Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Wednesday - March 28

Morning Worship in the Temple. Photo © Jim Doty Jr.

Good Morning Readers,

Yesterday was an historic day for the Community of Christ on a number of issues. It's exciting to be part of history and see the growth the church has made just in the short time this reporter has been associated here. I love the direction the church is going (sometimes painfully slow to some and at breakneck speed to others).

Photo © John Weese

There was a time for worship and meditation in the Temple for souls hardy enough to get there at 7:30am. For some it's tough to get going that early after late evenings each night. But for those who can it is a wonderful way to start the day. After the Quorum and Caucus meetings at 8:00, we had our morning Legislative session. We received a couple reports and accepted the Auditors Report for the last two years.

Photo © Bob Walker

After lunch, the afternoon legislative session was filled with the discussion and deliberation of Steve Veazey's Letter of Counsel to the church regarding retirement, reassignment, and calling of new people to fill rolls in the Church Presiding Quorums and Leadership Team. If you have read and are familiar with the document (if not, it is posted below) you know that several people have retired, and accepted callings to other offices of ministry.

Ken Robinson Presiding over the Conference. Photo © Bob Walker

So after each person was given a chance to speak, they left the rostrum for the last time as a presiding officer of the church. So today, at one point Ken Robinson presided over the conference for his last time as a member of the Presidency. After he shared he left the rostrum. Same for the Apostles who are also retiring and being reassigned. The new people filling the roles can't sit on the rostrum until after the Ordination Service in the evening. So at today's legislative sessions the make up of the Church Leadership Council will look quite different than it did yesterday.

Tahitian Choir. Photo © John Weese

After supper we prepared for the Ordination Service. The Tahitian choir sang and provided music ministry. They are amazing - I could listen for hours. They were all in white this time and all the ladies wore colorful flower wreaths on their heads. Their choir is filled with all ages. They sing with such joy and enthusiasm. This reporter often wonders what would happen if some of the congregations he has visited in the U.S. showed as much joy in worship as the Tahitians or the Africans?

Again referring to the Letter of Counsel there were twelve people being ordained last night. Former member of the Presidency, Ken Robinson, was ordained as an Evangelist. Former Bishop, Larry Norris, was ordained an Evangelist.

David Brock. Photo © Jim Doty Jr.

Former Apostle, David Brock, was ordained Presiding Evangelist for the Church. Former member of the Bishopric, Steve Jones, was ordained Presiding Bishop of the Church.

Paul Davis is "set apart" as a member of the Presiding Bishopric. Photo © Bob Walker

R. Paul Davis, and David Brown, were ordained to the Presiding Bishopric as Counselors.

Carlos Mejia. Photo © Jim Doty Jr.

Former Seventy, Carlos Mejia was ordained an Apostle and member of the Twelve Apostles as was former Seventy, Andrew Bolton.

Jane Gardner. Photo © Jim Doty Jr.

Jane Gardner was ordained President of the High Priest Quorum.

Ruben Landeros is "set apart" as a President of Seventy. Photo © Bob Walker

And finally Ruben Landeros and Richard James were called out of the Quorums of Seventy and ordained as Presidents of Seventy. They will each be in charge of a Quorum of Seventy. And tonight, for the first time in the history of the church, a woman, Becky Savage, who was named in the letter of counsel, was ordained to be a Counselor to the President of the Church, and part of the First Presidency, the leading Quorum of the Church.

Photo © Bob Walker

After the worship service, the "International Village", which is downstairs in the Auditorium and where congregations and Mission Centers from around the world showcase what's happening in their areas opens. There are displays and people to visit and share about the excitement in their area. Individuals and groups can also showcase talent on the open stage. We have seen singers, and dancers, and instrumentalists of all shapes and sizes. Last night two of ours from Brighton, Amber Smith and Bailey Smith sang with Jack Ergo as part of "Conference Kids." They did a great job and mom and dad were proud.

Photo © John Weese

Days are long, sometimes fast paced and hard to keep up with, sometimes agonizingly slow. Nights are short, far too short for some. But still we come, by the hundreds to participate. What draws us? Fellowship? Worship? Wanting to be a part? Curiosity? Control? Whatever draws us we come, we raise our hands, we sing, we pray, we walk, we talk. But for this reporter, I mostly stand in Awe of a God who loves us so much, and whose presence is so evident in the faces and voices of brothers and sisters from around the globe, who don't even speak the same language, and yet they communicate a relationship with a Creator who cares so very much for us.

Photo © John Weese

As I close for today, my hope is that each of you will be assured today that you are a beloved creation of God. And that you will find a fountain of Joy springing up in your soul that will bubble over to the people on each side of you, wherever you are at any given moment.

See you tomorrow!

Seventy Bob