By: Lexi Zabel
Graceland recently welcomed Stephen Veazey, the President of Community of Christ on campus for a day. On his visit, InSpire had the privilege of getting to meet with Veazey for their Sunday night class and ask him any questions they had about the church. Veazey explained that Community of Christ church members founded Graceland, and one of the first group of members built the administration building on campus, which was originally the whole college. Many leaders of the church have come to Graceland and some members even have had the responsibility of appointing Graceland’s Board of Trustees. With this being said, when asked about the importance of Graceland to Community of Christ, Veazey mentions how although Graceland does not promote a particular church, it does run by some of the same values of COC. A few examples of these include a healthy community, justice, peace, and value of all people. Overall, the connection between Graceland and Community of Christ is very strong, and because of this, Veazey loves “to stay in touch with voices of young adults and get various perspectives on ideas,” which is what makes this relationship special and unique.
Veazey also made the visit to talk about World Conference 2023. World Conference is a multi-cultural/multi-language gathering made up of COC delegates from all around the world who are voted on by their church. There can be up to 2,800 delegates, but according to Veazey there are usually around 2,000. Veazey explained that this conference is very diverse, and those who have the opportunity to go will meet people from different countries and cultures who are COC members. He believes that people you meet at World Conference become life-long friends and the experience brings the global church family together. This unique conference usually happens every couple of years, but as a result ofCOVID-19 this is the first time in four years where delegates from all around can meet and make decisions for the church. Some of the main topics that will be discussed/resolved this year include climate emergency (concern on climate change & equal justice/develop resources on education & action), Racial Justice Resolutions, Baptism & Membership, resolutions dealing with peace in the middle east, and Resolution on Marriage. On top of these, there are many more actions that the delegates plan to resolve if approved. The theme for the World Conference this year is “Courage,” which is fitting as it takes immense amounts of courage to make decisions and be a representative for thousands of people.
When interviewing student Katie Bover about her opportunity of working with Veazey, she states, “I've had a great experience so far and am really excited to participate in World Conference. I grew up attending the worships and activities of World Conference and have always loved the unique atmosphere and diverse, beautiful community it creates. It's really special to me to get to participate as a delegate this year and be a part of the voting that takes place. Being a delegate at Graceland is also a really unique experience because we are so different than any other delegation; we're all of similar age, already know each other well, and represent Graceland instead of a much larger area. Overall, I'm really looking forward to World Conference and am grateful for the opportunity.”