The Flesh of the Church
Greg Savage of Lee’s Summit, MO, USA
Beloved Community of Christ, do not just speak and sing of Zion. Live, love, and share as Zion. -Doctrine and Covenants 165:6
During the severe cutbacks of the church there was a lot of anxiety among the employees. Even though I was retained in my position, I had survivor’s guilt because many friends and colleagues were not, and I experienced a profound sadness and loss. With half of the department gone, what were we going to do? How were we going to accomplish our tasks with fewer colleagues to do the work we were being asked to do?
Several times after the cuts, and even at World Conference, I would hear the comment that the Church staff was at the “bare bones” level. And as a survivor, I started referring to myself as one of the “bare bones.” I mentioned it to Charmaine Chvala-Smith, the pastor to our Order of Bishops; and she reflected on Ezekiel’s experience in a valley with bare bones and what the Lord could do with a seemingly hopeless situation (chapter 37). This was a turning point for me in remembering that God is in charge, regardless of our human circumstances. In that vision, Ezekiel saw what God could do with “bare bones,” putting them together with muscle, tendon, and skin; then breathing in life and giving Spirit so they might live again.
Today, the Spirit breathes new life into the church through the vision that President/Prophet Veazey presented to the church. We are called to build a financial bridge to fund future ministry throughout the world and in the USA and Canada with the Worldwide Mission Endowment/Canadian Reserve. My colleagues and I, along with many other World Church leaders, will play an integral part in raising those funds through the “integrated” giving process. The foundation of this process is Sustained Annual Giving to current World Church and local mission tithes equally, and all members are asked to participate. The second part is Major Giving to the Worldwide Mission Endowment/Canadian Reserve. Some individuals and families are able, and will want, to give an additional gift over a specific time to the respective endowment. The third aspect of integrated giving is Legacy Giving. Many will want to make significant gifts to their local congregation/mission center and World Church endowments through their wills and trusts.
My colleagues and I are trained to assist members and friends in putting their estate plans together. This is why I love my work! I have the privilege of visiting church families in their homes to thank them for all they have done for the church over their years of service. Also, I work with them in creating an inheritance for their family and at the same time make a special gift to the church in promoting the peace of Christ in the world. It’s a win-win!
“In God’s hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of every human being” (Job 12:10).
All That Lives
Sit quietly and sense God’s presence flowing through the trees and all creation. Offer a prayer of gratitude for your connection to all that lives. Ask for grace to discern and carry out one small act of justice or healing that creates greater wholeness for the plants, animals, trees, waters, air, and land that are part of the community of creation.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.