Category Archives: Messages from the MCP
“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” – Mother Teresa
Community of Christ
Council of Twelve
Southeast USA Mission Field
Please see HERE a list of the questions being asked by pastors across the country as congregations are considering reopening. The majority of these questions have already been posed to me by some of you but I thought it might be helpful for each of you to see all of them. Lancaster is the only congregation which has reopened in the mission center but I know some of you want to have some outdoor gatherings and this also addresses these.
We are reminded that some congregations who have already been reopened may, due to a significant increase in COVID 19 cases, no longer meet the criteria to remain open. This is also addressed in the attached. Each of you may have your own source of information to check and re-check the trends in your area, but here’s a possible tool you can use:
Here are the 4 Supporting Documents to assist in planning for in-person congregational gathering.
The only one which needs to be sent to MC President (Vern) is the four page Congregational Plan for Reopening.
Vern will also need to know who is responsible for keeping copies of the Cleaning and Sanitizing checklists and the Attendance/Participant Tracking rosters if not the Facility Health Officer. These are to be kept on file as previously discussed.
Plan for Reopening Final– send to Vern upon completion
After much discussion and review of current public health data, the SPEC leadership team made the difficult decision to cancel SPECTACULAR 2020. Our SPEC community draws people of different ages and varying degrees of immuno-security from all over North America. As we thought about the SPEC experience—the way we live, eat, learn, play, and worship together—our ability to maintain the recommended physical distance of 6-10 feet and a coronavirus-free environment would be nearly impossible.
Questions about some kind of online experience for 2020 and allowing current seniors an additional year of eligibility in 2021 are still under discussion and more information will be shared when it is available.
We are heartbroken about not being able to gather this summer and will deeply miss this week of forming sacred community together. While we ache alongside all our campers and staff at the loss this means in all of our lives, we are confident that this is the most responsible choice for this time.
It is with regret that we have decided to cancel all Community of Christ summer camps at Camp Bountiful. This includes Junior Camp, Junior High Camp, Senior High Camp and Family Camp/Reunion.
The heart of our camping is gathering in community. We gather at the shelter house, for classes, for meals and fellowship, around the Peace Patio, at the pool and an assortment of other activities. We are not able to have such gatherings and maintain any semblance of distancing and we have no way of making sleeping accommodations safe for everyone.
We look forward to a vaccine for COVID-19 and the ability to gather with joy and safety in 2021.
Anyone who has already sent a deposit for any of these camps will receive a refund.
Connie Altman, Bountiful Mission Center
Vern Foster, Western Ohio Mission Center
Update: Our Continued Response to COVID-19 Virus Pandemic
The First Presidency has continued to monitor recommendations from professional health organizations about preventing the spread of COVID-19. Many nations continue to recommend the suspension of group gatherings. Based on our review, the First Presidency is advising congregations and mission centers to continue suspending church gatherings. Read more.
The International Youth Forum (IYF) originally scheduled for July 2021 will be postponed until 2023. On the recommendation from the IYF 2021 Directors Team, the Council of Twelve made this difficult decision for several reasons. For many participants and their families, the first payments for travel reservations are due soon. That would not be possible for many people who are experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 situation. The team also recognizes the budget impact this pandemic may have on the church’s finances and its ability to fund an event like IYF in the coming months. IYF Le Buena Fe, in Honduras has also been postponed to a future date. More details will be shared as they are available.
Living Hope – Easter Worship
As we continue to find new ways of being together when physical distancing guidelines prevent our gatherings, you’re invited to join us for “Living Hope,” a unique online Easter worship experience this year.
On Sunday, April 12 we will be hosting two online gatherings to share in Easter celebration and worship together.
Gathering 1 — 4 a.m. (CDT) Time zone calculator
Gathering 2 — 2 p.m. (CDT) Time zone calculator
By having two gatherings we hope to increase participation around the world and allow people to join in at a reasonable time of their day. Pick the time that best fits your day and worship with us through music, prayers, reflections from members around the world, and a homily by President Steve Veazey.
To provide opportunities for interaction as we all watch from home, we’ll be broadcasting the worship on the church’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds. Viewers will be invited to share in the comments on Facebook and Instagram or by using #CofChristEaster on Twitter at several points during the worship. The broadcast will also be available at www.CofChrist.org/live-webcast and the church’s YouTube channel.
Given the uncertainty of the current situation, we have decided to
cancel Jr Hi retreat. For those who have already paid, you have the
option to have your money refunded or you may use it as a credit for Jr
Hi Camp, which is scheduled for July 5-11. Whichever you choose, please
advise Michelle Howard (email@example.com).
We are still proceeding on the assumption that all summer camps will be
held as scheduled, but we realize that is not entirely in our hands to
The CB Board is looking at alternative financial plans in case the
summer season is cancelled, either in part or entirely. We do have
sufficient funds to weather the storm if it comes to that, but it would
certainly be a blow. We will keep you apprised as we get nearer.
First Presidency Updated Statement
Response to COVID‐19 Virus
20 March 2020
The First Presidency is extending the recommended suspension of church gatherings around the world through at least
Friday, 1 May 2020. Church gatherings are worship services, meals, conferences, funerals, and other group activities. The
Presidency continues to monitor guidance from government and public health agencies around the globe related to the
estimated spread and duration of the COVID‐19 pandemic. However, if local government and public health guidance is
more restrictive than the Presidency’s recommendation, follow local guidance. As new information is available it will be
released and posted at www.CofChrist.org/covid‐19.
As a reminder, the Presidency bases its recommendation on the following principles:
1. The church’s response should emphasize preventative, rather than reactive, strategies to keep the COVID‐19 virus from
spreading as quickly as many infection‐rate models indicate.
2. A primary prevention strategy is “social distancing.” The World Health Organization advises: “Maintain at least 1 metre (3
feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.” According to the USA Centers for Disease
Control, social distancing involves “remaining out of congregant settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining
distance” between people whenever possible. Social distancing is especially challenging for people in church settings.
3. The church’s response should emphasize “protecting the most vulnerable” (Doctrine and Covenants 164:6a) in our
congregations, cities, towns, and villages. This includes our senior members and those already affected by other health
Historic sites will remain closed to the public through at least Friday, 1 May 2020. Based on guidance provided by the
Independence, Missouri, USA mayor, the Temple Complex, including the Peace Pavilion, will remain closed to the public
with all events canceled through at least Friday, 15 May 2020. Headquarters staff at all sites continue to support
operations, but staff presence in the offices is limited to maximize social distancing. Reopening all sites to the public will
continue to be evaluated as the situation unfolds.
Social distancing can cause us to feel isolated from each other and God. We are grateful for the many ways people are
staying “connected” and supporting each other in living Christ’s mission while upholding the strategy of social
distancing. “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? …neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things
present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate
us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:35, 38 NRSV).
As you connect and support each other through the Lenten journey into Holy week and then the Easter season, we ask
you to remember that your congregation, mission center, campgrounds, and World Church have financial
responsibilities even though we are not physically gathering. Please use online giving (www.CofChrist.org/give) or mail in
contributions to support Local and Worldwide Mission Tithes.
The First Presidency