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Conference Actions 2004

2004 World Conference Actions

Conference delegates have taken the following action,
which will be published as indicated.

World Conference Format and Frequency

Approved March 31, 2004

1277. Whereas, The Bylaws of the Community of Christ specify that conferences meet "as agreed upon by those who constitute their membership" (Article IV, Section 1); and

Whereas, The issue of the frequency of the World Conference has been discussed from time to time by church leaders, the Conference Organization and Procedures Committee, and the World Conference (WCR 1253); and

Whereas, The church has a history of adjusting the intervals between World Conferences and the formats of these Conferences as the church has grown and the needs for ministry have changed; and

Whereas, The World Conference of 1998 expressed its desire for the church to consider broadening the focus of World Conference "beyond legislative endeavors to include such things as education and training components for leadership and spiritual development for all ages" (WCR 1263); and

Whereas, It is desirable that the church "meet together often" while still recognizing that the need for the primary focus of church resources should be on ministries in the field; and

Whereas, The costs of attending World Conference as well as other educational and fellowship events is increasing both in terms of actual funds expended and in terms of the opportunities that are lost when leaders are required to devote large amounts of time to Conference planning and when members travel long distances to attend these events on a too frequent basis; and

Whereas, The World Church Leadership Council has given lengthy consideration to alternative ways to schedule World Conference and also accommodate the need for other educational and fellowship events, including those in field, mission center, and other jurisdictional settings; now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the World Conference shall continue to be held biennially, but that these gatherings shall alternate between those with primarily legislative purposes and those with primarily educational and fellowship purposes; and be it further

Resolved, That all World Conferences shall have delegates elected according to the rules of representation in the Bylaws of the Community of Christ (Article IV, Section 2); and be it further

Resolved, That Conferences with primarily legislative purposes shall continue to be conducted in a manner and format generally similar to current World Conferences; and be it further

Resolved, That Conferences with primarily educational and fellowship purposes shall have a restricted legislative agenda limited to consideration of prophetic documents submitted by the president of the church, changes in the leading quorums, budget projections, approval of ordinations, required elections (i.e., Graceland Board of Trustees, World Church Finance Board), and such other items of business as shall be deemed by the First Presidency to be of such urgency or significance as to require their consideration sooner than the next legislative Conference; and be it further

Resolved, That for a primarily educational and fellowship Conference, those items of business recommended by the First Presidency as having special urgency shall wherever possible be published in the Herald sixty (60) days in advance, and in any case shall be considered only upon the concurrence of two-thirds of the delegates present and voting at the World Conference; and be it further

Resolved, That the World Conference of 2006 be primarily devoted to educational and fellowship purposes and the World Conference of 2008 be primarily devoted to legislative purposes; and be it further

Resolved, That the First Presidency provide for a full evaluation of this method of holding World Conferences, including a survey of Conference delegates, and submit further recommendations to the 2008 World Conference.


Selection of Graceland University Trustees

Approved March 31, 2004

(Supersedes WCR 1185)

1278. Whereas, A number of members of the Graceland University Board of Trustees are elected by the World Conference under provisions of the Articles of Incorporation of Graceland University; and

Whereas, The selection of trustees should be based on an awareness of the particular areas of expertise needed on the board as well as an understanding of the qualifications of the persons nominated and the personal commitment of the prospective trustee; and

Whereas, The effectiveness of this process is increased by the members of the Conference being made fully aware of all available and valid information; therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Graceland University Corporate Body (First Presidency, Presiding Bishopric, and president of the Council of Twelve) be urged to consult with other church leaders, the Board of Trustees, the Alumni Association, Graceland student government, and any other interested groups or persons as necessary, to determine the existing and needed strengths of the board in filling expiring terms or vacancies; and be it further

Resolved, That upon completion of that study the Corporate Body provide the World Conference with a list of nominees for election to the Graceland University Board of Trustees, containing at least one name for each vacancy; and be it further

Resolved, That the First Presidency transmit these recommendations to the World Conference, including a summary of the criteria and considerations used in selecting the nominees, this information to be published at least sixty days prior to the convening of the World Conference; and be it further

Resolved, That this procedure not deny the right of nomination directly by members of the World Conference; and be it further

Resolved, That this resolution supersede WCR 1185 and become effective at the conclusion of the 2004 World Conference.


Dialogue on Homosexuality

Approved April 1, 2004

1279. Whereas, The church has been called to a loving and respectful dialogue on the issue of homosexuality as it pertains to the life of the church; and

Whereas, A process called "Listening Circles" has been developed for use throughout the church, with persons currently being trained to facilitate these sessions; and

Whereas, The Listening Circles are in their earliest stages and have not yet been implemented in most jurisdictions of the church; and

Whereas, The issue of homosexuality is a difficult and often divisive question that must be handled with sensitivity and care because people of faith and goodwill hold very different views about it, and because of pastoral concern for the lives of those families directly affected; and

Whereas, The World Church Leadership Council adopted a statement in September 2002 titled "Community, Common Consent, and the Issue of Homosexuality," which affirms that the principles regarding calling and ordination contained in the March 18, 1982, Standing High Council Statement on Homosexuality would without exception govern church polity on this question "unless it is adjusted through the common consent of the people"; and

Whereas, The experience of other religious bodies has demonstrated the serious consequences that occur when their legislative assemblies prematurely vote on these matters without prayerful, thoughtful, and informed dialogue; and

Whereas, We have been divinely directed to pursue peace and to seek reconciliation and healing of the spirit (Doctrine and Covenants 156:5a), which instruction obligates us to use every possible means to resolve conflict, honor the worth of all persons, and seek God's will on matters of disagreement within the body; therefore, be it

Resolved, That Items G-5, G-6, G-10, G-11, and G-12 be referred without prejudice or specific action to the First Presidency so as to not hinder or limit the continuing dialogue on this issue within the church; and be it further

Resolved, That the 2004 World Conference encourage the use of Listening Circles within all jurisdictions of the church where it is culturally appropriate; and be it further

Resolved, That the First Presidency report to the 2006 World Conference on the progress of the Listening Circles, along with recommendations as to further steps that may be appropriate to the mission and ministries of the church; and be it further

Resolved, That in the two-year period between now and the next World Conference, the Committee on Homosexuality and the Church currently in place be allowed to further study the effects of passing a resolution for or against homosexuals in the priesthood in the many countries where there is church activity; and be it further

Resolved, That the aforementioned committee be allowed to continue to look for ways to reach understanding and a compromise that can protect the church's unity and be in keeping with our mission statement, which will be reported to the next legislative World Conference.


Acknowledgment of Level Two Leaders

Approved April 2, 2004

1280. Resolved, That this 2004 World Conference record appreciation of the many years of service given by the presiding officers of the level two jurisdictions that have been or soon will be discontinued due to the implementation of the new mission center structure.


Organ and Tissue Donation--The Gift of Life

Approved April 2, 2004

1281. Whereas, Similar to blood donations, there is a great need for organ and tissue donations-for example, in the United States, the waiting list for organ donations is approximately 100,000, with annual donations of approximately 20,000, and similar needs exist in other countries; therefore, be it

Resolved, That we recognize the great need for organ, tissue, and blood donations, and where culturally, morally, and legally acceptable and allowed by governmental approval and appropriate medical assistance, we encourage all interested people to consider potential circumstances whereby such donations can be anticipated and give the gift of life.


Prayers for the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper

Approved April 3, 2004

1282. Whereas, The First Presidency has the authority to interpret the scripture and law of the church, including our understanding of the contextual use of language; and

Whereas, The Community of Christ has an inclusive language policy, such that many church publications, including our hymnody, have been revised; and

Whereas, Translations of these prayers are currently being used in scores of languages (both classical and tribal) other than English; and

Whereas, These translations are already being used in jurisdictions comprising over half the total active membership of the church; and

Whereas, Some of these translations include language that is both less gender specific and in far more contemporary language; therefore, be it

Resolved, That the World Conference request the First Presidency to create and authorize optional alternative Communion prayers, containing contemporary language; and be it further

Resolved, That such optional, alternative Communion prayers be printed in future church publications as deemed appropriate by the First Presidency.


Communicating the Gospel

Approved April 3, 2004

1283. Whereas, It is clearly evident that the world is changing very rapidly technologically and sociologically; and

Whereas, This change includes the way individuals look at the world as a result of a pervasive shift from a modern to a postmodern worldview; and

Whereas, Statistics indicate the church is not adequately reaching younger generations; therefore, be it

Resolved, That the First Presidency establish an advisory council of youth and young adults who can (1) advise the appropriate offices of the church on techniques to better utilize high-tech, virtual methods of communicating the gospel; (2) explore ways to better communicate to persons with a postmodern worldview; and (3) serve as a test group for new ideas which may emerge from the aforementioned recommendations; and be it further

Resolved, That the ideas deemed successful and effective by the advisory council test group experience be communicated to mission centers and congregations in a prompt manner; and be it further

Resolved, That the advisory council will present a report to the next legislative World Conference.



Approved April 3, 2004

1284. Whereas, Our church, as a prophetic people, seeks to promote peace and justice in all places, and that being called to be a prophetic church is a real call to the needs of those who hunger and thirst for justice; and

Whereas, The vision and mission of the church is to promote joy, hope, love, and peace as we seek to build Zion in the world today; and

Whereas, The current economic model, as promoted by the current global powers, discriminates against the weakest and causes division, exclusion, and marginality between and within our peoples; therefore, be it

Resolved, That the First Presidency ask the Human Rights Committee to prepare and develop a declaration concerning globalization; and be it further

Resolved, That the World Church through its ministries involve itself in the proclamation of peace and justice in conjunction with those within the jurisdictions of the church who live with social and economic discrimination daily; and be it further

Resolved, That the development of this declaration include the active participation of representatives of those places where globalization is negatively affecting lives.


International Church Language and Resources

Approved April 3, 2004

1285. Whereas, The Community of Christ is an international church represented in more than fifty nations; and

Whereas, The World Church is "international" by definition, but the term "international" is sometimes erroneously used to describe the church outside the United States of America and Canada through the use of phrases such as "International Field" or "International Leaders"; and

Whereas, There have been initiatives to produce resources to reflect the diversity in language and culture that is represented within the church's global community resulting in the production of resources in many languages, for example, in the Spanish, French, and English languages; and

Whereas, Many of the resources that are produced in different languages are translated from English-language resources and are not always translated in a timely manner; and

Whereas, Resources are produced throughout the church, many of which may not be published in English, that could be used to further enhance the diversity of the church; and

Whereas, There has been a desire to align resources to assist mission fields in their mission; and

Whereas, We gratefully acknowledge the initiatives by the church under the "Words for the World" emphasis; therefore, be it

Resolved, That the church use language in its literature and dialogue that respects the international nature of the church; and be it further

Resolved, That when the church publishes resources in English, that these resources be simultaneously published in as many languages as is practicable and to the extent such publication is culturally appropriate; and be it further

Resolved, That the First Presidency develop means to facilitate the exchange of resources from various jurisdictions throughout the church.


Languages of the Church

Approved April 3, 2004

1286. Whereas, The Community of Christ is an international church established in many nations with a membership speaking many different languages; and

Whereas, Church headquarters support is constantly expanding their services to the many language groups of the church, providing translations, and developing new international resources; and

Whereas, The World Conference, while acknowledging the many languages represented by World Conference delegates, makes a modest but very important effort to provide translation of texts and debate in at least three widely understood languages of the church (French, Spanish, and English); and

Whereas, Resolutions frequently call for reports following Conference "to the wider membership" of the church, or require publication of information or resolutions "to the church at large" prior to Conference and that these resolutions commonly refer to the Herald (an English-language church periodical) as the key communication device of the church, sometimes seeming to imply that publication in the Herald is the same as informing the wider or general church membership; therefore, be it

Resolved, That framers of future resolutions be encouraged to be more inclusive in their language to show greater respect and recognition of the large proportion of church members who do not speak English; and be it further

Resolved, That this Conference suggest a modest, minimum standard, whereby when this Conference's intention is to inform the wider or general membership, all references to publication in the Herald be replaced by language that requires, at the very least, for the information to be translated and distributed in the three primary languages used by the church (Spanish, French, and English); and be it further

Resolved, That writers of future World Conference resolutions be encouraged to write their resolutions in such a way that the desire of this World Conference to be inclusive of non-English-speakers be reflected.

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