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Community of Christ in Independence selects female leader for first time

For the first time in its history, the Independence-based Community of Christ has appointed a woman leader. Stassi D. Cramm, who currently serves in the governing first presidency, has spent nearly a quarter of a century in full-time ministry for the religion that, like the much-larger Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, traces its origins to Joseph Smith.

Church historian David Howlett said the fact that she is a woman “represents the promise that all are called, a value that Community of Christ embraces,” according to the “Salt Lake Tribune.”

Cramm became a priest in 1987, three years after the Community of Christ began ordaining women. Since then, she has overseen the organization’s finances and properties as the presiding bishop; served as the dean of the church’s graduate seminary program; and traveled the world offering sermons as a member of the Council of Twelve Apostles.

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Unlike the Utah-based Mormon church, the Community of Christ does not simply promote the most senior apostle to the position of president-prophet. Instead, presidents historically have handpicked their successors, who until the 1990s sprang from direct descendants of Joseph Smith.

That changed with the 2005 appointment of the current prophet-president, Stephen M. Veazey, whose selection represented a joint decision by the Council of Twelve Apostles and the first presidency. After a major health crisis limited Veazey’s ability to fulfill his calling (the faith’s apostles and prophets — unlike those in the LDS Church — do not serve for life), the current leadership followed this same process to land on Cramm’s name. Delegates to the 2025 World Conference from May 30 to June 6 will vote on her appointment.

“I’ve come to understand we are empowered to move onward by the grace of God,” Cramm said. “We can’t recreate the heyday of what was. We can learn from it and build upon it, but we must constantly be making the most of the gift of the present as we lean into what might be as we listen and respond to God’s call.”

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice

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