OGDEN -- A quiet circle of discussion, crocheting and weaving marked the activities of Wednesday night's Prayer Shawl Ministry at Ogden's Community of Christ Church.
Just like that session, members of the church are a tight-knit group, leaders say.
"We're kind of a small, intimate group," said Pastor Cindy Lee. "We like the beliefs of the church -- inner peace and a sense of peacefulness with others, and ultimately peace in the world as well."
The church averages about 25 to 30 in attendance each week but has about 50 on the roster.
The 100-year-old building displays many crosses and pictures of Christ. A favorite addition of Lee's is a crown of thorns from the Holy Land that adorns a central cross in the sanctuary.
"Our priesthood includes men and women," said Jean Bruch, of South Ogden.
Lee and her husband, Pastor Perry Lee, both are serving as the current congregation leaders.
The couple was elected into the position by the members. They said most of the older members of the congregation already have served their time as leaders.
The two have put an emphasis on fellowship for their contribution.
"Fellowship is about getting to know each other on a deep, personal level," Cindy Lee said, noting that the Prayer Shawl Ministry has helped with not only community service but also with fellowship of the members.
The couple has initiated classes and discussions on hospitality, so that when people visit the church, members can welcome them warmly.
Community of Christ is an international Christian church with 250,000 members in more than 50 countries, according to information distributed by the church. The church's headquarters, including a temple dedicated to the pursuit of peace, is in Independence, Mo.
The church was organized in 1830 in New York state, according to church publications.
Like the prominent church now based in Utah, the congregation had its beginnings with Joseph Smith.
It was formed by the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who chose not to follow Brigham Young after Smith's death in 1844.
"We proclaim Jesus Christ and promote communities of joy, hope, love, and peace," is the church's mission statement.
Members believe in salvation through exercising faith in Christ.
The church follows nine enduring principles, which are:
- God's grace and generosity.
- Worth of all persons.
- All are called.
- Responsible choices.
- Pursuit of peace.
- Unity in diversity.
- Blessings of community.
- Sacredness in creation.
- Continuing revelation.
In addition to the Bible, members study the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants.
The Lees are hoping publicity about their church will encourage more people to attend.
Anyone is welcome to their services at any time.
Wednesday Prayer Shawl ministry is from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Sunday worship is at 11 a.m. after a 10 a.m. class similar to Sunday School.
Child care is available, and the church is equipped with a cry room.
The Lees say the meetings are casual and are led by those who sign up each week to do so.
"We both work," Perry Lee said. "It would be tough if we had to do it every week."
Families are important to the members.
Bruch said summer camping is a focus of the church, which owns Camp Red Cliff in South Fork in East Ogden Canyon.
She said the camps have an emphasis on youth and family camping.
And the church's temple, built in Independence in 1990, also is very important to the members.
"It's very unusual because of its unusual architecture," Cindy Lee said. "It's dedicated to peace."
Cindy Lee said the community is invited to attend temple services, centered on peace, at noon every day in the temple.
The church also has a heavy emphasis on community service.
A number of members help with food distribution each month at Elim Lutheran Church. Members contribute to other charitable efforts as well.
They make items for charitable groups on their own time outside of the Prayer Shawl group, and they are known to serve dinners at community events and perform other acts of service.
Bruch said, "That's an important part of our activities, volunteering in the community."