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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?"

Friday, May 31, 2013

A place of Support and Healing

This is the second in a series of articles written by a number of Community of Christ Evangelists in Canada East Mission.  We are pleased to offer the stories of these highly respected ministers for your reading.  It is our hope that their stories of faith will bring a blessing to your life.  This post is from Evangelist Carole Heathers of Stratford, Ontario.


For ten years I spent a week at camp with a group of people oppressed by society and the stigma of HIV/AIDS. I knew of the oppression and stigma firsthand as our son struggled with whom he could trust to share his status. He lost his battle with AIDS in 2000.
The camp was sponsored by another denomination and was the only AIDS camp that included all people. The campers were a diverse group, adults, children, gay, straight, different nationalities, different abilities, different religions…so many differences but the one thing they had in common was that HIV/AIDS had touched their lives. In spite of the many differences they accepted each other with open arms. Camp is a safe place for everyone, often the only place where they could be themselves and feel safe enough to speak freely. When I stepped on the grounds each year I had the feeling that it was sacred space where all were safe and accepted…it reminded me of how I envision Zion.  Some campers had never been able to share their status for fear of being ostracized, even persecuted. As the week goes on you can see a weight lifted from their shoulders… a wonderful blessing…a blessing of acceptance and support.
Each day I led a Guided Meditation elective to bring healing. To those who took part it built a bond of trust between them.  On one occasion I was able to offer to a very sick camper the sacrament of the laying on of hands. My heart ached for the campers as they shared their stores of abuse and cruelty. That pain was doubled when their own family turned their back on them.
I remember the year a young man drove onto the campgrounds. It only took a look into his eyes to see his pain and fear. He had been encouraged to come to camp but as he stepped on the grounds it was obvious he was ready to run. I approached him, introduced myself and did my best to help him feel at home. It was a struggle to keep him at camp but I encouraged him each day to stay for another night and see how he felt. I asked him to come to the meditation group I was leading. After the rest of the group left for other activities he stayed and talked and cried as he shared the pain in his heart. He found out he was HIV positive just a few weeks before he came to camp; his parents distanced themselves from him. He was alone, scared of what the future would bring. He was depressed, nervous and had no one he trusted enough to share this burden with. In the quiet of our meditation room I had the privilege of listening to his story and offering him words of encouragement and hope.
At first he stayed by my side, ate every meal with me not really engaging with the other campers.  After a few days he began to look beyond his fear and see the many campers who are living with HIV/AIDS and living fully.  The day he said to me, “Do you mind if I eat my lunch with the guys from my dorm” I knew he had found a support system of friends who would stand by him without judgment.
God blessed me with a deep compassion for the difficult journey these extraordinary men and woman were walking. They have forever touched my life.

Carole Heathers

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Freedom from Oppression

Wiarton Community of Christ
Today we begin a short series of articles written by a number of Community of Christ Evangelists in Canada East Mission.  We are pleased to offer the stories of these highly respected ministers for your reading.  It is our hope that their stories of faith will bring a blessing to your life.  Our first article is from Evangelist Alma Leeder of Wiarton, Ontario.


“You who are my disciples must be found continuing in the forefront of those organizations and movements which are recognizing the worth of persons and are committed to bringing the ministry of my Son to bear on their lives.” D&C 151:9

This counsel given in 1974 reassured me that any service or effort expanded on behalf of individuals or groups experiencing hindrances to their well-being, was worthy of my support –even required. In 1951, at the age of 21 and still single, I was invited to become a Rotarian. I soon discovered that the Rotary motto “Service Above Self” would lead me into activity beyond club boundaries, in less formal circles, and church-related projects. One example occurred when a few friends decided to raise funds to send a buddy to a U.S. clinic to try to reverse his MS condition. In the end, it was not successful and we lost him, but we knew that no stone was left unturned in the attempt.

Before government health care was the norm in Canada, service clubs had to raise money for corrective surgeries. I recall going with a senior club member to visit a family. This member had been the mayor of the town, and had to use all his political talents to persuade the family to have corrective surgery to the son’s Achilles tendon to allow his heel to touch the floor when he walked or ran. It was done.

In 1964, two Rotarians spearheaded a plan to provide a place of learning for the community’s mentally retarded children and youth. Our Wiarton congregation provided the venue by sprucing up the church basement. From a small start-up budget and an initial enrollment of ten individuals,
the program has expanded geographically to service over a hundred clients with an annul budget of $1,250,000. Of greater significance, the organization has a new name- “Community Living”-to better reflect its mission.

Oppression is any condition which prevents individuals or groups from reaching a lifestyle free from the ravages of hunger, disease, and all forms of hopelessness. World-wide, polio is 98% eradicated-sometimes at cost of brave souls who go to hostile countries to administer the vaccine. But many of the needs are close to home; here on the Bruce Peninsula, it is a daunting task to supply the food banks and provide resources for home heating during cold winters.

I am grateful that as a church, we can link arms with other faith groups and anyone with an idea to bring wholeness to the lives of others. My father, a World War I soldier, always spoke highly of the kindness he received from the Salvation Army overseas. Our congregation supports their efforts to alleviate distress in our community, and we do it gladly. The late Elbert A. Smith once told our people that the Lord has many forces at work for good in the world, of which we are not aware. I believe it!

Alma J.V. Leeder

Thursday, May 2, 2013


Beloved Community of Christ, do not just speak and sing of Zion. Live, love and share as Zion: those who strive to be visibly one in Christ, among whom there are no poor or oppressed.
(Words of Counsel Presented at the 2013 World Conference)

Yesterday I met with Tim Stanlick, our Canada East Mission President.  We talked about a variety of situations in various cities, towns and areas where Community of Christ has congregations or opportunities: Blenheim, London, Toronto, Barrie, the Maritime provinces, the list goes on and on.  It occurs to me that the common denominator in every case is the need for workers.  As I reflect on that conversation this morning, a variety of scriptures come to mind, among which are the following. 

The call is for WORKERS in the cause of Zion; therefore, neither tarry, nor doubt that I am.  (Doctrine and Covenants 155:8)

The field is white already to harvest, wherefore, thrust in your sickle, and reap with all your might, mind, and strength.
(This call for workers actually occurs eight times in the Doctrine and Covenants: sections 4:1c, 6:2a, 10:2a, 11:2a, 12:2a, 32:1d, 32:2c, 122:71)

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?
(Isaiah 6:8a)

With that in mind, and the needs of the church pressing firmly upon us, I would like to place the following ad.

Must be a disciple of Jesus and willing to pray, visit, listen, work and invite.  This is an outside position that requires successful applicants to be outside the walls of church and home to meet people where they are.  Must be willing to work in teams for no pay and great rewards.  On the job training provided.  No previous experience required.