World Conference 2023

World Conference 2023

Information for GPNW Mission Center Delegates and Alternates

World Conference 2023 is quickly approaching, so please check here regularly for announcements and updates. Also refer to https://cofchrist.org/2023-world-conference/ for additional information, including all legislation, daily schedule and other events. 

REGISTRATION OPEN: Online registration for World Conference is open for delegates and children, at CofChrist.org/2023-world-conference/#csec-2023-world-conference-register.

Register before March 1 to get the discounted rate. Click here to see prices.

DATES: Friday, April 21 through Friday, April 28.  Be mindful that the NFL Draft is also taking place in Kansas City during these dates so airfares, hotels, rental cars, etc., will be in high demand; we recommend making your travel arrangements as soon as possible. We encourage all attendees to reach out to one another if interested in sharing transportation, lodging, etc.  

DELEGATES: At our Mission Center Conference in early November, delegates to World Conference were appointed en masse by Mission Center President Kim Naten as there were fewer nominees than the number allotted to our mission center by World Church. Click here to view those appointed. We currently stand at 76 delegates and 3 alternates. Our allotment is 79, so Kim may appoint 3 additional delegates to serve. If you are interested in serving as a Delegate, please contact Kim Naten (knaten@cofchrist-gpnw.orgbefore February 20, 2023. After that date, names submitted will be added to the list of alternates. Alternates will be moved into any remaining delegate slots on February 21 and the roster of all delegates and alternates must be submitted to World Church by February 22.  

WORLD CHURCH LEGISLATION SURVEY:   

Prioritization of World Conference Legislation – The First Presidency is inviting mission centers across the church to participate in providing input into the prioritization of our World Conference agenda. To this end, an electronic survey has been developed to collect feedback.  The survey for our mission center is available from now until January 31st Please take the time to help the First Presidency prioritize the legislative items on the agenda for World Conference.  Input from members is valuable! (This survey is open to non-delegates as well, so feel free to share with friends and family members who may not be attending World Conference.) 

The link to our survey is:  https://forms.office.com/r/FMP1cjhZgg

GPNW PREPARATION WORKSHOPS: Our previously announced plan of three workshops has changed to two online workshops to provide opportunity to review and discuss World Conference legislation. Two workshops will be held via zoom:  Sunday, March 19 and Saturday, March 25. All are welcome to attend these workshops; you need not be a delegate or alternate. All delegates and alternates are strongly encouraged to participate in the World Conference Online Exploration Series prior to our workshops (see below).

Review Legislation in Exploration Sessions | Sign Up Now!

New for 2023 World Conference is an opportunity to explore legislative proposals with others around the church through weekly Zoom Events.

A single resolution will be the focus each week during the Exploration Sessions series. Participants will share perspectives and listen to others in a facilitated session. Five sessions will be offered each week to accommodate time zones and busy schedules.

  • Monday: 1:00–2:45 p.m. (Pacific) 
  • Tuesday: 4:30–6:15 p.m. (Pacific) 
  • Wednesday: 4:30–6:15 p.m. (Pacific) 
  • Thursday: 7:30–9:15 a.m. (Pacific)
  • Saturday: 10:30 a.m.–12:15 p.m. (Pacific)

Exploration Sessions will begin 9 January and continue through March. All are welcome.

Registration is required. Click the links below to register for each event. 
Week of 9 January:  G-1 The Climate Emergency
Week of 16 January:  G-2 Doctrine and Covenants 116 to Historical Records
Week of 23 January:  G-3 Racial Justice
Week of 30 January:  G-4(a) Baptism and Membership
Week of 6 February:  G-5 Universal Scripture Access
Week of 13 February:  G-6 Enhance Transparency on Nonviolence Statement
Week of 20 February:  G-7 Resolution on Marriage
Week of 27 February:  G-8 Resolution Opposing Christian Zionism
Week of 6 March:  G-9 Compassion for Refugees/UN World Refugee Day
Week of 13 March:  A-4 Amendment to CofChrist Bylaws

Even those who are not delegates are invited to learn more about business coming before Community of Christ in April.
Read proposed legislation and see a summary of actions.

Day of Prayer and Special Offering for World Conference

On 22 January, join with those around the world as we uphold the 2023 World Conference in our prayers and through our offerings. Offerings received on this Sunday will help with the costs of Conference. The goal is to raise $100,000 USD.

Those in the USA can participate by giving to World Conference 2023 through www.etithing.org, by placing a check or cash in the offering plate, or by sending a check to International Headquarters, Attn: Presiding Bishopric, 1001 W. Walnut St., Independence, MO, USA, 64050.

In Canada, contributors can give by e-transfer or mail to Community of Christ, 355 Elmira Rd. N., Unit 129; Guelph, ON, N1K 1S5.

You can find a special Disciples’ Generous Response for 22 January on Herald House.

QUESTIONS?  As always, if you have any questions at all about World Conference, please reference the World Church link provided above or contact Kim at knaten@cofchrist-gpnw.org

Now Hiring: Communications/Administrative Specialist

Now Hiring: Communications/Administrative Specialist

A new position has been created as a result of Sean Langdon’s departure from the Mission Center Leadership Team. This position represents some of the responsibilities Sean held, as well as some of Ashley Whitham’s current responsibilities, and will be primarily an administrative position. Please see the Position Description for full details of responsibilities, qualifications, and duties.  Starting salary range: low- to mid-$40K’s, depending on qualifications.

If you are interested in applying for this position, please submit a letter of interest and resumé to Jill Brunette at jbrunette@cofchrist-gpnw.org.

This vacancy is open until filled. Please contact Kim Naten at knaten@cofchrist-gpnw.org if you have any questions.


Pastors Breakfast 2022: Reflections from a Friend

Pastors Breakfast 2022: Reflections from a Friend

From Sean Langdon.
A shortened version of these remarks were shared at the 2022 Pastors Breakfast during the Annual GPNW MC Conference.

I considered what I might share this morning with you all and my mind swirled with the possibilities. And where I landed was this… We joke a lot about my many roles in this mission center, and for good reason, but I want to offer a few parting reflections at this time through the lens of these roles.

Let’s start with what brought me onto staff in the first place. Young Adult Ministries Specialist.

  • Invite young adults to journey with you. Not necessarily your congregation but you as fellow companions on the journey. Relationships are deeply important to young adults.
  • A good marker of their commitment is not whether or not they are with you for the Sunday Morning experience. To expect that can just diminish and even cheapen the ministry they have to offer and are likely offering in other areas of their life.
  • Invite them to help reimagine what it means to live out Christian community in new and innovative and authentic ways.

Camping Ministries – Youth Camps & Reunions and though we actually took it out from under our Camping Ministries umbrella, Caravan and SPEC too.

  • Camping Ministries is one of most important things we do in the life of the church, arguably maybe the most important. For within our camping ministries, lives are changed in ways that don’t happen during the Sunday Morning experience. Also, it is here that the power of invitation really comes to life.
  • But we can’t provide these ministries without your help. So, like I have said many times before, we need folks like you and those in your congregations to volunteer to staff our camping events. And we need your help in inviting others to attend.

Youth Ministries

  • Like with young adults, find appropriate ways to journey alongside them. With permission from them and their parents, attend their sports games, choir concerts, recitals, art shows, and more! Invest your time in their lives.
  • But know this, the marker of a healthy congregation is nor whether or not you have robust youth program. It IS whether or not you are discerning your path forward and letting the holy spirit guide you into ways of living out Christian community. Living out the mission of Christ. For some congregations, that will mean youth related ministries, and for others, it will look radically different than that.

Invitation Support Minister

  • Meet new people. Form relationships. Invite people to Christ. Not church. That will likely happen. But Inviting People to Christ means inviting people to be in relationship with you and the community. Be the church, don’t just invite people to church.
  • And explore fresh expressions of ministry in your congregation. New, innovative, authentic ways of living out the ministries of your congregation so that they are relevant to those yearning to be spiritually and relationally filled. And please, let us stop thinking that this simply means changing a few things here and there within the context of our Sunday Morning Worship experience. Simply adding a couple cool videos is not going to make your worships more relevant to those hungering for something deeper. In fact, it might just mean doing something radically different when you gather. Let’s face it, pew worship ministry is not likely the path forward for organized religion. The definition of worship is “the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity.” We have to stop believing that this means that we sing a few hymns, offer a couple prayers, and listen to someone talk for 20 minutes. What does it mean for us to live our worship? Well, maybe let’s start here. Let us remember Christ’s mission statement found in Luke:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
    because he has anointed me
        to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
    and recovery of sight to the blind,
        to set free those who are oppressed,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

The spirit of the Lord is upon all of us to do the same!

  • And lastly, support New Expressions of Community. These aren’t connected to a congregation, but it may be those in your congregation who might feel called to explore them. Maybe even you. And if you are interested in going deeper and exploring this, please remember that on the first Monday of every month, we host New Expression Mondays via Zoom from 6:30-8 PM Pacific Time.

Folks, as I leave on to other opportunities, it has been asked several times who will do everything I did. That is being explored and the reality is that not everything will necessarily continue, at least not in the same way. Someone new will join staff, and along with the other mission center leaders, there will be new passions and invitations to explore here in the GPNW Mission Center. At the same time, some of those things like Community Connections, we are looking at a shared relationship between the Rocky Mountain Mission Center and GPNW Mission Center. So, where the Holy Spirit leads and where opportunities take us.

<strong>New Expression Mondays continue…</strong>

New Expression Mondays continue…

“Our journey into the future will continue through more congregations becoming willing to transform in response to new opportunities. It also will occur through starting new expressions of the church to model what we are talking about.” – Steve Veazey, “A Time to Act!” 

New Expressions of Community are an exciting pathway for us to experience Christian community beyond the walls of the congregation experience. Therefore, New Expressions of Community are not connected with an existing congregation but rather an opportunity for us to experience such community in a variety of ways in the many spaces of our communities that we work, learn, play, and live in. To learn more about New Expressions of Community, click here: http://chinook.cofchrist-gpnw.org/2020/08/21/your-invitation-awaits-lets-risk-something-new/.

New Expression Mondays started as an initiative of the Greater Pacific Northwest USA Mission Center in January 2022. They provided an opportunity for conversations about what is transforming within the church and where God is inviting us to experiment and create sacred community in our communities while also being a place to explore ideas that you might have for starting a New Expression of Community.

Starting in January 2023, New Expression Mondays will continue and be provided by Community Connections, an online New Expression of Community co-sponsored by the Greater Pacific Northwest and Rocky Mountain Mission Centers. With this change, we would like to invite all in the Western Field who are interested in exploring New Expressions of Community to join in on the conversation when your schedule allows, and interest is piqued. 

New Expression Mondays take place on Zoom the first Monday evening of every month. While the focus of these conversations are on New Expressions of Community and therefore beyond the focus of the congregational experience, we will spend 2 New Expression Mondays a year exploring Fresh Expressions of Ministry which is focused on existing congregations exploring Christian community in new and exciting ways. When that is the focus, we will announce it in advance.

New Expression Mondays

First Monday of the Month
6:30-8:00 PM (PST) | 7:30-9:00 PM (MT)

Zoom Connection Information:

To join, click here:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83965683186?pwd=VGliRGlOS1FUMk9YU2ovVTBGcm1Gdz09
Alternatively, join by phone: 1-253-215-8782
Meeting ID: 839 6568 3186
Passcode: 205203

Mark your calendars for the first Mondays of the month! All are welcome to join us for these conversations! We hope to see you then on Zoom!

If you have any questions, please contact Sean Langdon (slangdon@cofchrist.org | 425-293-6366)

Courage to Let Go

Courage to Let Go

At our annual Pastors and Staff Breakfast last month, technical difficulties prevented us from properly sharing two video interviews with leaders in our Mission Center. You can view them below or on our YouTube channel:

New Bold Moves Grants Awarded – Fall 2022

New Bold Moves Grants Awarded – Fall 2022

The missional efforts of Family Promise of Metro East, supported by the Portland Congregation and the international work of the North American Climate Justice Team have been awarded Bold Moves Grants in the Fall Cycle of 2022.  The recipients began their work in 2020 and 2019 respectively with the help of seed money provided by their original grants.  The grants just awarded are both renewal ones, allowed under Bold Moves Guidelines, that encourage them to continue the outstanding missional work each group is providing.

Family Promise of Metro East (FPME) is dedicated to helping families experiencing homelessness in NE and SE Portland achieve sustainable independence through a community-based response.  They are a new affiliate of Family Promise, a national organization working to serve the needs of children and their families experiencing homelessness.  Over the last three years, Portland Community of Christ has been an integral partner in the formation of Family Promise of Metro East.  Today, the Portland congregation hosts the FPME Day Center and organizational headquarters.

Through its extremely informative webinar series, the North American Climate Justice Team has brought together experts in various areas of climate justice with members and friends of Community of Christ around the world.  Their focus is to raise awareness of the climate crisis we face, while still maintaining an attitude of hope.  The team continues to seek to increase knowledge and understanding of:

  • Why and how climate is being disrupted.
  • Actions that will help mitigate increase in carbon emissions
  • The effect on various populations and the unjust impact on marginalized communities
  • Spiritual disciplines and strategies for dealing with fear, despair and hopelessness
  • Personal changes in lifestyle required and a call for advocacy/activism.

Its hope is to empower participants to make a difference and challenge them to envision God’s future and take steps to bring about a New Creation.

On behalf of the GPNW Mission Center, the Bold Moves Grants Committee is pleased to award the grants and wish both recipients continued success.

Club Q and Safe Space: Reflections from a Queer Minister

Club Q and Safe Space: Reflections from a Queer Minister

By Sean Langdon

“…I’m so sorry to learn of the Colorado Springs shooting. There are just no words anymore…”

This was the text I received on Sunday Morning from our Mission Center President Kim Naten. You see, I was at the Beyond Horizons Retreat at Lewis River Campground where cell reception is spotty. So, I had not yet heard the news about the mass shooting at Club Q, a queer nightclub, in Colorado Springs. This was another targeted attack on the LGBTQIA+ community and furthermore, it took place on the weekend preceding Transgender Day of Remembrance (November 20). On this day, we “honor the memory of the transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence.” (https://www.glaad.org/tdor) This attack happened in what should have been a safe space for the community.

Let’s back up for a moment though. This past weekend, 18 of us gathered for our inaugural Beyond Horizons Retreat. This retreat had been delayed three times already due to COVID-19. While present together at the retreat we lived the theme of “Chosen Family: A Place at the Table” through storytelling, laughter, and moments of blessing. We decorated pride cookies and shared in a Friendsgiving meal together. Then just before our closing Communion Service, I received the news about the mass shooting.

Beyond Horizons 2022 Retreat Group Photo

The Beyond Horizons Retreat was a safe space for the LGBTQIA+ community as well as the allies who journey alongside us. It was an example of what our sanctuaries should be, both the physical sanctuaries in our congregation buildings as well as the sanctuary that is created through mutual respecting relationships. Those who attended were free to be themselves and express that in the way that was natural and authentic for them. What a gift that was and could continue to be.

In times like this, I am reminded of the need for our congregations and new expressions of community to continue the work towards being open and affirming welcoming communities. It is not enough to just be “nice and kind” people anymore. We must continue the work to look within and confront our biases and allow the Holy Spirit to shape us as we live into new ways of going beyond the horizon to which we are sent. And while this work is important for us to do for all marginalized communities, the LGBTQIA+ community has been specifically targeted by those claiming to represent Christ.

Currently, Salem and Crystal Springs Congregations are the only congregations who have done the work with Harmony to become an official Welcoming & Affirming Congregation in our mission center. Harmony is the non-profit organization that, “provides advocacy, education, and resources for Queer voices in Community of Christ with a shared vision of full participation.” To learn more about their “Welcoming & Affirming Congregation” program, click here: https://www.harmony.lgbt/waprogram.html. I encourage your community to consider participating in this program.

There have been many times over the past few days that I have found myself in tears. Knowing that you are part of a community targeted by others, is an exhausting place to be in. Knowing that some want you dead just because of who you are, is an exhausting place to be in. And, if I’m being honest, being a full-time minister in a religion that is expressed in ways that fuels murderers to commit their heinous acts, is an exhausting place to be in.

I am grateful to have been raised in, serve in, and be a member of, a denomination that I believe does not express Christianity in that way, but this doesn’t mean that we don’t still have a lot of work to do. I invite… no, I plead… to our members, friends, congregations, and new expressions of community to explore ways that ensure that our communities are safe spaces for all marginalized communities. And to not only provide safe space but to also actively participate in helping transform our schools, places of employment, and neighborhoods into being more welcoming and inclusive as well. Some of our lives depend on it. The lives of people you love depend on it. Maybe even more so than you realize. If you need a face to put to this reality, use mine.

We cannot continue to sing “For everyone born, a place at the table.” or “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.” unless we are willing to do the work to make these hymns a reality in our Community of Christ spaces. We have come far. Let’s continue going the distance.


A note from Sean: I know that reading the word “queer” in a positive way might be new for some as it is a term that historically has been used to oppress those in the LGBTQIA+ community. Even I have struggled with claiming this term for myself. To do so, is new for me. I think this note from Harmony might be helpful: “The term Queer is being reclaimed by some who identify as LGBTQ+ and is used as an umbrella term for the LGBTQ+ community.  We use the phrase “Queer voices” to describe all persons, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity (SOGI), who have the courage to use their voice to speak for justice for the marginalized in the Queer community.​”

Statement on the Club Q Shooting in Colorado Springs

Statement on the Club Q Shooting in Colorado Springs

Statement from Harmony released November 21, 2022. Click Here.

Following Saturday’s deadly shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs that left at least five dead and 25 injured, the members of Harmony’s Board of Directors offer their deepest condolences to the families, chosen families, and friends of all those who were targeted. In the wake of yet another deadly attack on innocent, precious members of the Queer/2SLGBTQIA+ Community, we find comfort in the teachings of Jesus Christ who modelled and taught the importance of justice, peace, and healing as a call to action – not through “thoughts and prayers” alone.

The hymn When the Darkness Overwhelms Us (CCS #314) reminds us of this calling in each verse. A particularly compelling and timely line is verse 3:

When in weary isolation
We’ve lost our courage to care,
When our captive spirits perish
In the bondage of despair,
Free our arms for action
Reaching for another’s hand,
Free our feet for marching
or move to boldly make a stand.

May the One who calls us to this holy work place their spirit of reassurance upon us to encourage us as their hands and feet to realize our potential as justice seekers, peace makers, and community builders. 

Your Harmony Board of Directors

Note: Special thanks to our partners at Beyond the Walls for providing the beautiful music to many of our hymns. You can click the play button below to view/hear the full hymn recorded by the Beyond the Walls Choir.

Proclamation of Joy

Proclamation of Joy

Mission Center President Kim Naten
Opening Worship Address “Courage to Dance”
Mission Center Conference 2022: Courage

My comments this morning start with a story.  A Love story.  Near the beginning of the 3rd grade, a classmate of mine, Regina Hoag, and I began ballet classes together.  I have no recollection of how that came about, but her mom was able to take us to class and I think my mom picked us up, but however it came to be, we started ballet classes at the big green ballet school on the corner of 175th and Aurora, The Giglio Theater School of Dance!  Mr. and Mrs. Giglio and their daughter ran the school, and Mr. Giglio was everything you’ve ever read or seen in the movies as to what a Ballet Master was.  Stern, perfect posture, a walking stick tapping out the counts as we plied, releved, ronde de jombe’d . . . His daughter, Cleo, was the children’s teacher and was a little less frightening, but between them, they conveyed – at least to me – a seriousness and a discipline for dance that somehow stuck.  And I fell in love.  Ballet and tap dancing became the first things outside my family that I truly loved, that was something I could do and experience that brought a sense of JOY.  I’m not sure my mom shared that same sense of joy as she was the one sewing ribbons, straps, and tulle skirts onto the many costumes I wore over the years, but for me – dancing became a magical world of grace, elegance and joy expressed through movement and music.  Like many little girls, I dreamed I’d dance right into adulthood and a career as a professional dancer. 

Toward the end of my 3rd year of lessons we moved out of the area and thus ended my presumed career path.  I don’t think I realized it at the time, but over the years I would recognize that those 3 years of dance lessons instilled in me a love for all types of dance.  As a student at Graceland I was thrilled to be able to take tap dancing as my PE credit; and later in life I took Western line dancing and Salsa dancing classes just for fun.  And if you know me at ALL, then you surely know my nearly lifelong affection for the Disco dancing!  And SOMEDAY I think I’ll learn ballroom dancing.  And keep dreaming that one day they’ll do a season of Dancing with the Stars but call it Dancing with Regular Folks and I’ll try out and get a spot, and win the Mirror Ball trophy!  I’m guessing this is a part of my life story that few of you knew.

So right about now you may be asking yourself, WHY DID SHE DRESS UP LIKE THAT JUST TO TELL US A STORY?  And I may be asking MYSELF, why am I standing here in a none too flattering get-up sharing this story?  It’s not to be cute, or entertaining WELL, here’s why:  wearing this outfit brings me joy.  Just buying it and breaking in these toe shoes, sewing on the ribbons, all of it brought back the joy of dancing. 

Our theme this morning is COURAGE TO DANCE:  HOW DO WE CLAIM OUR JOY IN COMMUNITY TO EXPRESS OURSELVES FREELY WITHOUT FEAR?  I’m sharing this story and dressed up in an outfit that brings me joy because I am not afraid to be my authentic self in this community.

We claim, as members of Community of Christ, to promote communities of Joy, Hope, Love and Peace.  The teachings, words and actions of Christ himself affirm this, and we have countless scriptures from both the Bible and the Doctrine and Covenants that guide and direct us to be a loving community where all are welcome, all are of worth, and all are called.  We claim unity in our diversity and compassion, forgiveness, justice and mercy; we affirm that there is a place at the table for everyone born!  So if that’s the Community we are called to create, and long to live in, shouldn’t this community also be the place where we are free to be our unique, quirky, silly, vulnerable selves?  In a world that seems to thrive on judgment, criticism, and ridicule, shouldn’t our faith community be the one place we can be ourselves without fear of that judgment and harshness?  Theoretically, our families provide that place for us as well – but not always.  Our faith community, what we always called our Church Family, however, is a chosen family, a welcoming, accepting and loving bunch of people who want the best for one another.  Or at least in my mind, is what it should be. 

And so the fact that I’m standing here in this little outfit that brings me joy and helps tell my story, speaks volumes about THIS community.  I can walk in here proudly and uninhibited because YOU, my friends, are my people, my safe space, my sanctuary.  You love and accept me, you provide space for me to risk and experiment, and grace for me when I falter.  I can be my authentic self with you.  And isn’t that what we ALL want to experience in community? And what we’re called to create for others? 

To answer the question then, perhaps we claim our joy simply by having the courage to be our authentic selves, believing that our chosen community will accept us and love us without judgment or ridicule.  Maybe I’m being naïve or viewing the world through rose-colored glasses, but really – if we all just quit hiding behind masks, saying and doing what we think people want to hear and see, and chose to live joyfully and without fear, what a community we could create, huh?  And when WE claim our joy, we are giving others permission and courage to claim theirs, and it goes on and on. 

Being in Christ-like community with one another SHOULD be a joyful experience! So joyful that we want to dance and sing and laugh and know that everyone in our community is free to do the same.  My own experience as teenager confirms my belief in this.  Growing up, as a teen, I felt like I was living 2 lives:  the Monday thru Friday Jr. High and High School Kim, and the Zion’s League/”church” Kim.  The person I was at school bore little resemblance to the person I was with my church friends at Zion’s League events and camps.  I found my safe space and knew that when I was with THOSE friends, I could be myself and not have to fit in with any particular group or act a certain way to be accepted. I was fortunate to learn early in life that my chosen faith community was a safe place for me to learn and grow and make mistakes and be silly and be joyful.  My school friends knew that I was very involved in my church youth group and accepted that about me, but we simply didn’t have the same kind of friendship that I had with my church friends.  And having those friendships in my youth shaped me and formed me.  I don’t just mean my peers, I have to include my friends’ parents, the other adults around, the older kids – the village.  The village that raised me and provided me with loving guidance, boundaries, compassion, forgiveness, and the freedom to express myself freely and joyfully, without fear.  That is the kind of community I hope we are striving to create, for one another, for our kids and youth, for the strangers and the seekers searching for a spiritual home. 

Our scripture text for this morning comes from Doctrine & Covenants 161:1, and inspired me to have the courage to stand here like this today.  I hope that it brings encouragement and hope to you as well.

A. Lift up your eyes and fix them on the place beyond the horizon to which you are sent. Journey in trust, assured that the great and marvelous work is for this time and for all time.

B. Claim your unique and sacred place within the circle of those who call upon the name of Jesus Christ. Be faithful to the spirit of the Restoration, mindful that it is a spirit of adventure, openness, and searching. Walk proudly and with a quickened step. Be a joyful people. Laugh and play and sing, embodying the hope and freedom of the gospel.

Circles of Support

Circles of Support

Spiritual Practice Presented at GPNW MC Conference 2022 Pastors and Staff Breakfast

By Ashley Whitham

This morning, I’ll invite you to sit comfortably with your feet on the floor, and preferably with support against your back. Close your eyes. In your mind, imagine yourself in a large circle. If there were a target on the floor, you’d be standing in the middle, with rings extending away from you.

People in your life begin to walk onto the rings around you. As the rings fill with familiar faces, your body feels lighter. You close your eyes and slowly drift backwards, where the first ring of people catch you.

The first ring is made up of your closest loved ones. Your spouse, best friends, parents, siblings, cousins – who are these special people you can lean on? As your weightless body leans back on this first ring of beloveds, how does it feel to trust them? How does it feel to step backwards into this first ring of support?

(Pause for reflection)

You continue to step back and reach the next ring of people. As you lean back, supported by their hands, you look to see the faces of friends, extended family, and close co-workers – people who you feel comfortable with, who you can relax with. How does it feel to relax while others support you?

(Pause for reflection)

Step backwards again until you reach the third ring of support. Here you find your church family. You feel their hands supporting your back as you rely on their help to hold you up. How does it feel to rely on your church family?

(Pause for reflection)

As you feel your body begin to feel real again, you’re able to stand without help. You open your eyes to look at how far from the center you traveled with the support of others. Look into the eyes of those who held you up. Can you feel gratitude for their support, or are there other thoughts or feelings distracting you?

(Pause for reflection)

If you turn around, you can see that there are still more rings of people. Perhaps in the further rings you can see your cluster support staff.

Take a deep breath. As you feel ready, you can come back to this room and open your eyes. I hope that you saw faces of people that you can trust and rely on in moments when you need to step back.

Theme: Overlay by Kaira Extra Text
Cape Town, South Africa