Sunday, May 10, 2015

An Invitation to Participate

One of the empowering and community building traditions of our denomination Community of Christ and our congregation is widely shared participation in our services.  Ministry takes many forms, which include bringing items to the service like flowers, candles, hymnals, preparing communion emblems, preparing the worship center, preparing activities for children.  Ministry of presence itself is vital to the congregation as we are all enriched by each other’s presence.  Another way to participate in ministry is to volunteer for one of the components of the weekly worship service.  These include:

Conducting: The conductor sees to the overall organization of the service, provides the welcome (approx. 5 minutes), invitation to worship, the invocation, and the benediction or sending forth. The conductor also provides for any component when the scheduled participant is unavailable, and reminds individual participants when their component has gone over the allotted time.

Prayer for Peace: The officiant lights the candle while the music is played, reads the lesson, and offers the prayer (approx. 5 min. total).

Children’s Time: The officiant gathers the children for a story, video, song, or other message (approx. 5 min. total).

Disciple’s Generous Response: The officiant gives a message about giving. The deacon takes up the offerings and the officiant offers a prayer (approx. 5 min. total).

Sermon: The speaker gives the weekly message through scripture, exegesis, personal stories, reflections, and other shared wisdom (approx. 25 min. total or 18 min. on Communion Sunday).

Testimony: The speaker talks about why they are committed to Toronto Congregation and/or the church (approx. 5 minutes total).

Ministry of Music: The soloist or performers offer ministry through musical performance.

We would love for you to participate.  All are welcome to volunteer for any of these roles.  Please contact John Hamer, if you would like to talk about participating in different sections in the service.

Remembering the Mother of the Restoration on Mother's Day

Emma Hale Smith Bidamon, 1804–1879

Community of Christ is sometimes called “Emma’s Church.” After the failures of competing Latter Day Saint sects in the decade and a half following the martyrdom of Joseph Smith Jr., members scattered throughout the North American Midwest looked to Emma’s sons to provide leadership for a new organization of the church. 

Emma was among the earliest supporters of Joseph Smith Jr. Her father provided the young couple with a farm and home of their own, where Joseph began the work of bringing for the Book of Mormon. Emma acted as one of the first scribes of the work. She became the first and only woman to whom a section the Doctrine and Covenants is addressed (Community of Christ D&C 24). The revelation dictated in 1830 names Emma an “Elect Lady” and calls her to be ordained “to expound Scriptures, and to exhort the church” as well as to select hymns for a hymnal. Ultimately, Emma produced four hymnals, two for the early church and two for the Reorganized Church. 

Emma was an ardent opponent of polygamy and other secret practices within the church. Her influence over her sons and her philosophy of promoting peace with their neighbors in Nauvoo significantly influenced the culture of Community of Christ.