FROM THE DESK OF - ISSUE 64
The High Priests Quorum – Quorum President David Van Fleet
The high priests have met four times between conference and the beginning of August to discuss the "Letter of Instruction" written by President Joseph Smith III, studying recommendations for enriching prayer services, and listening to Elder Alex VunCannon’s two-part class titled, "Church of the Firstborn." The high priests are now reviewing a proposed resolution to convert President Smith’s 1912 "Letter of Instruction," which can be found in Volume 6, pages 560 – 575 of Church History, into a resolution to serve, if approved, as permanent guidance to the Church in the matter of succession in presidency. The RLDS Church followed the procedure contained in this letter in the selection of Frederick M. Smith, Israel A. Smith, and W. Wallace Smith, but of course Wallace B. Smith was ordained as president of the Church while his father, W. Wallace Smith, was still alive. However, this guidance has not been accepted as binding previously, and making this a lawful process unto the Church will help ensure smooth transitions in the future.
The high priests are also studying ways to enrich prayer services based on internal discussions and several written references, including Harry Doty’s book, Prayer Meetings. The high priests will meet again in September to revise and/or complete their recommendations and submit them to the First Presidency for their review. It is hoped that the already uplifting prayer services held in the branches of the Church can be raised to "Himalayan" levels.
The classes by Elder VunCannon were found to be insightful and faith-strengthening and, as a result, his class will be repeated in a three Sunday evening class at First Branch in Independence, Missouri. The dates for this class are October 11, 18, and 25 at 6:00 PM CDT. Everyone is welcome to attend, and it is planned that these classes will be carried on live-stream for those living out of town.
Music Department – Sister Barbara Sherer
It’s been a busy year for the musicians in the Center Place. Their talents are so appreciated by the Saints. The musical drama, "Journey to the Land of Promise" at April’s General Conference, was amazing. It was exciting to see the new and young talents blossom as they magnified their gifts of music for all to hear and see.
Members of the Remnant Church have been invited to participate in a Hymn Fest of Thanksgiving on November 14, a Saturday evening at 7:30 PM at the Stone Church. Sister Alice Beebe will direct a combined choir for all to come and sing. Two rehearsals will be scheduled in the near future. What a wonderful chance to sing in a choir in the Stone Church. What a wonderful opportunity to share once again with those who share our early years of the Restoration. What a wonderful opportunity to bask in the beauty of the Stone Church and let memories flow. I’m excited. I hope you are also. Come join in a night of Thanksgiving. An audience and singers are needed.
The Children’s Hymnal Committee has been hard at work. We have chosen the songs and are in the process of getting the copyrights for them, along with getting them into a final format and ready to print. Andrew VunCannon is working hard getting the songs ready to go. We have had lots of fun reminiscing about what songs we liked as children, along with looking at many new songs. Excitement is building as we close in on completing this project. Several of the new songs have been tried with the youth at reunions and camps, and we are encouraged at the response. The songs in this hymnal will be emphasizing the distinctions of our faith. Hopefully they will be sung and memorized so they might find a place in the hearts of our children to help them in their childhood days and carry them on to another generation. Several workshops will be held to help everyone learn them. Members of this committee are Sisters Ardyce Nordeen, Cindy Patience, and Barbara Sherer.
A hymnal committee consisting of Apostle Terry Patience, Sister Linda VerDught, Patriarch Carl VunCannon, and myself felt we should first check on the cost of reprinting our "Hymnal of the Remnant Saints" on to a lighter paper. After reviewing the cost with the First Presidency, it was determined to wait for any reproductions of the hymnal at this time.
There are approximately sixty new hymnals available for purchase at $7.00 each with shipping cost added if needed. Piano hymnals will be printed at the headquarters office on an as-needed basis. That cost will be determined at time of printing.
Priests’ Quorum – Quorum President Keith Cruickshank
In an effort to further increase the ministry of the Aaronic Priesthood, the Priest’s Quorum, along with other men comprising the rest of the Aaronic Priesthood quorums, was invited to stand in front of the congregation before the Summer Series evening service on July 12. They offered silent prayers for the service and for the ministry of angels to come and reside with the Saints during that service. This summer the Aaronic Priesthood also did this same priesthood activity at several reunions and camps. On July 1, as President of the Priest’s Quorum, I also visited the Sperry, Oklahoma Branch and attended their priesthood meeting.
Women’s Council – Sister Marci Damon
The Women’s Council is excited to share their plans and programs for the up-coming months. In April we said good-bye to two very active members of the Council. Beckie Hogan’s smile and "We can do this!" attitude will be greatly missed, but we wish her the very best in her future endeavors in serving the Lord. Christy Williams was chairperson of the Council for four years. Her dedication and hard work will be deeply missed, but we wish her the very best in her future service for the Lord. The Council added to their members Sisters Connie Boswell from Center Branch and Deborah Schuelke from First Branch. The Council also has a new chairperson, Sister Marci Damon.
The Women’s Council has been busy putting together a mission statement and handbook for guiding the Council in their work. The Women’s Council mission statement is: "To aid the women of the church in developing their spiritual gifts and talents for the building of Zion." This handbook will provide members with guidelines for selecting new members, running meetings, and defining job descriptions. It is the desire of the Council that this handbook will help members better understand their duties and service while participating on the Council.
Programs of education, fellowship, and worship are being planned for the upcoming months. The Council members are looking at two opportunities to provide educational classes. The first will be during the October Women’s Retreat, on October, 2-4, 2015, and the second will be in February, 2016, a one day workshop. The Council is anxiously working on themes, class material, and even investigating the use of live-streaming for the workshop. This will allow the women in outlying branches, and those that are isolated, to be able to watch the sessions. We are also hoping to be able to set up a way for women watching the live-stream to send in questions and make comments. Please keep these two opportunities to learn, worship, and fellowship in your prayers as the Council continues their preparation for the retreat and workshop; more news to come!
The opportunities to fellowship, visit, and lift each other’s spirits is always important and the Women’s Council is planning something very special for the Women’s Reception at the 2016 Conference in April. We are hoping that as many ladies as possible will be able to attend this particular reception this coming conference. We do not want to let the "cat out of the bag," so please do not try to get any of the members to spill the beans, but we do hope that no "Sister in Christ" will miss out on this very special activity at Conference.
Another project by the Council will be to update and enlarge the Women’s Council page on the Remnant Church’s website. It is the desire of the Council to be able to provide informational articles that will be of benefit to individual branch Women’s Departments. The first article to be placed on the website will give guidelines on how to set up a visiting program in your branch. The article will give directions on how to set up and run a program where visiting will occur for those who are sick (in a hospital or rehab center), those who are college age youth, and those who are "home bound." We encourage all leaders of their branch Women’s Departments to look at this information and use that which would be of most benefit to their branch.
The Council would also like to take this time to briefly introduce the women on the Council. The Council is comprised of two representatives from Blue Springs Branch, Center Branch, and First Branch, and one representative from Bountiful Branch. Each woman will serve for a total of four years on the Council. Please allow each sister on the Council to introduce themselves to you.
Sister Ardyce Nordeen is from the Blue Springs Branch. She states that serving on the Women’s Council is an honor and a privilege. It is a somewhat new dimension for her since most of her service in the Church through the years has been child-centered, but she is excited and challenged by the opportunities to work side-by-side with sisters in the faith to do the Lord’s will in these last days.
Sister Pat Walsh is also from the Blue Springs Branch. Pat and her husband, Rod, moved to Independence in 1974. They have attended the Blue Springs Branch since the mid 1990s. She is a retired first grade teacher from the Independence School District. Although a relatively new member of the Women’s Council, Pat has enjoyed working with, and learning from, this dedicated group of women. She looks forward to continued service as the Council works together on ideas for helping all women of the Church use their gifts and talents for the building of Zion.
Sister Connie Boswell is from Center Branch. Connie was born and raised near Lamoni, Iowa, and is the sixth generation in the Restored gospel. She has lived in the Independence, Missouri, area since 1989. Connie is a self-employed artist who loves painting and playing the Native American flute. Connie is married to Bill Derr who is branch president of Center Branch.
Sister Cindy Patience is also from Center Branch. The 2015-2016 year will be the last year she serves on the Women’s Council. She has felt blessed to have been a part of the planning and carrying out of the events offered for our women. She has learned that you can continue to serve in the midst of trials and challenges. It is her prayer that the Lord will use the Council as He sees fit to uplift the wonderful women of this Church. If there is one message that she would leave for the handmaidens right now it is to prepare. First of all, prepare your hearts to endure and to share; prepare for Zion; prepare your families and your homes temporally and spiritually in order that our neighborhoods can be shining lights in times of trouble and that generosity and love will prevail.
Sister Alisa Friedrich is from First Branch. She resides in Blue Springs, Missouri, with her husband, David, and their pets. She is a Library Media Specialist at Sni-A-Bar Elementary in Grain Valley, Missouri. She is currently serving her fourth year on the Women’s Council. She appreciates the opportunities she has had to help organize and attend programs and retreats for the women of the Church and is thankful for the growth they have provided her. She also enjoyed helping coordinate a Zumba class on Monday evenings at the Conference Center. She is thankful for all the wonderful Saints she has met on her journey with the Council and appreciates the opportunity to serve.
Sister Deborah Schuelke is also from First Branch. She was born in Hobbs, New Mexico. Her family moved to Midland, Texas in 1960 where she met and married Roger Schuelke. They have three sons who live in Texas with their families. The Lord led Deborah and Roger to the Remnant Church in 2005. They followed the Lord’s plan to gather in 2010 when they moved to the Center Place. She is thankful for the opportunity, with the Lord’s help, to work on the Women’s Council.
Sister Marci Damon is from Bountiful Branch. She has had the wonderful opportunity to assist in developing and organizing some of the various programs that the Women’s Council have provided over the last several years. In serving in this capacity, she has learned that the Lord will guide your every step when you step out in faith and do the best that you can do. It is her hope that the Lord will continue to guide her as she serves on the Women’s Council.