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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, December 11, 2015

“A Blue Christmas”

    It’s Christmas!  I dash into yet another store and weave my way through the
busy shoppers filling the narrow aisle.  One shopper, however, catches my attention.
I pause as she holds in front of her, several sprigs of gold leaves and berries. Those look beautiful, I tell her.  Casting a glance my way, she says,  “Thank you, I’m getting them for the cemetery”. 
    I spend only this brief moment with her before I resume my quickened step to the back of the store.  A few minutes later and we find ourselves standing in line together at the check out counter.  The woman has added other gold ornaments to accentuate the decorative vines she has chosen.  It seems important to her that the Christmas accents be just right!  Still questioning herself, she asks my opinion on her decision.  Again, I assure her that her selection is quite beautiful. 
    “Your taking them to the cemetery?”  I ask.  “Yes,  she says, “I was there before church and I will go back this afternoon”.    
    The woman is about my age, perhaps a few years younger.  She speaks with a European accent which I cannot identify.  Looking into her face now, I say,   “This visit must be for someone who was very special to you”.  Her eyes cloud over slightly but with a gentle smile of remembrance and reflection, she responds, “Yes, my husband and my son are buried side by side”. 
    I offer my condolences. I speak a few simple, yet sincere words of sympathy for her loss.  She seems grateful for our brief time together. As I turn to leave, I hear her voice behind me saying, “I want to wish you a very nice day.” 
    As I reflect upon this encounter, I am in awe once again of how the spirit of the divine catches our attention and unites us even as strangers in the market places of our lives.  I am reminded of how the gracious spirit of a loving and compassionate God opens doors and gently leads us to to bring a ministry of presence where ever needed.
    I think about the many people that I know who are grieving the loss of loved ones at this time of the year and for whom this will be a “Blue Christmas”.  I hope they will “find comfort in the voice of a friend, the flicker of a beautiful memory or the words of a song that are meant just for them”.(Hallmark)  May the awareness of God’s tender touch upon their hearts bless them with comfort and peace this Christmas.

With Caring,
Ruth Black,

Friday, November 27, 2015

“The Joy of Giving!”

               What Joy!   I see it on their faces.  I hear it in their voices.  I feel their excitement as they speak of how their lives have been blessed through their efforts to bring joy and hope to others in the community.
    A ten year old boy, in this 4th Annual ‘Toy Drive’,  has collected another 500 toys this year. These toys, distributed through Anselma House, will bring joy and hope to less fortunate children in Waterloo Region throughout the year.  His eight year old sister, in her second Annual ‘Towel Drive’, collected 80 towels this year for a Women’s Crisis Center.  The selfless commitment of these children is an inspiration to many in the church and community. 
    The congregation’s Young Peace Makers have made their annual visit to a Retirement Home.  There is great joy throughout the room as the 5-9 year olds interact with the elderly.  The elderly residents seldom see children, so the singing, snacks, jokes, gentle beating of drums and the gift of a child’s simple handmade craft bring deep pleasure to the residents. The children are a blessing of joy to the YPC leaders and to the Retirement Home residents.
    Volunteers from the congregation arise very early on Wednesday mornings to assist with a ‘School Snack Program’. This simple gift of time helps to bring the nourishment for learning required by some 25-30 students each day. There is joy in working together to support this community endeavor of expressing love & compassion for children in the neighborhood. 
    In September the congregation began to bring their generous donations of toys, toiletries, school supplies and clothing items to fill shoe boxes for ‘Operation Christmas Child”.  The congregation joined together to fill another 81 boxes this year. These simple expressions of generosity that will put smiles on the faces of children in far away lands who we will never meet.
    The Christmas tree in the foyer is again decorated with hats, mitts and scarves. These gifts will be gratefully received by ‘Out of the Cold’ clients. The congregation’s on going Food Collection continues to be needed and appreciated by families who receive food hampers from the Chandler Mowat Center.  
    There truly is joy ~ in being ~ a community of Christ!

            “If you truly would be Community of Christ,
then embody and live the concerns and passion of Christ.”   D.&C 164 9d

Ruth Black.
Kitchener Congregation.
November, 2015

Saturday, November 21, 2015

That is the Life We Choose

Community of Christ Sings #205 (adapted)

"When senseless violence takes those we love,
When cruel death strikes childhood's promise down,
When wrenching loss becomes our bitter bread,
We know O God, You leave us not alone.

When unexpected crisis takes those we love,
When those with loathing all their hate impart,
And grief becomes the fabric of our days,
Dear God, You do not stand from us apart.

Our faith may flicker low and hope grow dim,
Yet You, O God, are with us in our pain,
You grieve with us, and for us, day by day,
And loving presence near, always the same.

In an excruciating week of personal, community and global loss, the ever redeeming reality felt within, is that our lives are bound to one another in sacred community and trust that love prevails. In a knowing faith we resolve to live into an inner peace that spurs courageous action to be carriers of hope to a shattered world. 
God bless our collective resolve to be a blessing for others that rises above the pessimism, doubt and hate. Onward we prevail through unconditional kindness, through compassion and blessing; for... that... is... the... life... we...choose !!

submitted by Kerry

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

O Lord Hear my Prayer


"O Lord, hear my prayer, O Lord hear my prayer. When I call answer me. O Lord hear my prayer, O Lord hear my prayer. Come and listen to me." At this time of world sorrow I feel we all collectively yearn, express and raise these heartfelt words from deep within to the Holy Mystery sensed when we pray these words. Shalom my friends.  CCS#192

A Taize Community contemplative prayer hymn. Taizé is a monastic community located in Taizé, France, founded in the 1940s. There is an ecumenical emphasis at Taizé, which says the community “wants its life to be a sign of reconciliation between divided and separated peoples.” Amen

submitted by Kerry

Friday, October 23, 2015

                                                            Answering a Call

News of tragedy comes at us daily. Usually it gets a moment of sympathy and sometimes a donation; but the need is so large, complex, and remote that we feel powerless to make a difference. Occasionally, we feel moved to do something more.

Reports of violence in the middle east and the plight of so many refugees have affected my wife and I this way. When she told me of her urge to do something, I agreed. We began talking to family and friends, and discovered that many of them also wanted to do something. A meeting was organized and we began to discuss sponsoring a refugee family.

By that first meeting various members of the group already had some information. We identified other resources and assigned persons to ask questions. By the second meeting we had replies and were ready to make decisions. It is still early in the process, but it looks like our refugee sponsorship is about to be launched.

Our group includes church members, nonmember friends and relatives, and colleagues from work. To expedite our efforts, we will be joining as a Constituent Group with an organization which is already registered as a Sponsorship Agreement Holder with the Department of Citizenship and Immigration of Canada. We expect to rely on their guidance and experience because there is more we need to know. Looking forward, what we learn through this initial project could prepare some of us to advise others in future projects.

I am writing about this now rather than waiting until the task is done. We can report this much success. We talked to each other about our urge to act. We organized quickly and formed a group with a mix of skills and resources. We gave ourselves manageable tasks and completed them in good time. None of this has been difficult. Although there are some challenges ahead, we are confident that we will be successful.

We are happy to be actually doing something. Before we began talking, we were deeply disturbed by reports about refugees. Since we have joined with others with a common purpose, we have hope that we can make a difference.

Dennis Ware, Guelph

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Sand Pails and Sacraments

                        “Look especially to the sacraments to enrich the spiritual life of the body.
                          Seek for greater understanding of my purposes in these sacred rites and
                          prepare to receive a renewed confirmation of the presence of my Spirit in
                          your experiences of worship”                   D.& C.  158 c

    Centuries ago, on a grassy knoll beyond the busyness of the city, Jesus was found speaking to the people.  Parents requested that their little ones be brought closer to Jesus to be blessed by his touch and his words of blessing.
    Over the years my husband I have shared the ministry of the sacraments of the Community of Christ church many times.  Either or both of us have shared in the Sacraments of Blessing, Baptism, Confirmation, Ordination, Administration for the sick and the sacrament of Communion and Marriage. Most of these Sacraments have been administered within the walls of a church building.
    This day, however, would be a new experience for us. Remembering the above scene recorded in the scripture, we responded humbly to the invitation to share the Sacrament of Blessing with a young couple and their two little children in a outdoor country setting.
    We did not know the family well who would host our assembly nor were we familiar with the setting in which the Sacrament would be observed; but the day unfolded to be rich with blessing upon blessing.
      The spirit blessed us as we were warmly received and accepted as ministers.
Our hosts had lovingly and appropriately created a place of worship in their beautiful back yard.  From the moment we arrived we were all blessed by a spirit of hospitality and generosity.  We were blessed as members of two families greeted one another with joy and melded together in sweet harmony to support and celebrate the blessing of little children precious to all of them. We were blessed as everyone assembled and delighted in cradling infants in their arms throughout the afternoon. We were blessed as we watched a three year old running, exploring and playing freely in the familiar yard of his grandparent’s home.  We were blessed as smiling faces of four generations where captured through the lens of a photographer as they posed under an arbor accented by beautiful wild flowers.
    As ministers in the Community of Christ we were blessed to have the honor of laying our hands upon a infant sleeping in her mother’s arms and to then reach out and touch a wee boy sitting on his father’s knee quietly playing with his sand pail.  We were blessed by the touch of God’s gentle spirit as we prayed words of blessings for both precious children. 
    How fitting to come together surrounded by rocks, trees, grass and gravel roadways to celebrate, to give thanks and to share in the sacredness of the blessing of little children.  We came to share the ministry of the Sacrament of Blessing and witnessed the joy of the Spirit all around us and the day in its entirety became “Sacred”.

submitted by
Ruth Black,

Monday, September 21, 2015


The components of my breakfast slowly accumulate in my bowl; cereal grains, seeds, nuts, fruit, some milk and honey, then I sit down to eat.  I am conscious that for many, a step was missed.  I did not stop, fold my hands and bow my head in prayer.  And yet I am grateful, profoundly so, for this privilege and abundance I have access to.  

As I slowly eat, I reflect on this divergence of approach.  I think of friends and partners in ministry, for whom not pausing to say a blessing on the food is unthinkable.  I ponder the deep reverence for life in all its forms that this act conveys, the humble gratitude it expresses, along with the desire and need to connect deeply with God.  It is my desire and need as well.  

Oh God, the source of all that is, thank you for my friends and their deep relationship with life and with all that is Holy.  May the blessing of peace found in divine connection be within their thoughts and hearts today.  Some struggle with deep sorrow and the pain of loss. May they know themselves blessed in the midst of these trials.  There are those who do not have enough.  May those of us who do be reminded to offer the blessing of bread in your stead.  May we not be complacent in our gratitude, but disturbed in our blessings and thereby be a blessing to others…in Jesus name.  

Note:  Illustration is a 1918 photo by Eric Enstrom entitled "Grace."  It is in the public domain.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Pray Them Home

She was perhaps, 15 months old. I can’t be sure. I didn’t ask.
Her big brown eyes were framed by a mass of very fine, very black, very curly hair. There was a certain cuteness about her that made me smile.
    C48 began to fill as everyone waited to board the plane.  In an instant, quiet innocence turned into loud inconsolable wailing.  The young mother patiently walked her, rocked her, tenderly bounced her and sang to her.  All efforts to comfort or distract her were in vain. The little one was having, as they say, “a moment”.   Knowing how the  cabin of an aircraft in flight can feel confining, I admittedly thought, “This could be a long flight home”!
    In our seats now, the mother and child are one row across and one forward. The child has cried herself into a deep sleep.  Her soft black curls are cradled in the comfort of her mother’s arms.  As we begin to taxi away from the terminal, a tender moment captures my attention. The young mother, bows her head and closes her eyes.  Her lips move silently. 
    The plane now takes its final pause on the runway.  I notice the mother’s head down, her chin embedded in the soft, mass of black curls.  Again, I notice her lips as they move in silent rhythm. I am supposing that she is praying for a safe flight for both herself and her precious child. 
    I don’t know her name.  I don’t know her story.  Strange, it would seem, that I feel compelled to join in prayer ‘for’ them.  This happens at various times during the flight. I offer a brief prayer when I see the patience needed by the mother to receive assistance from the (not so helpful) flight crew. I pray as I sense the resources of energy that are required from the mother to meet the needs of a small child.
    With a sense of wonder in my heart, I feel that prayers must surely be heard even at 35,000 feet.  I smile in warm delight as, along with intermittent moments of struggle,  they rest together, play together, blow kisses and giggle together.
    We are now one hour from landing.  I take the opportunity to move forward and place a tender touch of caring on the mother’s shoulder.  I tell her she is a wonderful mother, she is doing a great job and her little girl has handled the flight well. 
    It was only a brief moment but it was a moment of true connection.  I learn now that they came to Canada for 3 months so that she could study English.  They are now on their way back home to Brazil. I gasped upon realizing that they still had many more hours of travel ahead of them. 
     It was a brief exchange in the noisy cabin of an airplane but the young mother’s beautiful bright smile spoke clearly of how grateful she was for a stranger’s caring touch and words of praise and encouragement. The few simple words she spoke assured me of her inner strength and faith that would carry her through.  
    Walking off the plane together, I felt so privileged to have been, even in a small way, a part of helping to pray them home.

Ruth Black,
September, 2015    

Friday, September 11, 2015

World Suicide Prevention Day

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. I am sharing a blog I had written a couple years ago that relates to the theme of Mental Health Awareness that has impacted life in our family.

If I close my eyes momentarily and envision the many many people I know who unwantingly face the rigors of mental health fluctuations in their lives, I am overcome by their courage and fortitude. Their lives are hard to live. At a funeral I attended yesterday, the speaker said, "Life is good until it isn't." Perhaps a simple statement, but it describes so well the experience of a person encountering the unpredictable winds and waves of what you might call "mind storms". It is like the weather patterns that all are so familiar with. Even the experienced weatherperson can't seem to predict the ebb and flow of sun and cloud or precipitation or temperatures. The severity of storms are beyond knowing, until they shake and pound and cause you to run for cover. The person with mental health storms likewise, are pummeled by the unpredictable trauma of inner torment or anxiety or depression or fear or sounds and sights and grief and despair that overwhelm the circuitry of their operational control panel. Naturally occurring chemical imbalances temporarily stabilized by medications hold back the tides until their bodily chemistry like our immune systems evolve to reduce the benefit of their treatment. The quest to start again with new dosages or new medications interact differently with each patient, some good, some bad. In the meantime those dear folk try to live and function with their lives in turmoil and upheaval in expected normalcy. Most of us barely function with a cold or flu that hits us with short term symptoms for a few days once in a while. The contagious nature of these known ailments are cause or us to take time off from work with the sympathy and thankfulness of our fellow staff. Those with emerging mental health storms that outwardly are pretty much invisible to others are at a disadvantage in being understood by their peers and colleagues. They simply are misunderstood. They are marginalized because society as a whole is far from empathetic; operating on efficiency, productivity and expectations of normalcy.

Compassion, empathy, love and acceptance of different ways of life expressions in people we meet, live and work with is what we need to build awareness of. We all live in the bounties of grace whether we acknowledge its presence in our lives or not. Relating to others as we want to experience acceptance, love and understanding is the golden rule of compassion. Let us remember the imagery of storms as the unpredictable reality of mental heath fluctuations. May we become one measure of peaceful  loving stability in the lives of those who encounter these extended unknown periods of breakdown in the circuitry of their lives.

submitted by Kerry

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Hallowed Be Thy Name

As I move into the new role as Mission Centre president (facilitator) I am humbled to have the opportunity to engage in ministry with each disciple, minister and friend of the church across our Mission Centre. Our collective fellowship from young to mature in our breadth of diversity, giftedness and creativity is a blessing in our midst greater than we each comprehend. The synergies of whose we are, in our common identity, within and as Community of Christ; is a calling of transformation. My calling is to help you to feel inspired with being who you are, in being Community of Christ, which some of us may take for granted. My question for each of you when we meet will be, “How can I help you be Community of Christ"? ….. to draw out of you the compelling reason you are Community of Christ.


I invite you to be sacred community daily in mindful and intentional ways.  Be that people of the Mission Prayer to draw our circle wider.

God, where will your Spirit lead today?
Help me be fully awake and ready to respond.
Grant me courage to risk something new
And become a blessing of your love and peace.

Envision yourself wearing a shirt with “Community of Christ” embroidered upon it plainly visible to all. Live that identity, be that identity, express your identity. Know your “10 seconds of courage” creative response to who you are in the context of who you are talking to and say……

My Community of Christ is…..

“people living peacefully with others who are different”
“a community gathering of friends who share meaningful conversations”
“people, being kind when we sense someone has a need”
“people, making moments better when someone needs to talk”.
“people, linked together to create community wherever we go.”

“Is there some way I can make community real for you?”

You likely know I am always on the search for ideas, your ideas, linking them with other’s ideas and building our vision of the outcome that is ours together. Please take this invitation to openly share your thoughts of possibilities as an expectation. Your one seemingly to you, tiny idea, may be the key that unlocks a whole vista of possibility.

This fall CEM will initiate with you individually and your congregation, personal and collective commitments to participate in “Revitalization”. The pronouncement launch will occur at our Mission Centre conference. Our personal consecration “pilgrimage” that will empower us to change our lives and be revitalized will happen the following weekend at Kirtland Temple with President Steve Veazey during our “Spiritual Venture” together. We have 2 busloads of expectant folks registered to become transformed. I am so delighted by your response.

If we are to effect revitalization which I am presuming we want? ….as the writing is on the wall if we do not……. we need to work together, create safe places for dialogue, listen and affirm each other. One of the structural implementations we will introduce at the CEM Conference is a Mission Centre Council which some other MC’s already have. I would be interested in your ideas as to the skillsets and demographics of possibly elected participants as well as the types of roles these individuals might have within the CEM structure. Overall, let’s make this a participatory governance model within our common consent culture.

Look for the inaugural Mission Centre newsletter in Sept in both on-line and hardcopy formats (where required) to draw us into closer recognition of our MC community and to keep before us the Mission we are collectively engaged in.

Our Mission Centre staff of Dar, Tim, Melissa, Emily and Brian are dedicated to their respective roles of ministry and function. Let us have faith in our present and our future as we recognize and know deeply within ourselves what it means to be Community of Christ. Lord, “Hallowed be thy Name” as we live community.

submitted by Kerry Richards

Friday, July 24, 2015

Missional Recruiting Increases Capacity

How many times do we all ponder an idea? Often! As we read, listen, discuss, watch others, run into circumstances that require some change; ideas emerge. Usually we are just connecting the dots from each of these interactive inputs of others into our lives and we visualize how to tweak these multiple inputs in a different way. Many of us formulate these ideas but are unable to actualize and execute their possibilities for many reasons. It might be that you just forget to write it down. Seriously, in the mix of a busy day ideas escape never to be recalled. Time is of the essence right? The idea sits there and someday another person suggests it and you think, wow that is what I came up with a long time ago. Perhaps the logistics of “how” are a quandary for you? Another hurdle is to attempt a solo effort. You see the idea in your mind but don’t have the capacity to make it happen.

Capacity is an incredibly powerful “non-fixed” resource we all possess. It can lie dormant within us or expand beyond our wildest dreams. The nature of our calling as disciples is to magnify our divinely blessed capacity within ourselves and others. Ideas inspire and create the capacity for more capacity. Our individual development of an idea may generate hope and empowerment within ourselves, but just expressing that idea to another unwraps the possibility of the thought and magnifies its potency. Your capacity just expanded. You also released capacity within the other person. Together there is a further capacity being unleashed. Capacity has a viral component that exponentially magnifies and makes possible unenvisioned and unexpected blessings.

Recruiting is inviting another into the dream, for them to view possibilities through your eyes and the passion of your heart as you share the dynamics of the potential outcome. Recruiting is also about listening. That may result in adjusting the whole or tweaking a detail to enhance and include yet one more participant. Once the other hears your version of possibility….. for them to be truly invested in the vision, for their capacity to be ignited, they need to experience their own personal version of the dream. Dialogue builds dreams. Then your “me” merges with their “me” into our “we” and our capacity is stimulated to new heights of possibility. 

From a missional perspective; recruiting and inviting others empowers every idea just because it is shared. Our combined prophetic imaginations create new potential capacity. We need to share these ideas that then become the fuel, the fusion for increased missional capacity that has no bounds. Right now, as Community of Christ, as we listen both within and without and interact with life; needed ideas will emerge of how we can be the church in new relevant expressions that become the catalysts of widening capacity. You might be the one that enlightens us all. This domino effect starts with you. Bless you for being “unique” you and offering your contributions to the whole. The spirit is with you! Capacity will surely astound you as others along with you bring to fruition a dream that draws “in” others and sends “out” magnified capacity. By the way, a kindred spirit also is fostered through this means of missional recruiting. How blessed is that. 

Submitted by Kerry

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Revitalization - The Measurables

On our CEM website on the home page is a link to a page that has a posting for 4 new full-time Mission positions to start in Oct. There is also a description of the "Revitalization" program we are launching into congregations. It is exciting and will be challenging for you as it puts our faith individually and collectively to a test. Outcomes and Results will be measured.

The measurables are quite simple yet as simplistic as the equation is, it will only be by transformation that we can reach our goal. There is a growth chart across Canada over 5 years but this is the model:

The envisioned growth is 2 new invitee/participants per month collectively within any of the program activities that a congregation creates or currently offers.

The blessing is in the continuing invitation month after month and that all within the congregation catch the vision and participate in the momentum. For each congregation the Revitalization Minister (RM) is inserted within, there is a 60 day period of “attunement” where there is no expectation of intentional invitation. From that time forward as the congregation creates relevant new expressions to meet people where they are…..2 new invites / mo collectively is the goal. In the first year, the cumulative growth would be 10 months x 2 /mo is 20 new invitees participating collectively in various programs offered by the congregation.

The program will continue to be guided by the CSM (Congregational Support Minister) as the RM moves on to another congregation. So there will be growth of 2 / mo x 12 = 24 the 2nd yr and so on. It is anticipated that living in the midst of mission, with each one being a 2x2 companion to another; experiencing the reality that any activity can be transformed to be a sacred moment of grace and meaningful relational fellowship; will foster momentum. So yes, the #’s can be extrapolated based upon the power of 2 / mo over a period of 5 years. The reality is being mindful that amongst all the participants within a congregation, the model is 2 invites /mo.

Having faith and recognition that everyday activities people are being invited to or which are being created around them to match their passion; are transformed into appealing, meaningful, new expressions of fellowship that become “invitable” is key. Momentum will grow out of this experience of everyday missional fellowship. It is like everyday bread and wine being transformed into  sacrament. We will mentor you to transition the common into meaningful.

So measurables start with our existing baseline of congregational members and participants. We each need to be missionally transformed for this to happen. You will be introduced to 2x2 companioning which will be the means of enablement to keep us fulfilling our covenant to and with one another and with God. Solo efforts will always fail us. The “tipping point” of behavioural change will emerge from 2x2 companion commitment to be spiritually formed and to live that which we envision and commit to. Daily affirmations and check-ins with one another will enable fulfillment. Out of that model, amongst all the 2x2 companions, within a willing congregation, missional momentum of 2 invites / mo. will happen and continue.

That is the vision of our Canadian Congregational Revitalization model we hope to integrate within each one of you.    

submitted by Kerry

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Community Fellowship

On Thursday, June 18, 2015 Grand Valley hosted their annual strawberry supper.  Of course, the planning starts at least 2 weeks earlier, when the lists are made up and passed out as to what is required in food – whether your list involves donating butter, coffee, tea, homemade salad dressing, devilled eggs, jelly salads, or iced cakes.  Everyone takes their list and  willingly gets ready for the event.  The day before, all who are able arrive at the church at 9 am and start to prepare for our dinner.  Potatoes are peeled and cooked, cabbage shredded, silverware wrapped, tables and chairs are set up in preparation to being host to the community.  By noon, the inside of the church is ready – enough work for Wednesday.

Strawberries arrive at 1 pm on Thursday, and the crew is on deck again, washing and hulling the berries.  During these work bees there is always laughter and fun as the work is accomplished. 

This year, weather reports were saying rain would start by 4:30, the time our supper was to start.  Regardless of the weather reports the dining tent was erected on our beautiful church lawn – and God gave us a beautiful evening, sunshine and blue  skies. What a blessing!  People began to arrive, and at one time almost 200 people were eating at the same time – using the setup downstairs in the church and the tables and chairs set up on the lawn.  It was such a blessing watching people chatting, visiting and enjoying their evening under God’s great canopy of trees and skies.  A beautiful community of people gathered together!

Our congregation is so blessed with having eager workers.  We reach out into our community with hospitality and love and we are blessed with the community attendance to the dinner; and, our congregation is blessed by them attending.  The churches in our little village of Grand Valley have a wonderful compassion for one another and support each other in many activities.

Today, Sunday, June 21, our congregation was invited to John and Marlene Black’s new barn for our church service.  Many of you know, this is not an ordinary barn.
We were so blessed again, Sunday school (with coffee) was led by Ron Yager, from Independence, Missouri, who related the story of his father, Joe, who served as a missionary his whole life in service to Christ.
  Ron was the speaker for the worship service and brought a challenge to us by relating his life’s stories; and, how we can apply and grow with our own life’s situations.  We had a guest soloist, Dorothy Miller, who took part in the service.  We were ministered and blessed many ways during the morning.  Thank you so much John and Marlene for inviting us to come and worship at your place. Thank you for the many who helped organize the service and those taking part in the service. 
 Of course, we cannot forget the potluck lunch that followed the service, the icing on the cake again was the fellowship we enjoyed.
The congregation had a busy week and we have been truly blessed with our activities. 

Submitted by Kerry for Diane Franks

Friday, June 19, 2015

Painful Realities and Hopes for Peace

Nora Sanders is the General Secretary of the United Church of Canada within their Executive Council. I receive her ongoing communications and this latest letter provides a heartfelt sense of 2 recent occurrences of painful realities within our society worthy of our prayerful reflection. She writes......

"You picture a small group of people of different ages gathering in a church basement for an evening Bible study. Maybe some had come because of burdens they needed to lift up to God. Others may have been there because it was their custom to gather to study scripture. The pastor leading the session offered inspiration to so many.

Only one person present knew that for most of those gathered, this time spent studying scripture together would be the last hour of their lives.

According to the news reports, the 21-year-old white man who stands charged, sat in the Bible study group for an hour before shooting nine people. All those who were shot were black people. Those killed included the beloved pastor, and an 87-year-old woman. They left behind parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren, a grieving community and a shocked nation.

Following on the events in Ferguson a few months ago, this horrible crime serves as a grim reminder that although laws have changed, government positions have changed, and the views of the broader public surely have changed too, there remains a stream of racism and violence not so far beneath the surface. The civil rights movement of the 1960s brought about huge gains in the rights of people of all races, changes that have been embraced generally in American society, but not accepted by all. It’s especially chilling to think that the young man charged with these murders was born at a time when important battles for racial equality had already been won in the courts and the legislatures. He would have been just entering high school when his country elected a black man as President.

It gives some comfort to note that this didn’t take place in our country. Some comfort perhaps, but not a lot.We are not the same as our neighbours to the south, but there are currents of racism in our society too. We yearn to be better than we are. We can be better than we are, as people, as a church, and as a country, but it will require effort and a willingness to face up to our own awkward realities.

In this week, as our Canadian National Aboriginal Day approaches, I had expected to be writing about Truth and Reconciliation, and the importance of being serious about responding to the Calls to Action that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada issued two weeks ago.

I recommend that every member of our church, and in fact every Canadian, read those 94 Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission:

As a church, there is an important role for us. Our work is with hearts and souls and the sharing of God’s love in ways that transform.

I don’t know what scripture passages that little group at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal in Charleston was studying this week, so let me end with these words from Psalm 9:

"The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you."

Blessings, Nora
submitted by Kerry

Friday, June 12, 2015

Bouncing with Joy

After weeks of planning, preparations and distribution of pamphlets to hundreds of homes in the neighborhood; the day had finally come. This was the day for the church and community to join together to raise funds for a “Lunch Program” for a school in the neighborhood. 
    The (Kitchener) church fellowship hall was set up for face painting, pet rock art, fish pond casting and games for children.  Two live bands were assembling to fill the room with music, a balloon artist was on his way and the BBQ’s would soon be lit. Now for the final attraction, the “piece de resistance”; a full sized Bouncy Castle.
    The usually warm weather had suddenly turned very cold and the rain continuing to pour down made it impossible to set the “Bouncy Castle up outdoors.  What to do!  Should the delivery be cancelled?  Would families even bring their children to enjoy it on such a rainy day?
    While twinges of such uncertainty flashed through my mind, not so in the heart and mind of our Children’s Ministry Leader.  With confidence and unwavering enthusiasm, she simply stated,  “We’ll put the Bouncy Castle in the sanctuary!”
    To my astonishment, the sanctuary immediately became a flurry of activity as men and women began to push the pews back, forward and to the sides of the room. The long, heavy, solid oak pews were being moved around as effortlessly as an army of ants would move grains of sand.  To everyone’s delight, the room was soon filled from floor to ceiling with a massive Bouncy Castle for kids to enjoy.
    And the children came:  children from the congregation,  children from the school, and YPC children from the neighborhood.  For three wonderful hours, the church was alive with music, conversation, the enjoyment of food and the bright eyes and sweet laughter of children.  A castle had found Sanctuary inside the church to the sheer delight of parents and children alike.
    On that cold and rainy day in May, we clustered together and became a community of Joy.

    “We proclaim Jesus Christ and promote Communities of
    Joy, Hope, Love and Peace”.

Ruth Black,
June 2015

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Mission Prayer at Work

In the Blenheim congregation we are praying the Mission prayer daily that we will be fully awake, ready and open to where the Spirit is leading and have the courage and wisdom to respond. I recognize that God's Spirit has really been working and directing each of us in some pretty profound ways. I want to share with you one amazing way how God has been blessing us and helping us to share with others and revitalizing our congregation.

Recently our congregation held a yard sale, bake sale, hotdog BBQ event on a rather busy Saturday. In advance we each delivered flyers to people in the neighbourhood and surrounding area. Everyone looked forward to this day and lots of energy was spent in preparation. We had multiple tables of new and gently used stuff inside and outside! It was a big project which we had talked about for some time and finally decided that it was time to actually do it. I am so thankful that we hosted this.

Two young adult friends of the church participated and modeled grace and generosity in a way that others had not experienced before. The one went to a local greenhouse and obtained fresh vegetables and arranged them on a table outside and was so positive and happy that it radiated love and joy to everyone. The other set up his own BBQ and BBQ station complete with stereo, in a very creative way that allowed him to serve hotdogs and play some awesome current WOW Christian music which had people dancing and singing in the parking lot.

We each were stationed at different areas to help with sales and customer service to make it easier for those attending. We all worked hard together to create an environment that was welcoming, happy and expressed thanks for coming and supporting our fundraiser. Again each person leaving experienced an expression of "Thanks for coming" and a big wave good bye as they drove out of the parking lot. The day truly was amazing. I was stationed close to the parking lot for the day. I overheard comments from people as they were leaving saying things like: "Wow, see I told you they believed in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit", "Wasn't this a wonderful stop on our yard sale adventure today", "I am so glad we stopped!", "There are some really nice people at this church", "I hope they have another event, we will have to make sure we come back." It was a fantastic day of blessings and happiness.

I must admit that at the end of the day I was shocked when I went in our building while cleaning up and discovered that most of our pamphlets and printed items in our entrance were gone. At first I thought perhaps someone had removed them to prevent the wind from blowing them all around, but discovered that volunteers had observed people stopping and reading our Enduring Principles brochures that are displayed in our entrance and taking the other literature below as well. Awesome! We had not planned on that. A new good problem. We have to replace our pamphlets, but what an amazing blessing to have to replenish. I am so glad that it contained current information. We have one individual who looks after this and she has been bringing her Herald to the Church each month after she finishes reading it and placing it in with the pamphlets for others to read. It was even gone! I pray that those who took the pamphlets and materials will be blessed by the information that they contained and that we will be ready to continue to share and respond as opportunities present themselves.

While cleaning up I also heard many positive testimonies, particularly from an individual, who is not a priesthood member, and is a very quiet and humble person. He noted people stopping at the Chapel entrance and so he invited them in, allowed people to sit in our Chapel or come into the Chapel area and look around. He remained in the Chapel area, answered questions about our Church and our beliefs. Again not something that we had planned, but an awesome blessing and testimony of how God had been preparing us and developing each of us as disciples in some pretty amazing ways for service. All are called and gifted and truly God was aware and blessed our community in some very profound ways. I am thankful for the blessing that this man was open to the Holy Spirit and had the courage to respond and share his rich testimony with those who came.

The following day was Sunday. The Yard Sale blessing and ministry experience continued as ten children and four adult visitors joined us for our Worship service at 11. They had come to the yard sale the previous day and decided to come to Church. This truly was an amazing blessing and further testimony of God's Love, Grace and Generosity. We have continued to have various visitors from the community each Sunday since and for this I am truly thankful for the new opportunities that each of us has had and has to share in the journey of faith with others. God is using each of our gifts and talents to bring blessings to others. We are so thankful and continue to pray the Mission Prayer as we respond to those in our community. We are eager to share the Gospel and journey in faith with others knowing that this is not easy but we are willing to be open to the opportunities as we make an intentional shift in our responses for those whom we encounter. These are exciting times in the Blenheim congregation.

submitted by Wende Badder

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

“On the Front Porch”

    The heat and humidity were beginning to drain my energy as I reached the last house on my designated route.  As members of the Community of Christ, we had been distributing flyers that morning to homes near the church.  Each flyer was an invitation to a Fund Raising Community Barbecue to be held at the church in support of a lunch program at a nearby school.
    He wasn’t visible from the street; but as I walked up the driveway and made my way around garbage bins tucked behind the hedge, I could see the old man sitting on the front porch.  Climbing the weather worn steps toward him, I simply extended a friendly, “Hello!”   In a somewhat pleasant and yet gruff voice he responded with, “You can keep your flyer and give it to someone else.  I’m not going anywhere!” 
    Raising his hand to run thin fingers through a crown of disheveled grey hair, his weary frame spoke as clearly as his audible voice saying, “I’m not feeling well today. I tried to do too much yesterday and I’m not feeling well at all.”  Concern welled up within me. I wanted to reach out and wrap him in a shawl of compassion and care.
    The front door of his house was wide open and over his shoulder I could not help but notice the ramshackle interior of the living area.  There was so much that needed to be done all around him; but this was his home, this was his reality.  What he needed most in this moment was a friend.  And so, for a short while, we became two strangers on the porch engaged in quiet conversation.
    The man was 90 years old, he lived alone but assured me that he had a wonderful daughter and son-in-law that were always willing to drive across town to visit him when he really needed their help. While I saw him as vulnerable, I could detect in his mannerisms and in his spoken words that he was a proud and determined man who enjoyed his independence.
      Although very much “out of my league”, (no pun intended) we talked about his love of watching baseball and we laughed together about his frustration with televised hockey.  In those few minutes together, he seemed to become comfortable enough with my presence to ask, without reservation, if I would do a couple of favors for him. I was grateful for his asking. For, although they were simple tasks, they helped to make me feel useful in a tangible way. 
    His heart seemed lighter as I proceeded down the steps to leave. With his morning newspaper now unfolded in his lap, he wished me a good day and I the same to him. 

    The name of Jesus was never mentioned but I believe His Spirit was there. 

“The gospel of Jesus Christ is expressed best in Community life where people become vulnerable to God’s grace and each other.”    Enduring Principles

Written by Ruth Black
May, 2015.  

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Dialogue - The Way of Discipleship

In CEM we will be engaging in Congregational Cluster Dialogue gatherings over the next 2 months. How important is this? Beyond the topic this is a learning experience we each need to recognize prepares us as disciples to have the capacity to talk peacefully about hard issues. We all need to participate. Read on.....

Even as the Community of Christ has transitioned over the years in our understandings and openness towards our heritage, theology and inclusiveness; our journey has other dimensions we are still encountering. At the last World Conference we implemented new processes for Common Consent and consensus building. This is not just a change in the mechanics of discussing legislation; it evidences deep-rooted participatory engagement in our church life and decision making. This reflects the expectation of our membership to be informed, to research, to dialogue, to express diverse opinions, to be heard, to listen, to challenge, to collaborate. In a sense the phrase “prophetic people” has taken on greater meaning in a deliberatory sense.

What does this mean to us in CEM? I think it means, we expect and feel we have a right to engage in dialogue and that out of that collective dialogue, decisions are made. Our experience with nurturing and facilitating dialogue in decision making is quite rudimentary. We have much to learn. It is much easier in all organizations to operate within a mode of top down decision making. That traditionally is the way it has been. Transitioning away from this protocol is another dimension of our faith journey I made reference to above. It happens by way of natural grass roots processes rather than a conscious decision to push a dialogue button. We find ourselves today in a new model of decision making involving dialogue linked with unpredictable outcomes.

We are also a sacred community. How does that govern our exchanges? Dialogue can be an eruptive force of contention without internalized virtues guiding our discussions. Dialogue can be secular in nature or sacred. We see the secular modeled in our houses of parliament. Sacred dialogue is mindful, prayerful; exhibiting grace and vulnerability to allow compromise and consensus to emerge out of divergent viewpoints. This mode of dialogue takes practice and intentional self-awareness by all to truly happen.

Our church has recently introduced spiritual practice moments. These moments nurture the sacred within. Within this framework we may consider the practice of dialogue a spiritual exercise to teach us virtuous exchanges of discussion. Let us not mistake virtues for weakness. They are on the contrary, strong, persistent, even-spirited, mindful exchanges not based upon black and white outcomes but negotiated consensus.  We need advanced tools for dialogue. Dialogue is something you just don’t read about. It is participatory and learned in dynamic exchanges. It is more than debating. The virtuous element governs our person to person awareness. In many ways it is self-regulating.

Ultimately, dialogue is sacred if we allow it to be. That to me is what we are in the process of learning. That is the pathway forward. We have an incredible opportunity now to participate in virtuous dialogue. We may stumble some at first, but it is worth the effort to continue and nurture collaborative outcomes through our collective dialogue. I am hopeful. I look forward to engaging in the next step together.

submitted by Kerry Richards

Monday, April 20, 2015

Mind The Gap

“Mind the Gap” is an expression of caution to alert someone to a possible hole in front of them so they do not fall. The person may be unaware it was there. There are many “gaps” of unawareness that we overlook throughout our daily lives without someone to caution us that they exist. Some gaps we know exist and we perhaps adjust our actions accordingly. Some gaps we just do not know how to deal with; others we intentionally ignore……kind of like an Indifference Gap.

As we in Community of Christ, strive to become a discerning people with empathy for those we daily encounter; we want to be more inclusive, mindful and relevant, and we begin to see gaps, lots of them. Of course there is the Generation Gap, the Technology Gap, the Global Economic Gap, a Language Gap, the Healthcare Gap and the Income Gap, but there are subtle gaps that unless we are mindful we completely miss them.  These might be an Ethics Gap, a Compassion Gap, a Dialogue Gap, a Validation Gap, a Kindness Gap, an Attentiveness Gap an Accountability Gap. I am pulling some of these out of thin air but if you think about it they exist and we are all short on awareness in many areas of human relationships, or our sense of community, locally and globally and gaps abound.

There also is a very real Equality Gap, Still; even though we think we have accommodated so many aspects already. Equality has many dimensions. Some inequities we are fully aware of and others that we are only beginning to comprehend. We strive to be inclusive, however; we are only beginning to understand how vast the spectrum of diversity is and the corresponding gaps. Those gaps beyond our knowing separate us from one another.

My theme these days is, Empathy lived out in our daily encounters, opens our minds to the viewpoint and life circumstances of others beyond our own experience. Our horizons are expanded and the gaps in our lives are lessened and our relationships with others become more valued, meaningful and reciprocal. This mutual engagement allows us to work together in our enhanced understanding of our humanness to take action borne out of kindred hopes and ideas emerging just from filling in the gaps.   

Our gaps are influenced by so many sources of bias, tradition, media and culture that we do not even know many inequalities we still participate in. The next step is, even if we were aware, there is still a Desirability Gap that holds us back from altering our choices to make change. Ultimately we face an Action Gap where our apathy weakens our resolve to do, to act, even when our knowledge informs us it is the right thing to do. Sometimes in our better moments, we bear burdens of guilt for the Failure Gap where we clearly recognize that our inaction is immoral and saddening. So, how do we do something about the Action Gap? My experience is that it takes partnerships to overcome the unintentional apathy that is a product of our busyness and multi-option lives.  We need to become Companions with another to share that which we want to accomplish. It comes down to practicalities. We know there are daily life tasks we would only do because someone was counting on us or we had promised to complete something for someone.

I propose the single most important means for you to make a difference, to do things differently than you do today; to bridge the gaps in your life and take action, is to find that 1 person who becomes your “Companion of Action" You do what you say you are going to do because the two of you covenanted with one another to make “it” happen. That happens through all the channels of connecting with the other person. Texting, phoning, emailing, IM, Facebook, in person but, make it a daily happening, or a quick morning, noon and night reminder, affirmation, validation of accountability. In essence we tell each other each time to “Mind The Gap,” because if we are not actively "doing", potholes reappear before us and we fall into the gap.

Allow Companioning to become part of your life. Consider it as a sacred calling. Community of Christ, the nurturing of a prophetic people, is perhaps best fulfilled by creating "Clusters of Companions" interacting together to fulfill their covenant actions, forming communities of communities. That one person who is your covenant companion is perhaps the most life changing gap you will ever close.

Submitted by Kerry Richards   

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Empathy, The Real Reality

Empathy. A word that evokes intersection. That requires merging one’s life within the realities of another’s life. To encounter the perceptions, emotions, hurts, pain, anger, sorrow, joy, love, thankfulness, motivation, dreams and hopes of someone who is willing to trust and open their life to you. There is a limitless depth in their eyes you see for the first time, a quiver in their voice that resonates with their story, a tear that expresses the grasp of something upon them or the releasing of a burden that frees them to live and be.

Empathy is a shared life that enters your space and touches your soul, forever changing your perception of life and your relationship with that person and all others. We talk of intimacy with the Spirit of God, of discerning moments of encountering the presence of the Spirit. There is a feeling that fills your soul with a depth of knowing, a flood of being, a sense of purpose and worth. These two experiences of empathic encounter are divine, not separate from one another but realities of the oneness of God within and also when we are with another. God experienced in me and God experienced in you are empathic encounters of self and mutuality, equality and unconditional oneness with the Spirit and the kindred soul of another. This is a sacramental moment. Human and Divine intersect. Eternity and sacred community blend. We are one. We imprint the memory of those precious moments forever as sacred and holy. You hold the other in your gaze, in your heart, in your soul.

Once you have experienced empathy it opens you up to the need for sacred community, to invite others into this pure and holy relationship of transparency and trust that transcends separateness. This is the purest form of Mission. This is the reason we invite. This is the meaning we share. This is the oneness and unity that envelops our diversity. This is what empowers us to be gracious and generous, to be loving, forgiving and reconciling. This is the source of the peace of God envisioned in the seal of Community of Christ. Community is borne out of empathy. If we desire to be sacred community, discern through the spirit where empathy calls you to enter the life of another. As you are with the other, be willing to be a blessing in their life in whatever way of unconditional selflessness you are drawn to be and do. Out of this depth of humanness and divine connection how can you not be a source of invitation to sacred community and others who share this common story.

Live into empathy through the spirit of discernment and your life will never be the same. 

Submitted by Kerry Richards

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A Prophetic People Emerges

Last night our prophet, Stephen Veazey spoke “on-line” to a prophetic people. The church is accelerating in this direction of being the church through a computer, TV or smart phone screen. Our ability to be “with” one another without being physically present is a reality that is already happening in meaningful ways. Small groups, worship services, strategic, teaching and facilitative workshops and meaningful moments all occur frequently through digital connections. Let us embrace this technology to be personal yet global in new sacred expressions of the church.

Community of Christ is in the midst of an exciting time characterized by the term, “prophetic imagination”. In the expectant encounter of the Divine being present within a spiritually prepared and willing people, creativity emerges. The nature of being a prophetic people is such that in becoming awakened and open to spiritual formation we become pioneers of discernment. We become entrepreneurial envisioners of new models, expressions and means of being the church. Being a prophetic people exists in a tension of being both mindful of God’s leadings and exercising autonomy with our gifts, skills and cultural opportunities to reflect the church in relevant ways to society around us. These two factors bless us with empowerment. A reality of our mindsets today is that people do not participate in an idea or an enterprise unless they have ownership in the decision or processes. Perhaps this is a bold statement in relation to “Christ’s Mission, Our Mission” but I believe the “Our” in the statement is the prophetic people response, the grass roots response to the indwelling spirit that magnifies our capacity to be an empowered people, a committed people, even a covenant people. When our hearts and minds encounter the enlivenment of the Spirit, vast capacities of imagination, giftedness, empathy and motivational resolve transform us individually and collectively into a Prophetic People.

A prophetic people embodies unity within a diverse people. We celebrate the immensity of ideas resident within our midst and beyond. We are called to mutually affirm one another with holy reverence, acknowledging “God in us”. We are called into Dialogue as the means to truly and deeply know one another, to bridge differences and build what we envision by capitalizing upon our mutual giftedness. Dialogue is a sacred virtue of our church built into the principle of common consent. A prophetic people engage in dialogue as a spiritual practice that transcends our differences and multiplies new possibilities released through our mutuality. Dialogue enables us to uphold our identity as Community of Christ, for it invites prophetic expression both from the grass roots and our prophet. Dialogue nurtures accord through empathic mutuality; peace-building and reconciling qualities needed in every community. Synergies of collective, cascading creativity erupt from a prophetic people in mindful dialogue, disrupting the ordinary and transforming it into the extraordinary; indeed into a Community of Christ. Discipleship, Discernment and Dialogue are the pillars of prophetic imagination. God is at work in receptive individuals everywhere who are yearning to become a prophetic people led by a prophetic leader.

Submitted by Kerry Richards 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

"We All Can Help" Everyday through every household purchase

Click on the above video to be introduced to our exciting Community of Christ  campaign, We All Can Help" simply by purchasing our everyday household items through the church website link to the Amazon button on the bottom left of every >>> 

Our Community of Christ Mission, People and Programs can be supported through looking first on our Amazon link to buy vs shopping elsewhere. The benefits to you are convenience, selection from 2 million items, savings, and quick shipping in 2 days, usually free.

Community of Christ earns substantial referral fees. In our initial month with few orders we earned $400. Your annual shopping of household items can generate perhaps $1000 / year alongside your Sunday contributions just through buying what you normally purchase elsewhere. If you have a business or the business you work for needs supplies, or the congregation needs items, or your community group, support the church through their regular purchases just by connecting to Amazon through the church website link above. What could be easier!

What a difference that will make to World Church in our time of need. Share this with family and friends......"We All Can Help"

submitted by Kerry Richards

Friday, April 3, 2015

Easter - "Catch The Feeling"

Easter Blessings to All;

This is the first year I have participated fully in Lent. I found it takes focus to daily take the time to pause (a misnomer) amidst all kinds of “busyness” reasons not to. In those moments of releasing myself, of reading and dwelling upon the resources from the Church’s Spiritual Formation Centre, I discovered not just meaningful reflection upon good thoughts but became aware of a “feeling”. It felt like “home”. It feels  like at this very moment I am in the place I am supposed to be. It is peaceful, quiet and connected. The feeling imprints upon me a recognition of something beyond me that penetrates through the illusions, the almost impenetrable “force field” like barrier of “what’s next” that I have to busy myself about in life. Now I seek and yearn for that feeling that accompanies my often resistant efforts to sit and open myself to the Spirit in a time of pause.

I am one who tends to test the validity of something by experimenting before I acknowledge it as real and worth investing my time, energy and efforts in. I entered into the experience of Lent in the same way. 40 days? Is that for real? Well now I sense like it really is a trick to draw you into practicing the spiritual practices of Lent for life. Because once you experience the feeling, you want more. You discover that the feeling can be called upon during other times in your day to bring peace in the midst of disagreement, frustration, impatience, decisions and ministry for and with another. The feeling accompanies moments of listening to others and I have come to sense this feeling as a companion spirit. When I am praying about matters and someone’s name surfaces or an image of someone or an idea or thought emerges I listen. When that familiar feeling resides with a thought, now, I pay attention. Then I experiment by pursuing those ideas, thoughts or connecting with those persons.

What Lent has blessed me with is an increasing encounter of how discernment unfolds in my life. I am just learning, gaining more awareness of and sensitivity both to others and what I believe is the spirit going before me.

So Easter is very real to me. The risen Christ, present in the Comforter I experience in times of pause and moments of prayer, to be empathic and “with” others in their lives, to be a means of blessing, is alive and present, continuing to journey with us. May you each be blessed this Easter season with the assurance of God’s personal touch in the “Feeling” of Christ’s presence as you take time to pause and discover this “authentic” reality in your life.

submitted by Kerry Richards