Today on Project Zion podcast, we welcome Meghan and Jayson Gray to share what it was like growing up in Community of Christ. Having grown up in the Independence area and now raising their own child in "the shadow of the Temple" Meghan and Jason share their perspective on what keeps them engaged with Community of Christ and their hopes for the future.
Host: Brittany Mangelson
Guests: Meghan and Jayson Gray
Today on Project Zion podcast, we welcome Meghan and Jayson Gray to share what it was like growing up in Community of Christ. Having grown up in the Independence area and now raising their own child in "the shadow of the Temple" Meghan and Jason share their perspective on what keeps them engaged with Community of Christ and their hopes for the future.
Host: Brittany Mangelson
Guests: Meghan and Jayson Gray
339 | Chai Can't Even | Meghan and Jason Gray
Project Zion Podcast
Josh Mangelson 00:17
Welcome to the Project Zion Podcast. This podcast explores the unique spiritual and theological gifts Community of Christ offers for today's world.
Brittany Mangelson 00:33
Hello, everyone, welcome to Project Zion Podcast. This is Brittany Mangelson and I'm going to be your host for today. We are going to do one of my favorite interviews to do part of the series Chai Can't Even, which is where we talk to young adults, adults, millennials, however you want to define it in Community of Christ. So the reason why I really like these episodes is because I did not grow up in Community of Christ. And so I always like to hear how people experienced the church who were kind of in my same age range. And it's just really interesting to see the different perspectives. We've interviewed people from all over the place and it's just really interesting. So today, we've got on Meghan and Jason Gray, who are from Blue Springs, Missouri. So usually these episodes that I do have just been with one person, but I decided to get both of them on today. And I'm really excited. I met Meghan and Jason at World Conference, nope, not last year in 2019. We're now in 2021. I guess a little while ago. Yeah. And we're just going to talk about their experience growing up and Community of Christ and all that and what they're looking forward to in the future. So Meghan, and Jason, welcome to Project Zion! Why don't you to introduce yourself a little bit.
Meghan Gray 01:58
Yeah, thanks, are glad to be here. So I'm Meghan and I am a high priest in Community of Christ. I've I am serving on my congregations, Pastorate team and have done that in prior years for quite a number of years. I work at the Art Museum in Kansas City. It's the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art. I am My title is Curatorial Associate in European Paintings and Sculpture. And I manage the museum's first digital catalog. And it's going to be all 106 French paintings and pastels dating from 1600 to 1945. So that's what I do in my in my work life.
Jason Gray 02:41
And I'm Jason Meghan's husband. I am an elder in Community of Christ. I currently don't have any leadership positions in our congregation. But I did serve for a few years as our congregational financial officer. During the day, I'm a project manager at an advertising agency here in Kansas City called VNL and in the evenings on a leader in our son's Cub Scout pack. So I've been doing that for several years. And I really enjoy it as I was a scout myself as a kid.
Meghan Gray 03:14
Yeah. So as Jason alluded to, we do have a son, he's 11, his name is Andrew, and we just got a dog a few months ago, which is a big deal. So yay, we have a nice little family here in Blue Springs.
Brittany Mangelson 03:27
COVID pet! Yes!
Meghan Gray 03:30
Brittany Mangelson 03:34
Oh, excellent. Well, like I said, I'm really excited to have you guys on today and just learn a little bit more about you. So let's get started. Uh, I think I know the answer to this. But did you both grow up Community of Christ? And what was that like? Did you attend camps? Just how was it to, well, I guess I'm making the assumption now, but how was it to grow up in the church? And if you didn't, what was your conversion story like?
Jason Gray 04:04
You are correct. You're accurate. We did both grow up in the church on the back then it was the RLDS church. But yeah, I was born and raised in the church, my parents, both parents, all four of my grandparents were church members. My grandpa on my mom's side was actually a bishop and an appointee ministry for a number of years. So he along with my grandma, you know, they traveled around with the church, but also both worked at the auditorium in independence for a while. So you know, that was a fun memory for me as a as a little kid. I remember going into the auditorium trying to find my grandma's office up on the fifth floor, I think it was, which you know, that building is just a maze of ramps and rooms and so getting lost in there, but I was always around the church. From from a very early age. Interestingly, I now that all four of my grandparents have passed away. In my immediate family, I am now the only one still a member of the church. So both of my parents have since left the church, and so has my younger sister and you and your brother.
Meghan Gray 05:20
Yeah, I also grew up in the church, and both sides of my family are church members. My mom, Sue Sloane is the world church secretary. And my dad, Jared Sloane, just retired in 2020, right before, right before all of the pandemic hit. He was the central mission center president. And you know, even my great grandparents moved to Independence from Connecticut in the 1940s, because they were gathering to the center place. I mean, I have fond memories of the temple being built. And I had, you know, I was a kid at the time. And I had a little journal that I kept and I journaled about what the temple would mean to me. And I would count the week, we would have holes that we would in our windows, as we hoped and prayed for the temple to be built. So I would count those candles. And I would see and I was very excited because my mom's new office is going to be in the temple. And that was a really big deal to me, I think to a lot of us at the time, it was a big deal. And I had my first job at the campus swimming pool. So the mission center there, the local jurisdiction in town had had a swimming pool, and now that's gone. But some sports fields, baseball fields and stuff, various things. So I worked at the pool, so you know, very ingrained in church all through my life.
Jason Gray 06:44
And, you know, Brittany, you asked about camps. I mean, both of us, I think camps were a big part of growing up in the church, I can remember going to reunion family camp with with my family growing up. We went to camp donathan, up in Excelsior Springs, Missouri, and went there for congregational retreats in the winter. And then as I got older, went to went to junior camp, went to the International Youth Forum, when I was in high school, and a couple years down at spec are up at SPEC Spectacular at Graceland. But interestingly for me, I didn't ever attend Senior High camp. And that was because I spent all of those summers as a counselor at our local boy scout camp. So I was off doing that for 65 days all summer long. And that didn't leave any time to go to senior high camp because I took the one little bit of vacation, I had to go to spectacular every year.
Meghan Gray 07:44
Yeah, I attended all those same camps. I did attend Senior High camp and junior high camp and Jason and I actually became better friends at spec. We kind of knew each other a little bit. But we were on the same soccer team. It's back and became good friends. And then you know, later that same year, I invited him to my 16th birthday party. So we've known each other a long time.
Brittany Mangelson 08:11
I love this.
Jason Gray 08:15
This is where we say, and the rest is history. Right?
Brittany Mangelson 08:17
Yeah, exactly! And we're done. Let your imagination run wild. I love it. I absolutely love it. So I'm a little curious, and this is again, something that I'm always curious about because I didn't grow up in Community of Christ, and now that my kids are growing up in Community of Christ, it's just always interesting, the opportunities for ministry that have been provided to them. Granted, we are now in the COVID world, so things look a little different. But I'm wondering how you were treated as a kid in your congregations, how you were mentored?Where you given opportunities to serve, or to figure out what you wanted to do how you wanted to be engaged in your community? Or did you feel like a burden? Because I do know, you know, some congregations aren't overly prepared for kids. I'm just curious to know what your what your experience was.
Meghan Gray 09:15
Yeah, I mean, I think I had lots of opportunities growing up to, you know, be up front and say prayers, participate in things. I had some, some wonderful youth ministers and people that helped mentor me. But I think I also I mean, I had some times more as a preteen teen and then later as a young adult where I felt kind of left out or sometimes I felt sort of steamrolled like, you know, I don't really care what you have to say we're just going to keep doing it the way you know, this other person wants so you know, it's not always rosy and perfect. But I mean, the good thing about living in the Independence area is that if you, if you feel really hurt by something by someone or a certain place, you can go and find your, you know your niche somewhere else. So, so that is a good thing. But I think I also had sort of a, well, I had a different experience than Jason did. And that because my dad worked for the mission center, his whole career and my whole life, he was assigned to be pastor of several different congregations in the area. So I went to four different congregations as I was growing up, and, you know, met lots of different people and lots of different friends and saw how things were done a little bit differently in different places. So that was beneficial.
Jason Gray 10:41
That wasn't all at the same time, though. So not
Meghan Gray 10:43
Jason Gray 10:44
not pastor at four congregations simultaneously,
Meghan Gray 10:46
Jason Gray 10:47
over, over a span of several years, he moved from one one to the other. So yeah, I on the other hand, I attended the same congregation, my whole childhood, it was actually the same congregation that my grandparents went to, which is why my family attended that creation. So I attended there until I went off to college. But my family was really active in our congregation. Every Sunday morning, we were at church. And my dad was a deacon, my mom was a teacher. And we had a really great really vibrant congregation, great youth ministry program. Like Meghan, I, I don't remember ever feeling like I couldn't do anything. And maybe that was because my dad was a deacon. And we were there at all times of the day. And so kind of feeling like I had the run of the building. But in terms of mentors, there's not any one person that sticks out in my mind as the mentor, there's a lot of great people that I can remember providing great ministry that I kind of try to emulate now, maybe. But one time that sticks out, in my mind was an older gentleman. I think he was an appointee minister or had been, he took me and, and one of the other guys aside, and this was when I was at early teens. And he said, I can't remember the exact words, but it was basically to the effect of, you know, I think you guys are gonna be great leaders someday. And I really see a lot of potential and really see that you're going to do great things in in this church in the future. And that, that kind of always really stuck with me, not as a not as a pressure, but just I don't know, stuck with me and helping my dad a lot, I think really showed me what it was like to be a deacon. And I learned how to be attentive to the needs and the things that were going on around me. You know, whether it be running around with a microphone while people were given, you know, testimonies during services or at reunion. But interestingly enough, I actually never was a deacon. I was never ordained a deacon. I first priesthood office was a priest, and then later got ordained as an elder. I think some of that may have happened just because, you know, I graduated high school, I went off to college and got kind of disconnected from my local congregation. And so when I then came back, after college, we got married, we started going to a different congregation. And so I just kind of skipped over that stays, I guess. But yeah.
Brittany Mangelson 13:41
That actually brings me to the next question. I'm just curious about how you were engaged or disengaged in the church when you were in college? I mean, did you? Did you go to Graceland? Did you have a pressure to maybe, you know, find a congregation while you were in college or only date members of the church? Just kind of, you know, what, what did? I'd like this little like, nope. Because again, it's just so different from my experience growing up. But yeah,
Jason Gray 14:17
Yeah, sure. Oh, I can remember as a senior in high school, you know, I started looking at colleges and, and I actually went around and visited a couple different colleges. And the places I went to visit were because I had friends from church that were attending those colleges. And so that's why I went and I went and visited them and visited the school. Interestingly, Graceland wasn't on that list. And looking back on it, I don't know why. But we I ended up at Central Missouri State University kind of in the middle of Missouri, which part of the reason I think was because my grandparents lived there. block from campus. But it was good school, I knew people that were there. And Community of Christ had a strong presence there, both in town, but also, there was a really strong campus ministry called liahona student fellowship. And that was my primary connection with the church during college. You know, there were times where I or some of us would attend the Sunday services at the local congregation there in town. And they did, the congregation did a lot to support the students who were part of liahona. They had an adopted grandparent program. So people, unlike me, who actually had grandparents there, but all the other committee members, different people in the congregation would adopt them as their kind of grandkids and have them over for dinner and just kind of created some relationships there. So there was a great dynamic between the local congregation and our campus ministry. But that was my main connection to the church during during college.
Meghan Gray 16:08
Yeah, so and I also ended up but well, now it's called the University of Central Missouri in warrensburg. And I went there because they had the major that I wanted to study. And unfortunately Graceland didn't, because I did consider Graceland. And I remember that I showed up on campus to, you know, just to take a tour of campus and there was Jason, and he was actually, I think you were my tour guide that at least one time. So you know, I kept running into him. And he happened to live kind of close by and one of the the dorm rooms. And so every Tuesday, I think it was he would show up at my dorm room and say, Hey, you ready to go to liahona? Let's go to Liahona. So, you know, I went a couple of times, and it's for me, I'm not like a super outgoing person. So it's kind of hard sometimes to find your place in a new group of people. So it was it was a little uncomfortable. At first, I wasn't sure I really wanted to go, but he kept coming to my door every week, every week, you ready? Let's go to light how to come on, let's go to liahona. So, so I started to go. And then liahona decided they were going to have this big Christmas program and they were going to raise money for a charity. So as part of this program, they were going to, they're going to dance in the church, which was, you know, big deal. Yeah. So we were gonna do a swing dancing number, and we happen to just get paired up. And then from there, you know, it was like, oh, maybe, maybe there's a little interest here between the two of us, maybe there's something more so you know, after at that point, then we started dating and eventually got engaged. And so I think, you know, Liahona not only kept me connected to the church, but helped me find my husband's. Yeah, but I mean, I have to say to that liahona had a huge impact on my, my spiritual life and on my, my self confidence in, you know, what I could do as a leader, and also expanding my thoughts, my theological thoughts, you know, not that everybody always agreed with the way I thought about things, but it was great to be able to talk about it with other people and know that nobody is going to, you know, get mad at you and kick you out or something. So, yeah, liahona was really very influential and very important, I think, for both of us.
Brittany Mangelson 18:41
Yeah. So, Jason, I'm gonna put you on the spot a little bit here. Did you keep inviting Megan, because you were hoping to, you know, grow that relationship? Or were you just really excited about liahona and wanted to hang out with the Community of Christ?
Jason Gray 18:59
You know, that the way Meghan tells the story, you might think it was that I was interested in her. But I mean, she would tell you, I was a bit of a big flirt back then. And so No, I was just friendly. And it was somebody that I knew from, from back home, and yeah, I was, it was more like you said, I was a big fan of liahona. And so it's, I'm an I'm an extrovert. So for me, it's like, hey, the more people I can bring to the party, like the more fun it is for me, so yeah, it was all about that. She She was actually dating some other guy at the time and, but it was really then once we got paired up for that, that dancing number. Sparks kind of happened from there.
Brittany Mangelson 19:47
That's great. I am glad it all worked out.
Jason Gray 19:51
I was just, I was just being a minister. You know, witnessing and inviting I was I had no ulterior motive, Brittany!
Brittany Mangelson 19:58
Yeah, just being invitational! It’s great. So another thing that I'm always curious about because you can be so involved in your congregation as youth, and as a young adults, and like you said, You both were involved with the liahona program campus ministries. I'm just wondering if those skills kind of came in handy as you were going through school or starting your career? Do you think that you maybe had a head start with any leadership skills or community building skills just because of your experiences in the church?
Jason Gray 20:41
Yeah, I, I'll go all the way back to high school actually. And say, I think that's where I started realizing that I could be a leader, and started doing some of the leadership skills that I then kind of continue to build on throughout college. So when in high school we had, they were steaks back then we had a statewide youth ministry called harbor Knights that met in Independence at one of the congregations. And so, you know, it was once a week, all the different congregations came together, that it started with praise music, and then they broke into small groups. And each one of those groups were led by older youth. And so I got to be one of those leaders, and lead one of those groups. And so that was really one of the first times I remember being a leader, and specifically a leader in a in a church setting. You know, we had separate planning meetings where we had to, you know, learn about the Scriptures for that week and work through the material and prepare kind of how we were going to take our groups through the discussion. And I think, as anybody who's prepared a sermon can probably relate to, when you have to dig through the material, you really gain a deeper understanding of it, when you then have to prepare it to share with somebody else. So that was the first really of several leadership roles, you know, as I went into college and got involved in different organizations, beyond liahona, but throughout campus, you know, and then that continued, after we got out of college, Megan and I were fortunate enough to get invited to be part of a program for young adults, that john chatburn was leaving out called emerging leaders. And it was I would describe it almost as a mini seminary program, where we met every couple of months. And one time, Tony and Charmaine came in and led a session, but we had different guest speakers. And it was really about growing future leaders of the church. And so that was a great opportunity for us. But that really connected us with a lot of other young adults in the mission center. And we started organizing other young adult activities for our whole mission center as part of that. And so that was, I think all of those things kind of helped us not only grow as a leader, but also gave us the opportunities to be leaders.
Meghan Gray 23:20
Yeah, and I mean, not to go back to Liahona. Because as I said, that was like, really, that was really influential to me. But no, I was, I was really inspired by watching other student leaders, Sarah Dowell and Kari Twombly, had both been presidents of Liahona. And I think I decided pretty quickly that that's what I wanted to do. So, you know, eventually, I think I can't remember if I only did it, one year or two years, but I that's what I wanted to do. I wanted to lead the group. So having that leadership experience there, we also would do our program was to do a sort of chats session where you would, you know, come up with some theological question or scripture or something, and you would, you know, talk together as students. So leading some of that was great experience. And then I feel really blessed that I was called to priesthood right out of college. I will I mean, I actually got the call while I was in college. And so I was ordained an elder when I was 21. And I think that that can be hard for some kids that age young adults at age if you're not really plugged into a home congregation. And so even though I was primarily down at school, doing my ministry, I guess, you know, my, my pastor had enough faith in me or saw enough potential in me so that, you know, he brought this call to me, so that that was really amazing. I felt very humbled at that point. And so then, you know, there was still that challenge. I think that a lot of students face of having to reintegrate with your congregation if you come back home, or perhaps finding a new place to worship. So I think they were, they were fairly accepting of us. And I also tend to be the types of nuts like, I'd rather not just sit back and wait for something to happen, I'll volunteer to help make it happen. So, you know, I've started planning worships right away. And I haven't really ever stopped. That's kind of one of my things, planning, worships. And yeah, I think we've, as Jason said, we've had a lot of a lot of different experiences in helping with youth groups or young adult ministries, we participated in something called volume for a while that was kind of a contemporary worship. We did you know, we had New Year's Eve parties was kind of one of our things that we tried to do in our, in our mission center. And so there was a lot of different things we were involved in. And then I was ordained a high priest in 2016, when I was 34. So that also was very humbling. But I love that this church allows young adults and youth and you know, really, really anybody to share their talents and their ministry, and to also be able to hold priesthood offices to bring ministry and that we find the value in all persons. And that's, that's really important. We've also been reunion directors for several years. We, we've served, he and I, Jason, I have both served on the pastorate. I've continued to do so for quite a long time, I've served on the health and wholeness team at the world church level, I know there's a lot of different, so many different ways that you can grow and use leadership skills.
Brittany Mangelson 27:04
So yeah, so it sounds like you both have had a wide variety of different opportunities that have come your way. I think that that is also one thing that I really like about Community of Christ is there's so many different areas of ministry that you can kind of dip your toe in, and regardless of priesthood office, or whether you're a disciple, or whether you're a new member or a seasoned member, there's just so much that that you can get involved in and, Megan, I have to say that worship planning is one of my favorite things to do as well. It's a lot of fun. And sometimes it's, well, it's just always interesting, because as a worship planner, you can tell like, you know, kind of whether you've nailed the service or not like whether it's going well or not. And it's it is one of those things that does bring some level of pretty instant gratification just knowing that you've kind of created this place where people can feel God's love and grow together as a community. So that's one of my favorite things.
Meghan Gray 28:07
Brittany Mangelson 28:10
So, I'm pretty sure that you think that religious communities are important that church is important. But I'd like to hear more of your thoughts on that. You know, as you know, so many people in our generation have stepped away from church or have found themselves in this spiritual but not religious place. I'm a firm believer in community, I think that I'm a better person when I worship with other people or when my theology is challenged, or I can collaborate with others. But I'm wondering what your thoughts are on that in the value of religious communities still, in this day and age?
Meghan Gray 28:51
Well, I think so often, I've, well, I've recently noticed a lot that it even though people may step away from the church, they tend to always turn back to it when they have major life events. So you know, if it's a wedding, you've got a new baby, maybe you want to have a baby blessing, or if someone passes away, and you need a funeral, or even if it's not a funeral, but it's that community that can be there that can help nurture you and bring you food if you're ill. Definitely the prayers. I think people always are turning back for prayer in major life situations. And I think the community of fellowship is so important. I think that community is is definitely there at the heart of it all that you still want that community to help you, you know, if it's celebrating your major life events or just in your day to day life, the friendships that you have. And I think as you said, Brittany, it's a great point that you can also be challenged in your, in your theology and your religious thinking is great for personal growth.
Jason Gray 30:02
Yeah, I would agree for me, it's it's community, you know, our group of friends and our church community are, are kind of intertwined in many ways. But it raises an interesting question. I think, as we're looking at what the future church looks like, you know, one of the questions a few of us have talked about is, what's what's different between just getting together with a group of friends and, and having a community versus a church community and a faith community. And I think that's a real challenge to church today is that people are finding that community and other places, you my kid plays sports. And so I'm traveling on the weekends, and I'm building this community with other parents, because their kids are playing sports as well. And more and more Sundays becoming less than a sacred time that there's sports games happening then. But you know, for example, my sister, you know, her and her husband, they're, they have a gym, and they go do CrossFit and that is their community. That's their people that they connect with. It's their support group and so they have found what we find in church. They're finding other places. And so I think that's one of the really relevant questions for us right now is, what can a church community bring? That's unique that people can't find other places? And I think the flip side of that question, which our small group of friends have ever really wrestled with recently is, so if, if there's four or five families, that all happen to be church members, but we just like hanging out. And so we get together and play board games one night, right? Is that a church fellowship thing? Or is that just friends getting together? And and where are the lines between that and particularly as we start to try and create space for non church people, or friends or parts of our family that we want to maybe bring back to church? Can we invite them to those activities, kind of as a, as a gateway opportunity to get them back engaged with the faith community? But it's, we've really struggled with that of like, how do you transition it from, hey, come over for New Year's Eve to have a party and play games to, hey, this group's now meeting on a on a weekly basis or a monthly basis. And that has some faith aspect to it. You know, I you don't want people to feel like it's a bait and switch. Wait, you're inviting me over to play board games. And now you're talking about prayer requests and scripture like, Whoa, so I think that's something we're still struggling with. And that's a big question for me, as we look at the future church, where are those lines? And how do we connect with people where they are right? Okay, you go to the gym and you do CrossFit? How does that have a faith aspect to it, maybe and blend the two together? I don't know, but I think that's that sense of community is really relevant for today. But we have to figure out a way that people are finding it different and more than what they can find other places.
Brittany Mangelson 33:44
I'm asking myself those same questions, especially with ministry here in Utah, because people want community and they want to learn about Community of Christ, but they also don't really want to be at the receiving end of quote/unquote, "missionary work." And so it's really, it's really awkward, because I've, I've just tried to, you know, follow their lead. And if they ask questions, but then I still genuinely want to be people's friends. And even if they aren't interested in the church, it doesn't mean that the friendship has to end so it's just kind of this awkward, it almost feels like dating sometimes back when we were like, when do you have that conversation to quote unquote, "move it to the next leve"l or like, different things and just, maybe that's just because I'm socially awkward, but there's my confession for you all. It can be awkward!
Jason Gray 34:41
I can totally relate to that. I think for me, part of that challenge is, do we have fellowship activities and church related activities that aren't formal church that feel more accessible to those people? Like you're saying, you know, what point do you bring your new boyfriend or girlfriend to Thanksgiving dinner? Right? That's kind of taking it up a level, right? But if if the family's just getting together and going to the movies, maybe they can tag along. So that's a great kind of analogy, Brittany and thinking about it. Yeah.
Brittany Mangelson 35:23
So I guess, I guess with all of this, I'm curious to know, what keeps you engaged in Community of Christ. So it sounds like you have a core group of friends that maybe just so happened to be members of the church. But what keeps you going to your congregation? And again, we're in COVID, so answer that however you want whatever going to your congregation looks like right now. But yeah, what what keeps you engaged in the life of your congregation?
Jason Gray 35:53
Well, it may be interesting at this point, just to say that, that core group of friends that we have, they actually attend other congregations. So what's interesting is, we get together within and we can talk about church stuff, and we can talk about what's going on in each of our congregations. But when it comes to Sunday morning, formal worship, we're actually not with them, we're with a different group of people.
Meghan Gray 36:19
Yeah I was gonna say, at our, at our congregation level, probably one of the big things that keep us coming back every Sunday is that my grandparents go there, and my parents go there. And it's, it's like, this family time that you, you know, you get to see your family, once a week. I mean, I love my congregation, I love the people in it. But you know, when you've, I mean, that was one of the reasons why we we chose to go to, to my home congregation when we got married was because my family was there. And, and it, it really was a big draw. And it's nice when you know, you have kids, and then grandparents are there to help take care of the kids, it's really helpful. But I think on a on a much broader scale. You know, I have always had a passion for Community of Christ. I think that probably part of it was at the time in my teens, when I started to really have sort of a faith crisis. And, you know, I started to question some of this theology, and, you know, some of these people in my congregation that would teach my Sunday school classes, taking the Bible very literally. And it was, it was really hard for me to square that all off with, you know, some of the things I was learning some of the experiences I was having. And I would come home regularly from Sunday school, and talk to my parents and cry, like it was like a regular weekly thing, gonna cry and work through what we've heard through Sunday school, was really hard. But that was also coming right about the same time that the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, was going to change their name to Community of Christ. And I think also at that same moment, because we took on this new name, you know, we stopped having to say what we weren't. And we started to move away from saying, We're the true one true church. And these these sorts of things that felt really, like boxing, boxed me in. So I think at this moment that they were starting to, you know, explore that and kind of proclaim their identity. I was also trying to figure out, you know, my theology and my identity in this religious community. And so it, it, I think we kind of were growing at the same time. And it was just such a, it was such a beautiful, powerful thing to have, you know, to, to attend conference and hear. Grant McMurray and Steve Veazey talking about the church and saying these things like, you know, the earth matters and ecology and when you have to take care of the earth, and you know, we need to be paying attention to our youth and our young adults and of course, you know, peace and justice and all of these just wonderful things that Community of Christ stands for just just spoke to me and just makes my heart sing. So I have, I have a very big passion for Community of Christ, at its, at its core self.
Jason Gray 39:25
I, on the other hand, I mean, to your question about what keeps us active and involved for our local congregation for me, it's, it's just a habit, honestly. I mean, as bad as that may sound like, I mean, as I grew up, we went to church every Sunday, like, that's just what you did. And now we have a kid and like, that's just what we do. In i guess i frame it that way. Because for me like that corporate worship on Sunday morning isn't a real powerful experience for me often, it's just kind of going through the motions, I get more out of the small group ministry and the times with our friends. So I think there's something more something different that I kind of am searching for. But I'm still connected to the larger church. And, you know, some of the more powerful times for me is, you know, going to World Conference and sitting in the auditorium and, and singing some of these hymns that with hundreds and 1000s of people from all over the world like, going, "Wow, this, this is powerful!" like, so I still have that strong connection to the denomination. You know, I really connect with ideas of worth of all persons and sacredness of, of creation. So, my connection, and kind of what keeps me coming back are some of those larger principles and that feeling of man, we're part of something bigger here.
Meghan Gray 41:10
Yeah, I want to say that World Conference is also one of those things that so I mean, it's so powerful to me too, especially when you you, you all raise your voices in song together and keep, like Jason was saying, hundreds and 1000s of voices all singing together to praise God. And I always love it when the Tahitian saying, and that's just the music is very important. But especially being in that corporate worship together and seeing across cultures and continents. And it's just amazing.
Brittany Mangelson 41:44
No, I completely agree with everything both of you just said, I think that, you know, I grew up going to church, and in a lot of ways, church has always been a habit for me. And it has been interesting, because of COVID. You know, our congregation, all congregations, most congregations, at least in the US aren't meeting face to face like we are used to. And I have felt more of a loss in that than I expected, which might sound weird, but I missed it more than I thought that I would. And I think that maybe how long this has dragged on has aided in that, you know, I it's kind of interesting, when I think back to the beginning of the pandemic and thinking, "Okay, this might go on, you know, maybe for three months tops, and then here we are almost a year later, and there doesn't seem to be an end in sight." But yeah, it's it is interesting how we can feel connected on a local level. And then on a World Church level, which again, I relate to, I've been to the last two World Conferences, and just seeing the Worldwide Church has been really, really important for me, because the church in Utah looks very different than the church looks in Missouri or in Tahiti or anywhere else. Yeah. So yeah, just recognizing that, you know, here in Utah, we are 100% are the religious are a religious minority, and then yeah, rolling up into I just remember, yeah, rolling up into the temple parking lot for the first time and just kind of breathing a sigh of relief, like, "Oh! These folks will actually understand me to some degree!" It's a good, it's a good feeling to feel like you're home with your people. So I totally get that. So what would you say are some of the challenges being a millennial in Community of Christ or being a young adult? And then I'm just kind of curious to your thoughts on the church, maybe adapting to the needs of younger families, with families with little kids. changing technology, just things that, you know, maybe some of our, the older generations in the church haven't really been used to just what are your What are your thoughts on all of that?
Jason Gray 44:05
Well, I, I'm flattered to ask you ask that question in that way, because I just turned 40, about two weeks ago, and Meghan keeps reminding how I'm old now.
Meghan Gray 44:18
Because I'm younger.
Jason Gray 44:19
Yes, she's, she's not there yet. But I think for me, if I had to boil it down to one thing, I would say it's about transitions. So transitioning from being a young adult, to now just, I guess I'm just an adult, like so I you know, as a, when you're in senior high, you have that identity, right? When you're a young adult, you have that identity and then now that I'm not in that 18 to 35 category anymore, like so I guess I'm just an adult. I think the other piece for me is, especially in our mission center, and I don't know if it's this way, in other parts of the church, but youth programming is huge. So when you're in junior high and senior high, you know, there is a lot of great programming that the mission Center and the congregations put on, we do it really well. And we do it really big. But then, when you become a young adult, I feel like a lot of that goes away. And so that transition can, I think, be hard on people. Because your people, your community is going to senior high camp in the summer going to spectacular, and then all of a sudden, you graduate high school, and you can't do that anymore. You know, so it feels like a void, I think. And then Fortunately for us, when we went to college, we had a church community, and Liahona that we were able to connect with. So you know, that transition was a little bit easier. But I think about people that wouldn't have that they may be the only Community of Christ person at their college. I can't imagine what that transition is like, because you're disconnected from your your local home congregation that you were up in there may not be a nearby commune of Christ congregation. And then once you graduate college, and you transition back to the, you know, the real world, whether you're coming back to your home congregation, or you're going somewhere new, you know, like, like we did, we got married, and I started going to a brand new congregation. So now you've got another transition. And so just I think there's an opportunity for the church to make those transition points maybe easier, as we make sure we don't lose the connection with with people as they move through those different stages.
Meghan Gray 46:54
Yeah, I was thinking, you know about being a millennial, and what might have been hard that when we had a young child, you know, Andrew is now 11. So don't feel quite this way anymore. But when he was really young, you know, it was hard to go to church and feel like you could pay attention. Sometimes, especially when he was really little, you know, there wasn't always something for him to go to. And so we've spent a lot of time in the back and trying to keep him keep his attention so that he wasn't being too noisy. And you know, you didn't always get much out of coming to church and that's hard. And I'm sure that's happening in other places. You know, we're lucky, as he's gotten older, he's always had really great Sunday school, there's always been youth ministers and people that want to work with the kids at our congregation. I know that that's not always the case, at other places, they may not have enough kids to really devote to that time. But I think with with COVID, and having to go online, some of that has really been up ended, at least for our congregation. And we have mostly focused just on the adult worships. And you know, Andrew will come with us to them, but he tends to not listen, you know, he's which I'm not sure that he listened that much in when we were in person either. But there was always Sunday school or something else for him to go to. So he we have been in our congregation has been offering a junior church thing virtually later in the morning that he goes to, but my goodness or sir, aren't very many kids going and and they aren't coming to regular adult worship, either. I just think that we've they've I don't know, I hope that they come back when we are in person again. So I think that has been really hard to keep those connections, and to be creative on ways that we keep the kids involved and connected. I don't know, we did do, we had we, our congregation has always done a special Christmas time event for kids. It's really supposed to be an outreach ministry, but our own children as well just really love it. And, you know, it's kind of a ministry for the youth as well. But with COVID, we decided well, we would try and do it online. And it worked pretty well. It was certainly a lot easier to put on. A lot less planning and a lot less people that had to be involved. That was really nice. And I think the kids enjoyed it. But even still, you know, our reach just wasn't as broad as it usually is. So that's certainly a challenge right now.
Brittany Mangelson 49:48
Yeah, once again, I relate to everything that you both said. I think that it can be, I've seen the transition period for several people where it's like oh, And I can tell that we're, we're not doing enough to support them. But then what do we need to do and, and I, I've heard from a lot of people in the church who have various degrees of activities or activity levels, but it seems to be those points of transition, that that's kind of either the make or break and whether or not there's continued engagement, because there needs to be that relationship there needs to be trust, I think, in our young adults and in, like you said, Jason, just regular adults, that, uh, you know, even if we haven't been leading congregations for a while, or leading worship or whatever, that there, there needs to be that that trust, and I get the sense that in some mission centers and congregations that trust might not be, I don't want to say that it's not there. But it might not be as readily available to kind of pass the torch on down and to let younger people step up in some of the programming and the formation of the community. And I think that during those transitions, if those aren't there, and then maybe that people can more easily slip away. And then I definitely know what it's like to be a young parent with, you know, with young kids. We found Community of Christ when my twins were three and oh, my goodness, bless our congregation, because they put up with a lot. Oh, it's hard, though. And it's it's so hard to feel, yeah, like you are getting anything out of it. Because you pack everybody up. And then, yeah, church can be a little bit of a disaster with young children. So, yeah, it's yeah (laughter). So we've talked about, you know, some of the good things about Community of Christ, what keeps you both engaged, and then maybe some of the challenges, but what do you see as some of the biggest challenges collectively as a church as we move forward together?
Jason Gray 52:08
Um, I think we've talked about community. So I mean, I feel like we could say the, "the word of the day for this episode is community." It means focusing on fostering that community is, is super important. We've talked about that worldwide community, we're fortunate enough that we've been able to host a lot of different people for as World Conference delegates over the years. And that's helped us connect with that world wide community. You know, we know Amson and Rashmirekha Mallick in India, we're friends now with Chantal and Henning Muller in Germany. Gina Colvin, in New Zealand, right, you guys, you know, whether it be within the US or around the world, we now have all these connections with so many people. And so I think, as we think about like technology, and as we think about the church moving forward is how do we provide visibility and connectedness to that larger community?
Meghan Gray 53:13
Well, I know there's been a lot of conversation across the church recently, and I think there's been the whole terminology about, you know, church, 2.0, to church 3.0. With church 2.0 being what the the current way that we're doing church, well, maybe not on zoom, but you know, the way we do worship and that sort of thing, to what might be the future of church, what that might look like, you know, I, I keep finding people that want to just perfect our old way of doing things. And they really think that, you know, if we could just have better sermons, or we could have the Oregon play more often, or, you know, if we had better PowerPoint, it would fix all our problems, and people would start coming back to church. And, you know, we just, I think, I think a lot of people, some people realize that that's not going to solve all the problems and that people are moving away from organized religion. And I think what I would really love to see is that, that focus on Zion, but actually living it out, you know, we preach and teach and sing about Zion, but we need to live love and create Zion. How do we create more authentic communities that don't just meet on Sunday mornings to talk about a better world, but actually go out and build that better world? I think that's the big challenge for us.
Jason Gray 54:51
Well, I mean, I got my degree in marketing and so I think about it kind of through that lens and, you know, the first step is How do we catch people's eyes and attention and grab a piece of their time, you know, we've, we talked about, there's a lot of different things pulling at people's time and attention right now. So we've got to have something unique, that draws them in that they can't find other places. I have really appreciated over the last several years, how the church has gotten more clear on their identity, mission and message and distill that down. We've had, we've had other young adult friends that they participated in Community of Christ, and then they went to the church down the street, and another denomination, and I just, again, the marketer and me says, oh, man, we've we've failed to establish what our brand is, as Community of Christ. If people think that they can just go down the street to a different congregation and different denomination, and get the same thing, and, and I get it, everybody has different things that they need and that they're searching for. But there's something really powerful to know, our brand, you know, that loving community and promoting joy, hope, love and peace. You know, there's something unique about that. And I think we need to make sure that that's clear and tangible for people that come in contact with our church, and they can see that it's, it's different. And then once we get them connected to that, like Megan said, we got to, we got to meet them where they are and what their needs are. So providing relevant and meaningful experiences, that maybe more or maybe different than just sitting in a pew, listening to their traditional worship service, once a week on Sunday mornings. How do we practice the radical hospitality? How do we give people opportunities to put their values into action and make a difference in the world?
Brittany Mangelson 57:10
I really appreciated how you both articulated that. And honestly, it, it reminded me of President Veazey's while the article in The Herald a little while ago, the metamorphosis, this idea that you know, we are becoming a new creation as a community. And it's going to be the same, but yet very different. And it's going to be the essence of who we are. And yet, it's going to look different, and no one really knows what that is going to look like. And it's going to take structural changes, it's going to take a shift in expectations, things like that. And it's nerve racking, but also really exciting to be part of, at least from my perspective. And then I also am glad that you articulated, Jason, kind of this tension of seeing people who, you know, have been engaged in Community of Christ, suddenly find themselves in a different faith community. And maybe being a little puzzled by that I have experienced that as well. And just knowing that, you know, the church down the street, or across the valley, or wherever, that these people that I know, have ended up just knowing that they're their theology, their values, their sense of mission is so different from what we are, that I've been left wondering, like, man, did we not get the message across, because I don't actually think that their values line up with that church, and yet, maybe their programming is stronger, or you know, their youth program is stronger. So that's why they're going there. But like, oh, it just always feels like such a missed opportunity that maybe, you know, I or we didn't, didn't do a good enough job maybe to share who we are. And I know that that's probably not what it is. But it's it can feel that way. So I hear you.
Jason Gray 59:00
And I think part of that is as a congregation, right, how are you connecting people to that larger mission and and message that the that the world church is putting out? Right? So I mean, like I said, they've done a great job of kind of distilling a lot of that down, but then to get it disseminated out to all the congregations and congregations to pick that up and, and really embrace it and to embody it? That's the big challenge. That's the delivery mechanism, right. And so, you know, I know we have people in our congregation that don't go to mission center conference, don't go to World Conference. They're not engaged at those larger levels, which, for us living in the shadow of the Temple is as some people say, like, it's kind of baffling to me, like, you talked about how great of an experience it is coming to World Conference, like when it's in your own backyard, like some people kind of take it for granted. had been. And they're missing out on that larger understanding and that larger connection that, for me is a big part of Community of Christ and what attracts me and keeps me engaged in Community of Christ.
Brittany Mangelson 1:00:17
Yeah, really well said. So with with all of this, how do you think that then we, as adults can turn around and help the youth? Help empower youth so maybe they don't get stuck in, you know, those little gaps of transition, like we talked about? Or that they can feel empowered to take on leadership roles and to find their own value in Community of Christ?
Jason Gray 1:00:47
Yeah, I think empower is a great word. But I think there's some prerequisites before you can empower them. I think first, you have to trust them. use that word earlier, right? Do we trust our youth? Are we going to give them the opportunity to, to lead and try things? In last summer, our congregation had a series of conversations around, what is the future of of church look like? And it's, it's clear, there are a lot of people that are afraid of change. And so some of those conversations go to "Well, yeah, our youth are the are the future of the church", and this and that. I, I kind of pause and go, "Yeah, let's look around. I think the young adults in the youth are, are the church now? Right? That's the current church!" And, and I think it's hard to, you know, for some of us to step back and, and hand over the keys to that next generation and say, I can trust you to take this somewhere and not have that is or to try something new and different that that might not work, or we've tried that before. I think the other part about it is just listening. Like, are we are we listening to what people want? and need? And are we willing to accept that it might be different from what I want and need? And that's okay, and then how do we meet in the middle? Or do multiple things to meet those various needs?
Meghan Gray 1:02:24
Yeah. And I'm wondering, too, you know, are we even asking them asking the youth, what they want and what they need? Are we assuming that we know what they want need that they want? You know, loud, vibrant, contemporary music? Maybe, but there's, there may be many more things or other other things that they need instead.
Jason Gray 1:02:47
Yeah, I think, you know, we talked about some of the ministries we were involved in, you know, during college, and just out of college as young adults and praise bands, and, and music was a big component of that. And I don't know, if it's just evolved, or, you know, I'm finding now, like, there's a lot of hymns that I really love. You know, it's not a praise band being up front. But there's some great hymns like, you know, For Everyone Born, that is an awesome hymn. And so I think the other tendency sometimes is we put everybody in these boxes of, well, the younger generation wants, Praise, praise bands, and we need to do stuff like that, where there's older folks that love that type of music as well. And on the flip side, there's younger people that love a good hymn, I think.
Brittany Mangelson 1:03:40
I think you're right, I think you're right. I think it's interesting. I've done several of these interviews before, and I'm not sure anyone has really said, well, just ask the youth, you know, what, what do they want? And I think that that's really important. To assume that we know what they want in worship and activities and programming and how they are to be mentored, you know, because I think that it's it's an interesting thing, when we think about how you guys said that sometimes people just think if we just make the PowerPoint a little bit better if we just perfect the hymns or we do this or do this and and it's always in within the box of what we've always done. If we mentor people in the same way that it's quote, unquote, always been done. Are we really helping birth something new, that will be something that the youth can easily transition to? So I feel like I'm processing what you said, as you're saying it and I'm a fan.
Jason Gray 1:04:47
Yet, it's interesting, just having this conversation. One thing that comes to my mind is we're actually watching a show on Disney+ right now called Imagineering and a core part of that is, you know how they create all these fancy new rides in the Disney parks, but they're always working outside of the box. Like they are not constrained by any one of the the Imagineers said, like, we knew what we wanted to do. But the technology didn't exist. So we had to go create it, like, so I think what you said about we're sticking in the box, it's scary, and it's hard to break out of that. But like, and what, what would it be like if we just all sat around and said, What if, or we focus less on the how, and just imagine and dream for a little while. And then once we figure out the dream that we want, then we can figure out maybe how we might get there. And it may take little steps. And it may be a long journey. But anyway, just an anecdote that came to mind as we were talking about that.
Brittany Mangelson 1:06:03
I appreciate it. I think it's, I think it's really good. And we've watched that show on Disney+, too and it's very great. So there's my little plug for that.
Meghan Gray 1:06:14
I was gonna say in thinking about asking teens and preteens to participate and be a part of church, just this just today, actually, I had asked a brother and sister to do a drama for church. And not only did they say yes, which was great, but they they came back to me and said, "Hey, would you mind if we just rewrote this a little bit, you know, rewrote the script?" "Sure, that's great." They did send it to me to, to, you know, make sure I approved, but they added a rap into it. So, you know, I could see that in my day, you know, when I was a kid, I think there'd be a lot of people that might have been a little worried about there being some rap music happening in the middle of church service. But you know, it was wonderful, it was wonderful that they put their stamp on it, they were excited about it, they really made it a really great video that we were able to show for church. And I saw everybody in the congregation on zoom, just their smiles light up, and they, you know, they silently clapped in the background there. It was wonderful.
Brittany Mangelson 1:07:28
And you never know, maybe someday they'll be interviewed for a podcast and asked about their memories as a youth. And they'll be like, "This one time that we were able to do a video that had a rap in it!
Meghan Gray 1:07:41
Brittany Mangelson 1:07:42
Because like you said, You got them excited, like they were excited about contributing. And I think that that's ultimately the most the most important thing. So that's awesome. So I I feel like I've maybe asked this question a bunch, maybe in different ways, but I'll just say it again, what gives you hope, as we move forward together as a church, whether that be your congregation or mission center, or just collectively as a church, what do you see hopeful in our uncertain future together?
Meghan Gray 1:08:17
Well, Community of Christ definitely has a relevant message of hope and peace, acceptance of all different people. And I think the world desperately needs that right now. I think it's also really important and hopeful that to see how during this pandemic, we've survived, we've adapted and grown, many of us have learned how to create online church. You know, in my own congregation, some of the things got easier because we, we aren't doing worships that are nearly as long our sermons are shorter, we don't have to make bulletins. You know, there's some things that are just there faster and easier. But at the same time, we've also had to work harder to connect with each other, especially those people that you know, maybe don't have internet access. So we've we've been sending cards, maybe we drop off packages at each other's houses, we created a better like calling tree to keep in touch. And those are the kinds of things that really ought to continue, even when we go back to meeting in person. So it's, it's made us grow in a new way and explore a new way of doing ministry. You know, maybe we need to reevaluate the complex things that we do for church, that maybe we can just kind of pull back to the ways to do it easier and not drain our ministers, you know, stress everybody out and exhaust us and instead, to make it easier to worship God and to be in community with each other.
Jason Gray 1:09:58
Yeah, how do we how do we shift from doing church, to being church? I think there's a lot of energy that eventually wears people out of just doing church, all the mechanics and all the administrative stuff that has to happen sometimes to have formal church, when really at the heart of it is, like we said, community and community can be created in really simple ways. Albeit, they need to be intentional most of the time. But maybe church can be a game night, where you start by saying, hey, how's everybody's week been? And, you know, do you have any things you want us to pray about? But it's, it doesn't have to be maybe as much about doing it. But more about being the church.
Brittany Mangelson 1:10:52
Have a laugh when you mentioned bulletins, because I almost forgot about bulletins that you print off! I don't know, a single person in my congregation that likes format, formatting them and printing them and folding them and doing all the things. Why don't we do that to ourselves? And for those in my congregation, I'm not necessarily saying that we need to get rid of them post pandemic, but we have to be honest with ourselves, nobody likes to do them.
Meghan Gray 1:11:23
It's a lot of work.
Jason Gray 1:11:24
And Come on, let's be honest. They're not very eco friendly, either. Right? So I, like creation care thing is big to me. So I mean, I've had that idea for a couple of years. Now. It's like, man, wouldn't it be cool if when you walk into the sanctuary, there's a QR code there. And you just snap a picture of it with your phone, and there's your virtual bulletin for the day. No more paper waste!
Brittany Mangelson 1:11:51
Brilliant. Nobody has to deal with which way the paper goes into the printer. And how do you get the double side? Like I? Clearly I have feelings about this.
Meghan Gray 1:12:05
Brittany Mangelson 1:12:07
Ah, well, I have just really enjoyed this conversation a lot, actually. And I always like to end these by just saying, Is there anything else that you would like to leave us with? I feel like sometimes we breezed through the conversation and maybe I left something out or maybe you had other ideas come to you. Is there anything else that that you'd like to say?
Meghan Gray 1:12:31
No, I think we really enjoyed this as well. It was wonderful to talk with you and to be part of Project Zion.
Jason Gray 1:12:43
Podcast, nothing else comes to my mind. I mean, I think, yeah, it's been fun. It's, I can remember, back when, when we were doing all that young adult stuff in central mission center with John Chatburn. Team. We actually started a podcast called YAK. Have you ever heard about YAK?
Brittany Mangelson 1:13:05
I have not heard about YAK. Tell me about YAK!
Jason Gray 1:13:09
So YAK. Y A K, which stood for Young Adult Koinonia. And it was a podcast ministry that we kind of kicked off and started and we did a little bit and it just I don't know if it was too early before podcasts were all the rave It was early on. But you know it, it takes a lot of effort and energy to put these together. So it's cool now to see Project Zion kind of has legs and just the exciting ministry that it's become.
Brittany Mangelson 1:13:44
It is fun to be part of and I'm just one member of a very large team. I think there's 11 of us now that are involved in producing the podcast. So yeah, it takes a village takes a village for sure.
Jason Gray 1:13:59
Well, if you ever if you ever talked to John Chatburn, and asked him about yak,
Brittany Mangelson 1:14:04
I will. He was my mission center president when I joined Community of Christ, so he and Andi are friends!
Jason Gray 1:14:12
We love John and Andi.
Brittany Mangelson 1:14:14
That's awesome. I just have to say real quick that I love how small those church is. I mean, it's big, but it's also really small and the degrees of separation, somebody knows somebody from you know, it's, it's nice. Yes, I agree.
Jason Gray 1:14:30
I was telling Meghan today, you know, thinking about the fact that we were going to sit down and have a conversation with Brittany. Thinking back to like you said two years ago at World Conference like that was the first time we met. And honestly, that's the only time I think we've actually been together in person. So we we had the pleasure of having you and your family over to our house for dinner with Gina and Chantal and a few of our friends to just talk about church stuff. And we had a great conversation, but because we had that kind of shared connection of the church, like, it was like, we were instant friends, you know. And then since then be able to follow each other on social media, it's just like, we know each other now and so it's, yeah, that's that connection that you get with people in the church. It's like your your immediate friends. Yeah.
Brittany Mangelson 1:15:30
Yeah, there's an instant there really is an instant understanding and even shared jokes, like remember when we when you pulled out the old camp, camp songbook and the song The Reorg. What was it?
Meghan Gray 1:15:44
Oh, "We're all Reorgies"!
Brittany Mangelson 1:15:46
Meghan Gray 1:15:48
I don't know if that I could sing all of it. Right.
Jason Gray 1:15:50
It was Joseph was a prophet, was it?
Meghan Gray 1:15:51
Brittany Mangelson 1:15:53
It is specifically, one wife.
Meghan Gray 1:15:56
Yes. His one and only wife!
Brittany Mangelson 1:16:01
Oh we got such a kick out of that. That was great.
Jason Gray 1:16:08
there should just be a session like that at the next World Conference, you know, like some little, you know, behind the scenes underground, like young adult sharing time that I mean, that was a blast
Meghan Gray 1:16:21
Brittany Mangelson 1:16:22
It really was. And I agree. I haven't been very many. I know that. There are some young adult activities that World Conference. But again, I mean, I'm a young adult with young children as well. So it makes it a little bit tricky. Yeah, to hit those. But definitely, I think that there is such a shared camaraderie and shared story and just shared culture and community that I found that, you know, every time that I come across a member of Community of Christ, there's just that, that thing that connects us that I really, really appreciate. So yeah, well, thank you, you two. This, like I said, was a great interview. It was a lot of fun. listeners. Hopefully you didn't hear my children. Speaking of young children, hopefully you didn't hear too much. They're running around. But But again, that's part of being a young adult, I guess, in the church. I'm grateful again, to have you two on. And yeah, thanks. Thanks so much.
Meghan Gray 1:17:30
Jason Gray 1:17:31
Thank you. It's been fun.
Josh Mangelson 1:17:41
Thanks for listening to Project Zion Podcast, subscribe to our podcast on Apple podcast, Stitcher, or whatever podcast streaming service you use. And while you're there, give us a five star rating. Project Zion Podcast is sponsored by Latter-day Seeker Ministries of Community of Christ. The views and opinions expressed in this episode are of those speaking, and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Latter-day Seeker Ministries, or Community of Christ. The music has been graciously provided by Dave Heinze.