Sunday, March 6, 2011

Church Growth News

Stake discontinued in Australia

For the first time in LDS Church history in Australia, a stake was discontinued. The Sydney Australia Parramatta Stake was consolidated into several neighboring stakes in the Sydney area.  The number of congregations in many Australian stakes is much lower than other nations, which jeopardizes the continued operation of some stakes if large numbers of members move away and few new converts are baptized and retained.  Overall Australia has experienced moderate membership growth rates among industrialized nations but has experienced stagnant congregational growth.  For more information about the Church in Australia, please refer to an article written by me and David Stewart at cumorah.com

Approximately a dozen new branches to be organized in Sierra Leone and Liberia in 2011

Full-time missionaries serving in the Sierra Leone Freetown Mission that plans are being finalized to organize approximately a dozen new branches in Sierra Leone and Liberia.  The Church has experienced little congregational growth in both nations between the mid-1990s and 2009 notwithstanding LDS membership grew rapidly.  Missionaries also report that a future stake may soon be organized from one of the Monrovia districts.  

New wards in Nairobi, Kenya

For the first time since the organization of the Nairobi Kenya Stake in 2001, the Church has organized new wards in Nairobi, Kenya.  The Mountain View Ward (formerly the Westlands Branch) and the Kayole Ward were organized.  There are now seven wards and two branches in the stake.  LDS mission outreach remains severely limited in Nairobi as nine congregations provide outreach to a population of over three million.  Prospects appear favorable for the opening of additional congregations in Nairobi and the formation of districts for the dozens of mission branches in the coming years.

New branch established in remote area of Mozambique

One of the most remote LDS congregations in Africa, the Luaha Branch was officially organized from the Luaha Group and becomes the 19th LDS branch in Mozambique.  Latter-day Saints have lived in Luaha for several years and have demonstrated a strong degree of responsibility and desire regarding the gospel.  For more information about the Church in Luaha, please refer to an article posted on the Church's South Africa website at www.lds.co.za

Administrative branches discontinued for Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo

Following the organization of the Pristina and Sarajevo Branches, the Church has discontinued the administrative branches for Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo.  Administrative branches continue to operate in Macedonia, Montenegro, and the Falkland Islands. 

District discontinued in Spain

Comprising three branches stretched over a large geographical area, the Valladolid Spain District was discontinued.  The Valladolid Branch now pertains to the Leon Spain District whereas the Salamanca and Segovia Branches are now mission branches under the Spain Madrid Mission.

Mormon Channel interview with former Nicaragua Managua Mission president

The Mormon Channel's Into All the World program conducted a phone interview with President Fraatz, the former mission president of the Nicaragua Managua Mission who served from 2007-2010.  Former President Fraatz reported that church attendance among many LDS wards in the Managua area had increased dramatically in recent months, with several wards now reporting over 200 active members.  Fraatz predicted that three to five new stakes would be organized in the new future due to strong growth and higher convert retention.  The interview can be found on the right-hand side of this blog and is interview number 51.

7 comments:

Gnesileah said...

Does anyone know the story about the stake that operated in Monrovia from 2000 to 2007? Why did it get discontinued, and do you think it could effect the creation (or delay thereof) of another stake in the city?

Tom said...

It seems as though membership statstics in regard to activity & retention and productive scrutiny of growth from cumorah.com is forcing conversions/retention/activity, to become slowly more efficient.

I've never witnessed as strong convert retention in my ward as of currently; and I have witnessed for the first time less actives becoming re-activated and attending church again. This pattern is becoming repetitive of other congregations I am familar with.

swztnpwag said...

Matt, I read a book published in 2002 that said the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was the fastest growing Christian religion in Australia. Is that still the case?
Tom, are you saying the website itself has led to higher convert retention and member activity? My home branch could be a ward and a half if people were active.

Tom said...

No, certainly not.

What I mean is, I think recent statistics and such have provided a massive wake up call for the church over inactivity. Even though there is a long way to go; I feel the problem is getting more attention now than in the past.

Although yes there are many people to re-activate in each congregation and let me tell you this we will never re-activate 100% of inactivates.

But progress is slowly, (please note the word) being made. Even if its a couple of inactives per congregation so far.

Erik said...

I also see small-scale improvements in retention through the church - improvements that will hopefully accelerate in years ahead. Part of the improvements surely comes from the Prophet, President Monson, having encouraged the Saints from the beginning of his ministry to invite back inactive members to activity. President Hinckley said much the same thing but President Monson's admonition seems to have sparked even more effort. I believe we will see the Church further consolidate and mature under the leadership of the current Prophet and that we will reach a significantly better level of retention and of doing missionary work in the years ahead. The slight improvements that are currently taking place must improve further. Once retention has significantly improved, I expect an accelerated harvest of church growth to take place. Then I hope we will see President Hinckley's admonition to double church growth fulfilled.

Ingrid in the World said...

It is cool reading about the church growth in Kenya. This is where I currently reside and Mountain View is my ward. The Kenyan saints are awesome!

As above said...

Hi Matt
I am a Sydney journalist who specialises in religious affairs and I was interested in having a look at your article on the growth of the church in Australia on cumorah.com, but can't seem to locate it. Would you be able to point me in the right direction? If you could otherwise send it to me via lmckenny@smh.com.au, that would be great. Many thanks, Leesha