Newsletter Edition 11, February 2018

Message from Your
Mission Funding Team
Life is an amazing tapestry of God's blessings. Often those blessings are expressed through the love and generosity of others. And in this month where love is celebrated, what an opportune time to pass God's blessings on to others. 

Love has an infinite capacity to bless us and others, but only if we generously share it. So as we think about how to express love on Valentine's Day, may we reach outside our comfort zone to those around us who feel unloved, alone or frightened. Through our acts of intentional and unexpected generosity, many others may come to know the unconditional love and blessings of God.

Stassi Cramm                                         Dar Shepherdson                                Ken Barrows
presiding bishop                                   bishop of Canada                                mission funding minister

A Dis c iple's Generous Response

Steve and McLane Graffeo outline the steps of the generosity ladder in this father-and-son video from the November 2017 "Witness the Word."
Consider sharing this with your children and youth as part of a Sunday school class or other gathering.

Tips and Insights

In the article "It's Valentine's Day - Let's be Generous with God's Love" from, these ideas are shared to affirm our love for God, for one another and for God's world on Valentine's Day (excerpted).
  1. Start the day by reading Paul's wonderful description of love in 1 Corinthians 13.  
  2. Read some of the wonderful poems ... such as "Fall in Love" by Father Pedro Arrupe or "How to Love God" by Mother Tersa. 
  3. Be generous with your love. The New American Dream suggests rebooting Valentine's Day as Generosity Day, seeing it not as a day to receive gifts of love but to give them. They suggest saying "yes" every time you are asked for a donation, a handout or a request. Give a $5 tip for a $2 cup of coffee. Bring in lunch for your co-workers.
  4. Be generous with your gratitude. Make phone calls to friends you have not spoken to for a while. Tell them how much you appreciate them.
  5. Purchase only ethically produced gifts and chocolates. Are you supporting conflict chocolate? "How to Buy a Conflict Free Valentine's Gift" gives some good suggestions on how to make more informed choices. There are many fair-traded chocolate companies out there and many of them are small, locally owned companies.


Five new brochures, including one on Tithing and one on Whole-Life Stewardship, are now available from www.Herald to help individuals and congregations share the message of Community of Christ.  Order yours now!  

Register now for the March 2-4, 2018 Learning to Walk in the Dark: Finding God in Turbulent Times retreat at Samish Island by contacting  Debra Donohue 1-877-411-2632 ext 4  or  [email protected]

Contribution Update

Worldwide Mission Tithes
Good news! Year-end contributions surpassed the $3.5 million Worldwide Mission Tithes goal set by church leaders for November and December. We are so grateful for the response of members and friends around the world. In addition, the expressions of generosity by congregations and mission centres have been remarkable and made reaching the $3.5 million-dollar goal possible.

Total contributions in 2017 are estimated to be just under $14.7 million, based on this, the Presiding Bishopric will be recommending a 2018 goal of $14.7 million for Worldwide Mission Tithes to the World Church Finance Board. We are blessed by the faithfulness and generosity of all those who passionately support the mission of the church.

Bridge of Hope Tithes
In Canada pledges to Bridge of Hope total $8.5 million, in the United States the total is just over $58 million.

Canada West Mission Centre and Congregations Commit $1 Million Dollars!
A series of decisions by four congregations and the Canada West Mission Centre has resulted in a total of $1 million dollars being designated towards Bridge of Hope and Worldwide Mission Tithes.
In the order in which their decisions were reported they include the Calgary Congregation, the Victoria congregation; the Vancouver congregation; the Edmonton congregation; the Canada West Mission Centre, and funds from the proceeds received from the now-closed Paddockwood congregation.
All these contributions represent giving from the "true capacity" of each contributor. Calgary and Edmonton committed funds from reserves arising from the sale of urban church properties. Other congregations and the mission centre have contributed generously from the funds and reserves accumulated over many years from individual donations, bequests, fund-raising, building rentals, and good stewardship of financial resources. Other congregations have discussed a desire to contribute, so future contributions are likely as they determine their ability to give.
Appreciation is extended to all for their generosity demonstrating their love and support for the church and Christ's mission.

Look for more stories from Canada East Mission Centre and Canada West Mission Centre in upcoming newsletters.
Mission in Action

Read the article from the January/February Herald about how Kathy and Joel Ross from Venetia, Pennsylvania, were open to new expressions of the church when one of Kathy's cousins died.

Pathway to Abundant Generosity

This month's scripture is from Ephesians, and the reflection is " Remembering the Unquantifiable Love of God " by Christina Fox (excerpted).

  ... Know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.  
-Ephesians 3:19 NRSV

When I was in elementary school, each year before Valentine's Day we would bring in an empty shoebox. We would cover those boxes with pink and red papers and heart shaped cut-outs, and then add our names in big, sparkly letters.

When Valentine's Day finally arrived, our classmates would drop cards into a slit cut out at the top of the box. When you went home that afternoon, you counted your cards to see how many friends you had-it was a childish way to measure your worth.

These days we don't need shoebox Valentines for that, we have social media. Based on the number of likes, follows, retweets, and pins, we can tally up how many "friends" we have, still boiling things down to numbers.

The love God has for us is beyond numbers and can't be tallied. When God promised to bless Abraham with countless children, he used the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore as a metaphor. These are things people simply cannot count.

Unlike many human relationships, we can't add to God's love for us. We can't do anything to make God "unfriend" us. God's love is not based on what we can do or what we have to offer.

In our own flesh, our love for others would always be conditional and dependent on how others treat us. But because God has poured out immeasurable, unquantifiable love through Christ, we have been changed.  We've been given the Spirit who now lives within us. As the Spirit works in us, making us more like Jesus, he enables us to love in a new and different way. Through the work of the Spirit, we can give without expecting anything in return. We can be patient, kind, and compassionate. We can love as Jesus loves.

So this Valentine's Day, as the world keeps a tally of love, may we never forget that God's love for us is greater than anything we can imagine. It is immeasurable, steadfast, and permanent. And that same amazing love has been given to us to extend it to others. May we give that love, without keeping score, knowing that God's love for us keeps no record.
living generously.

By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one  another .
-John 13:35 NRSV