Our blessing was received on November 18, 2018. Thank you to all of you who participated in person, in spirit, or in whatever way you could to make the experience special. Our evangelists submitted the blessing, which you can now download below.
Congregational Blessing Podcasts
About the Evangelists
Kris Judd — Kris and husband Peter live in Kansas City, MO, and attend the Norton Heights congregation. Kris was ordained to the office of Evangelist four years ago in July. She’s not related to anyone in Olathe, that she knows of.
Tom Arnold — Tom lives in Council Bluffs, IA and is traveling to be with us for our blessing. Tom was ordained to the office of Evangelist in November 2010. Tom and his wife, Carol, are the parents of Alli Arnold and Ashley Harker.
Greg Clark — Ordained to the office of Evangelist in November, 2012, Greg attends church in Central Mission. Greg lives in Independence with his wife Sue. You may recognize him as the editor of the Herald.
Bob Gardner — Bob Gardner is one of our recently ordained evangelists, ordained in May, 2017. Bob and his wife Jane (hey, she looks familiar!) live in Lees Summit where they attend church.
Mikal Shedd — Mikal lives in Liberty, where she attends the Liberty congregation. She retired from full time ministry at IHQ and was ordained as an evangelist last October. She claims Sara Tubbesing is her cousin. I bet she has stories to tell!
God, where will your Spirit lead today?
Help me be fully awake and ready to respond.
Grand me courage to risk something new
And become a blessing of your love and peace. Amen.
As the pastorate has reflected on the congregational blessing, these scriptures have provided guidance and comfort. Reflect on these words as you prepare for our congregational blessing.
Beloved children of the Restoration, your continuing faith adventure with God has been divinely led, eventful, challenging, and sometimes surprising to you. By the grace of God, you are poised to fulfill God’s ultimate vision for the church.
When your willingness to live in sacred community as Christ’s new creation exceeds your natural fear of spiritual and relational transformation, you will become who you are called to be. The rise of Zion the beautiful, the peaceful reign of Christ, awaits your whole-hearted response to the call to make and steadfastly hold to God’s covenant of peace in Jesus Christ.
This covenant entails sacramental living that respects and reveals God’s presence and reconciling activity in creation. It requires whole-life stewardship dedicated to expanding the church’s restoring ministries, especially those devoted to asserting the worth of persons, protecting the sacredness of creation, and relieving physical and spiritual suffering.
If you truly would be Community of Christ, then embody and live the concerns and passion of Christ.
The challenges and opportunities are momentous. Will you remain hesitant in the shadows of your fears, insecurities, and competing loyalties? Or will you move forward in the light of your divinely instilled call and vision?
The mission of Jesus Christ is what matters most for the journey ahead.
— Doctrine and Covenants 164:9a-f
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. — Doctrine and Covenants 158:11
Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, ‘What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?’ They stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, ‘Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?’ He asked them, ‘What things?’ They replied, ‘The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.’ Then he said to them, ‘Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?’ Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.
As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, ‘Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.’ So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?’ That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, ‘The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!’ Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread. — Luke 24:13-35
Focus Hymn - “God, We Gather As Your People”
For most of the worship services in 2017, we made a conscious effort to center our thoughts on this powerful hymn. Even now, as we move into this season of preparation, may these words continue to resonate with God’s voice.
Community of Christ Sings #274
God, we gather as your people to raise our song above,
and we dare to claim the promise of your love.
Though the day may not yet be here, we trust it soon will be,
when your children will be free.
Oh, we sing for all the children, that one day they be free;
and we sing for generations yet to be,
that they never have a reason to doubt that they are blest.
May they in your love, find rest.
Oh, we pray for all the young lives cut short by fear and shame,
so afraid of who they are and whom they love.
May the message now be banished that your love is for the few;
may their faith in you renew.
God, we're working for the future when children far and wide
can live their lives with dignity and pride.
As they grow in strength and stature, may they join us hand in hand,
as against all hate we stand.
Oh, may our hearts and minds be opened,
fling the church doors open wide.
May there be room enough for everyone inside.
For in God there is a welcome, in God we all belong.
May that welcome be our song.
Words and Music: David Lohman