share and enjoy the waterfalls.
The trip to Perth was another opportunity to discuss baptism once again.  Two of the questions that came up asked where and when, and I offered some different options including the hot tub at the Women’s Retreat, as we would both be participating.
As I was journaling during the week, the words “Let the Spirit breathe” came to me.  If anyone knows me I am not the most patient person in the world.
At the Women’s Retreat in Lanark, I spoke to the owner Jeannette about baptism as she was filling the Hot Tub and learned it had been used for that purpose before.
During the movie on Saturday evening I felt I should go to the Hot Tub and there were three ladies in it.  The water was not too hot and definitely not too cold. 
I spoke to Pam our co-pastor as she would be doing the baptism as I have had some problems with my arm and shoulder.  After speaking with Gail and sharing the possibility of her baptism, it was decided that it would take place after the retreat was over.
After lunch, many of the ladies stayed to be a part of the baptismal service.  They formed a circle of love around the Hot Tub.  Prayer was offered, the story about Jesus baptism was shared and a solo was sung by Christine.  We then joined in singing “Come to the Water”.  Great joy and love filled the air, as Gail was baptized by Pam Mooney.
I urge everyone to invite someone to church.  You just never know what lies ahead.


Monday, June 11, 2012


In a few days, our community will meet in the first ever Canadian National Conference.  For many years in Canada we have been talking about GBLT issues.  In response to the guidance in Doctrine and Covenants 164, serious, deliberate, planned dialogue on the matter began in 2011 in preparation for the coming conference.  Now we come together to measure our level of consensus on the matter. 

The conference will seek to measure the level of support on two questions. 
  • What is your level of support for a change in policy to allow Priesthood of Community of Christ to perform the sacrament of marriage for same-sex couples in Canada?
  • What is your level of support for a change in policy to allow for the sacrament of ordination of individuals in a same sex marriage in Canada?
From my viewpoint, here is where we are. 

Currently, same-sex  couples in Canada have the right to be married, and have equal rights under Canadian law with heterosexual couples, however Community of Christ Priesthood have never been given the right to perform their weddings.  Question one above asks if we support giving ministers who would like to do so that right.  That is all.

Presently, persons of homosexual orientation can and do serve in Community of Christ priesthood.  I personally know both men and women who serve the church with love and distinction as single, gay or lesbian men and women. These are women and men who are humble, gentle, gracious people who love God and have devoted their lives to serving the church.  People love them and their ministry appears to be very well received.  Were they to marry, however, they would need to resign from priesthood and their ministry.  Question two above asks if we are ready to change that.  In my view, that is all.

In recent days there have been a number of emails, some from people I deeply love and respect, making their way around the airwaves expressing some level of anxiousness.  Some of these have taken an “us and them” tone, which I find disappointing.  This is not about us against them, we against they, conservative against liberal,  rural against urban, young against old, or anyone against anybody.  This is about our community prayerfully and faithfully seeking to discern how to best be the presence of Jesus for our day and time.  We meet together as fellow disciples of the Prince of Peace and God of Love.  No matter whether the conference recommends a change or not, our feelings of love and respect for each other must not change.  We may and do think differently.  We may not all agree in our understanding of what God is doing in the church or in the world, but we must and do agree on the fundamental statement of Jesus about what matters most; to love God and love our neighbour as we love ourselves. 

So lets not have any more “us and them” talk.  There is no us and them.  There is only us.

Posted by Carman 

Friday, June 8, 2012


In just over a week, our community will gather at fifteen different sites for the first ever Canadian National Conference.  Word about this event is spreading, and interest seems to be growing.  I have personally been contacted by church members who are not regular church participants and probably haven’t been to church in years, but who want to be part of the conference.  Interesting!

For those who have contacted me, the questions they ask include the following.
  • My membership is in XX congregation but I now live in YY.  Can I attend the conference there? 
  • Is my baptism enough to have allow me to register?  
In both cases, the answer is a resounding YES!

The interest on the part of members who have been baptized but who have not participated in the community for years has me thinking.  Oh, I’m not speculating about where they are likely to be on conference issues or how they are likely to vote; that is not what concerns me at all.  What I am wondering about is, what are the feelings such persons are likely to experience: nervousness or slight anxiousness?  Fear?  Will anyone remember them?  Will they know anyone there?  Will they be  made to feel uncomfortable or will they feel right at home?

Here is the point: some people are planning to come and participate in our community who have not done so in years!  How shall we welcome them?  Will we ignore them because we don't know who they are?  Will we treat them like some stranger in our midst?  Or will help them feel as welcome as the flowers of spring?  Like the wonderful father demonstrated in Jesus famous parable about the prodigal son, lets be deliberate about choosing the latter.

The following are a few suggestions to help us with this process.  The suggestions are good for any congregation on any day, but especially for National Conference host sites.
  •  Find a half dozen of the most friendly, caring, sensitive, outreaching, non-intrusive people we have, and ask them to be greeters.
  • Put one or two of these precious greeters in the parking lot, and keep them there until 10 or 15 minutes after the conference has begun.  Their job is to communicate welcome, help people know where to park, and answer any questions; that’s all.  Oh, and if its raining, they might also offer an umbrella.
  • Put at least two greeters at the front door.  Their task is to smile, communicate welcome and show people where to go to register.  After people have registered, the greeters can make sure they have the appropriate conference material and help direct them to the meeting room.
  • Put one or two greeters in the meeting room itself.  Their task is to usher, including to smile, communicate welcome, help people find a seat and feel comfortable.

Of course there are other things that can help, like signs showing where washrooms are located, a clean, well staffed and stocked nursery, etc, but perhaps those are subjects for another day.  For now, lets just concentrate on communicating to members who may come, “Welcome home!”

Posted by Carman

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


I have watched with some interest the celebrations of the Queen’s jubilee marking 60 years on the throne of Britain and the Commonwealth.  In the moments I have been able to observe the festivities on television, it has been wonderful to see people celebrating together in the streets and forming immediate community with others who have come to stand in the rain if necessary, watch for a glimpse of her Majesty, and cheer their hearts out.  The fact that CBC has provided hours of uninterrupted coverage of this event has been blessed relief from the usual bad and gloomy news that is the normal diet served up by our news broadcasters. 

Even more gratifying was to listen to the sermon of thanksgiving presented by the Archbishop of Canterbury on Tuesday morning, EDT.  It was lovely to hear him define what it means to be dedicated, and to describe the Queen’s 60 years of service in exactly those terms.  It was lovely.  His quoting of St. Paul, and his description of the Queen's generous service is inspiring, and causes one to look at the depth of our one's dedication, and that to which we are dedicated.  The Archbishop invites us to exactly this kind of reflection as he ends his tribute with the following words.

Dedication to the health and well-being of a community is all this and more. May we be given the grace to rediscover this as we give thanks today for Her Majesty's sixty years of utterly demanding yet deeply joyful service.

You can read the full text of  his remarks here if you wish.  I highly recommend it.

Posted by Carman

Monday, June 4, 2012


On June 2, 2012, the Australia National Conference met to consider a question that is also of interest to the Community of Christ in Canada.  The following statement was released following the conference.
Re-posted By Carman
Australia National Conference Recommends Policy Change
First Presidency and Council of Twelve Will Have to Approve before Implementation
The Australia National Conference was held June 2. After years of study, dialogue, and prayer, church members gathered at the Drummoyne Congregation in Sydney to address one topic: whether ordination should be open to people who are in long-term, committed, same-sex relationships.
After hearing multiple perspectives, including views from international representatives, the Australia National Conference, by more than the required two-thirds majority, made the following recommendation to the First Presidency and the Council of Twelve Apostles:
We support the ordination of individuals who are called by God through the processes established by Community of Christ, who are in long-term, committed, homosexual relationships, i.e. de facto relationships (this is a legally recognized relationship status in Australia for same-sex and opposite-sex couples), and recommend that the First Presidency and the Council of Twelve Apostles proceed to prepare and implement policy allowing these calls to be considered, and, if approved, for ordinations to proceed within the Australia Mission Centre.
The First Presidency and the Council of Twelve will need to approve the policy revision recommended by the Australia National Conference. To develop, approve, and implement interim policies can take up to one year. Any policy change will pertain only to the Australia Mission Centre. Other nations will continue to abide by existing church policies.
The movement of the Holy Spirit affirmed that this recommendation is appropriate for church members in Australia at this time. As a worldwide church, our members strive for unity and understanding in the midst of diverse opinions and feelings as we pursue our mission to proclaim Jesus Christ and promote communities of joy, hope, love, and peace. 
Community of Christ is an international church with nearly a quarter million members in about 50 nations of the world. There are about 2,900 members in Australia. While we are united around the world in Christ’s mission, because of our broad expanse of cultures some issues must be addressed in national conferences. (See Doctrine and Covenants 164:7.)
Our Enduring Principles guide national conference interactions. These gatherings offer opportunities to experience the Blessings of Community as we explore how to uphold the Worth of All Persons, respond to the understanding that All Are Called, and celebrate Unity in Diversity.

Friday, June 1, 2012

This weekend is Skills and Leadership weekend at Ziontario.  Skills and Leadership is, above all else, a training retreat for everyone who will be on staff for the various reunions and camps planned for this summer at our four campgrounds in Canada East Mission. Directors, Business Managers, counselors, leaders in training, cooks, nurses, camp pastors and others will gather to learn what the Camping Commission has been working on for the past several months, and to improve our level of readiness.

And they have been working.  I do not know all the things the Camping Commission has in store for us, but I know some of it.  How do we keep our campers safe in the event of a natural disaster?  Do our camp ground boards have plans in place?  Do the directors and staff know what those plans are?  Do we know what to do if an intruder (human or animal) comes on the grounds?  Where do we go if there is a tornado?  What should be the camp policy on the use of cameras and smart phones or other electronic devices?  Given both the risks and blessings of social media so instantly accessed from a smart phone these days, how do we keep campers safe without dampening their fun?  And that is just scratching the surface!

But the weekend is intended to be for more than just camp staff.  Perhaps the name says it best, Skills and Leadership.  The weekend is intended to impart skills to anyone who wants to improve their leadership, whether at camp, in a congregation, or wherever you work and serve.  It offers skills training and leadership tools to anyone who comes, for free!  It is the best deal going, and one that is not nearly enough appreciated.

As I sit down to pen these words, long awaited and much needed rain is pelting against my study window.  Oh-oh!  How many people will see the rain and decide not to go?  I check the forecast.  100% chance of rain today (Friday), but only a 40% chance of showers tomorrow (Saturday).  Whew!  Of course the rain is really not a big deal, is it?  After all, Skills and Leadership classes are held inside nice, warm, dry buildings.  Picture yourself hanging out with friends around a nice warm fire burning cheerfully in that lovely, stone fireplace!  Still, humans are humans and some will be tempted to take the easy way out.  If they do, they will miss a great opportunity to learn skills and strengthen their leadership.

How about you; will you be there?  Even if you don't receive this post until Saturday, you can still come.  Rain or shine, I guarantee you will learn something.  What is more, you get to hang out with some great people, eat great food, and have a good time.  Skills and Leadership; what a deal!

Posted by Carman