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The Importance of Gathering as a Global Community


11 January 2023

We are called to create signal communities where we live, work, and serve. 

…The Twelve are sent into the world to lead the church’s mission of restoration through relevant gospel proclamation and the establishment of signal communities of justice and peace that reflect the vision of Christ. …  

Doctrine and Covenants 163:5a

I reflect on this calling often and assess how I am doing. Because my life is busy and generally good, it is easy to accept how the world is today. But I know the world is not a reflection of God’s vision of shalom. I know systemic issues create injustices, and violence occurs against people and the Earth. I worry that I’m not doing my part to improve the world for all people. And there’s so much information to sort through about how I can make a positive difference. 

Getting stuck because we don’t know how to respond is normal. One of the Blessings of Community is working together to discern ways we can respond courageously—individually and collectively. As we discern, World Church teams provide information we can trust. You can read about the work of each team at CofChrist.org. 

Responding appropriately to injustices means responsibly learning about issues. In this Herald, we celebrate Black history and consider ways to work toward racial justice. The Diversity and Inclusion Team reminds us of the importance of education and advocacy. 

Learning more and partnering with others are great ways to make progress in establishing signal communities of justice and peace, where everyone is welcomed and valued. 

How can you and your congregation learn more about Black history in your community? What organizations are working for racial justice in your neighborhood, and how can you commit to help them? Learning more and partnering with others are great ways to make progress in establishing signal communities of justice and peace, where everyone is welcomed and valued. 

The church’s ongoing conversations about nonviolence and the resources created by the Peace and Justice and Disciple Formation teams also shape our understanding about how to respond to injustices in ways that embody Jesus, the peaceful One. 

In this issue, you will find interviews by the Council of Twelve Apostles, reflecting different perspectives that help broaden our awareness. If you haven’t been part of the unfolding conversations on nonviolence, look for ways to engage. Everyone’s voice is important as we explore together the role nonviolence plays in the pursuit of “peace on and for the Earth” (Doctrine and Covenants 165:1d) and in the life and mission of the church. 

Soon we will begin the Lenten journey—a perfect time to reflect prayerfully on our response in working toward God’s vision of shalom. As we journey through Lent, we honestly assess actions, behaviors, and attitudes that separate us from God. We gain courage to risk something new as we do our part in responding to God’s call to establish signal communities. 

On my own, it feels overwhelming when I think about the change needed in the world. But when we are together as a worldwide church, I find hope in what we are doing in large and small ways around the globe.

After Lent and Holy Week, we will gather for the 2023 World Conference. We will worship, legislate, dream about the future, explore how to live Christ’s mission, and so much more. 

People around the world are preparing in many ways, such as reviewing legislation and planning travel. I hope you will come and be part of the experience as a delegate or an observer. If you cannot travel, you still can register to watch sessions online. It is important for us to gather as a global faith community so we can draw courage and support one another in responding to God’s call. 

On my own, it feels overwhelming when I think about the change needed in the world. But when we are together as a worldwide church, I find hope in what we are doing in large and small ways around the globe. Community of Christ is establishing signal communities, one transformed life at a time. Have courage to live Christ’s mission in your local context. 

I work best with checklists. Maybe you do, too. So, here’s my checklist for January and February: 

  • Learn about Black history. 
  • Find ways to work for racial justice in my local community. 
  • Engage in the church’s exploration of nonviolence. 
  • Take part in an intentional Lenten journey of prayer and reflection. 
  • Register and prepare for the 2023 World Conference. 

We are sent to create signal communities. God is waiting on you and me. 

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