The Community of Christ is a Christian denomination headquartered in Independence, Missouri in the United States of America. As part of the family of Latter Day Saint denominations, the church traces its historical heritage back to the formation of the movement on 6 April, 1830. The church shares some history and beliefs with other Latter Day Saint denominations, but has tended to chart its own course based on what leaders and members saw as the mind and will of God for the church.
As a separate entity, the Community of Christ first began to emerge on 6 April 1852. For most of its history, the church was known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. While retaining legal control of that name, the church has been known as the Community of Christ since 2001.
Currently, the Community of Christ claims a quarter of a million adherents in over fifty countries. While being an ecumenical body that encourages work with other Christians and faiths on common interests in communities, the church does hold some beliefs and practices that are unique. Some of these beliefs were formulated in the early years of the Latter Day Saint movement, while others have evolved within the unique setting of the Community of Christ.
One of the most distinguishing beliefs of the church is an open canon of scripture. The Community of Christ recognizes the Bible, Book of Mormon, and the Doctrine and Covenants as scripture. Coupled with the concept that God will add more to the canon from time to time, the church also believes in continuing revelation. The president of the faith is understood to be responsible for presenting inspired counsel to a World Conference composed of delegates from around the church. This counsel may be added to the canon with the sustaining vote of the delegates.
Another key aspect of Community of Christ faith is the concept of Zion. Members of the faith understand Zion to include elements of place as well as a state of mind. Bearing some resemblance to the peaceable kingdom of Quakerism and the beloved community of Unitarian Universalism, Zion represents a unity of mind and purpose that is made manifest in caring for all of creation.
Priesthood is also an important characteristic of the Community of Christ. Emphasis is on service to God, the church, and the wider community. Administration of the sacraments and ordinances of the church is limited to priesthood members. Since 1984, priesthood in the church has been open to women. The first ordinations for women occurred in 1985.
Of major importance is the Temple, located in Independence, Missouri. Open to all people, the Temple is utilized for spiritual education and large scale worship services. Since the early 1990’s, the Temple has been the site of the Daily Prayer For Peace, a worship experience that occurs at noon Central Time daily. Each service focuses on a different country around the world, and the current status and well being of that country. Many Community of Christ members who cannot be present for the Daily Prayer For Peace set aside a few moments each day to pray for the well being of that country along with those assembled in the Temple.