Friday, March 13, 2009

Stake Dissolved in New Mexico

The Grants New Mexico Stake was recently dissolved. All but one branch from the former stake is now part of the Gallup New Mexico Stake. The Grants New Mexico Stake had only three wards and three branches since 2004. This move will better strengthen the stake in Gallup and provide better fellowship for members in the area. This becomes the first stake to be dissolved in 2009.


Gnesileah said...

Matt, do you keep a list of stakes that are at risk of being discontinued due to small size? While perhaps it isn't a very faith promoting topic, it would be interesting to analyze that aspect. For example, the El Centro California Imperial Valley Stake currently only has four wards and zero branches. One could assume that that stake is nearly of the verge of being dissolved and merged into another stake. I wonder how many others are out there in a similar situation?

Matt said...

I have thought about keeping a list of such stakes which are on the verge of being discontinued, but like you said it is not a very uplifting subject to concentrate on.

Off the top of my head, there are around 10 or so stakes in the United States which are really small. However many of these small stakes have not changed in size in at least five years (like the El Centro California Imperial Valley Stake). Areas in which we see the greatest threat for stakes being discontinued is actually not where small stakes are present, but rather were members are moving away in large numbers (which can quickly cripple a stake). This is the reason for the several stakes which have been discontinued in California recently. For example, the Walnut California Stake had 8 wards (and no branches) in 2004 and was discontinued last year. Thus, it can be difficult to know the strength of a smaller stake due to the lack of information available on how the demographics of the stake are changing.

Australia has a particularly large number of stakes which appear to be barely hanging in there. On the Church's Stake and Ward website I could find 5 stakes which have only four wards and sometimes a branch. These stakes have not shrunk to their present number of congregations since their creation, but were rather created with this many congregations and no new congregations have been created since. There were actually more stakes in Australia which were really small, but several of them have now grown larger.

Internationally, when stakes are discontinued they are often made into districts. There have been instances where a stake has been discontinued, made into two districts, and both districts become stakes a couple years later. We just do not have enough information to make predictions on where stakes might be discontinued, but keep in mind only about 100 stakes have been discontinued since the mid 1980s (nearly half of which were in Chile).