Restoration Studies

Community of Christ Seminary students and faculty produce quality scholarship. This page is dedicated to sharing this work. 

The purpose of our scholarship is both critical and constructive. As a seminary, we are a creative resource for our faith community on relevant matters of Community of Christ theology, mission, history and scripture. In addition, we are committed to universal and interfaith dialogue for the sake of greater understanding, restoration and healing of the world.  

Papers are free to be read or downloaded in PDF version. If used for scholarly work, we request that you cite the author, paper, source and date of access in accordance with academic standards and ethics of sharing scholarly work.

Temple - Restoration Studies
"Community of Christ Temples of the Past and Present".  Photos by Rod Schall.


Why “Restoration Studies?”
Restoration Studies is an inclusive term that indicates both a history and theology. 
First, Restoration Studies is a historical term. Community of Christ is a worldwide faith community that first emerged as one of other “Restoration movements” out of the U.S.’s Second Great Awakening, circa 1790 to 1840’s. What these Restoration movements shared in common was a belief in God’s purpose to restore the form, witness and calling of the New Testament church described in the New Testament, particularly its Gospels and Acts. Community of Christ acknowledges this history, which shapes its theology, scripture and tradition.
Secondly, “Restoration” refers to a theological theme that shapes Community of Christ’s theology and mission. The term “Restoration” indicates the vision for healing, reconciliation and fulfillment of creation. This is central to Community of Christ understanding of the good news revealed in Jesus Christ. Restoration shares its theological meaning with the call to God’s Shalom, community and pursuit of peace. 
Restoration Studies points to both the historical consciousness and theological themes shaping much of the academic work found in these pages. 

Kass Unger, MAR, lives in Sydney, Australia, and works for the Community of Christ doing education and leadership development across the Australian Mission Centre. She is heavily involved in the youth and young adult program (CommunityPlus), heads up the Leading Congregations in Mission Pilot across Australia and New Zealand, and when not engaged in visiting ministry, attends West Pennant Hills congregation where she serves as an elder. She graduated with a Master of Arts in Religion in 2016.

Emily Hatch, MAR, lives in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. She is an executive assistant at the Canadian Community of Christ Headquarters (Canada East Mission Centre) and graduated with a Master of Arts in Religion in Nov. 2016. 

Quote she strives to live by, “You must learn a new way to think before you can master a new way to be.” ― Marianne Williams

Daniel Harmon, MAR, lives in Orange, California, where he serves as pastor of the Orange Community of Christ congregation and youth minister for the Pacific Southwest International Mission Center. He graduated with a Master of Arts in Religion in 2013. In all aspects of his ministry, Daniel seeks to embody the relational and loving nature of Christ. 

Douglas Graves has been a professional audio engineer since 1993 working primarily in the field of musical theatre including national tours and on Broadway. An ordained elder in Community of Christ, Douglas revels in experiencing the divine in unexpected places.

Connie Altman, MAR, is married with 4 grown children and 10 grandchildren and lives in Lucasville, Ohio. Her profession for 22 years was teaching middle school language arts and social studies. Connie currently works as the mission center president of Bountiful Mission Center. She graduated with a Master of Arts in Religion on Dec. 17, 2016.

Molly Bagley, MAR, resides in Pensacola, Florida, and is a member of the North Pensacola Community of Christ congregation. She serves as their children’s minister and on the pastoral team. Molly graduated with a Master of Arts in Religion from Graceland University’s Community of Christ Seminary in Dec. 2017 and hopes to continue her scholarship through further studies.

Uilani Ishikawa, MAR, lives in Tokyo, Japan. She works for the Community of Christ providing field support and leadership development in East Asia. Uilani serves as board chair in Japan, and most of her time is spent supporting Seijo congregation and the school project of the church. She completed the Master of Arts in Religion program through Graceland University’s Community of Christ Seminary in 2017. 

Val Walker, MAR, is married with two adult children and graduated with a Master of Arts in Religion in Dec. 2017. For 25 years, she worked in microbiology and clinical trials. She now serves full-time as pastor of the Portland, Oregon, Community of Christ congregation and represents the church on two local universal/interfaith boards. In her free time, Val loves to spend time in her garden.

Andrew Miller, MAR, lives in Leavenworth, Kansas. He is an ordained priest in the Celtic-Rite Old Catholic Church and provides sacramental ministry to St. Simon of Cyrene Old Catholic Mission in Kansas City, Missouri; volunteers ministry at St. Martin’s Lutheran Church (ELCA) in Kansas City, Kansas; and serves as a volunteer prison minister with Bethany Catholic Callout Group at the Lansing State Correctional Facility in Lansing, Kansas. Andrew is involved in political ministry, serving as a local Democratic Party precinct committee member and as an election researcher for the Kansas City Chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America. He graduated from Graceland University’s Community of Christ Seminary with a Master of Arts in Religion in 2017.

Carman Thompson, MAR, serves as an active evangelist for Community of Christ World Church. In his former career with the World Church, he served as Funding for Mission minister in Independence, Missouri; campus minister at Graceland University in Lamoni, Iowa; and mission centre president in the United States, Mexico and Canada. Since retiring from appointee ministry in 2014, Thompson has travelled to Spain, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, offering ministry through World Service Corps. He is a Canadian citizen.

Thompson holds a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies from University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, and a Master of Arts in Religion from Community of Christ Seminary in Independence, Missouri. He is married to Joan (LeFeuvre) Thompson and loves spending time with their four children, eleven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.  He enjoys reading, learning and sharing what he has learned with others.