Friday, July 12, 2013

Potential Mission Districts

I have provided an updated list of mission districts which I think are likely to be organized in the next couple years.  Mission districts are analogous to stakes as they administer multiple branches (usually three to ten) but they have less independence in church administration and leadership than stakes.  The creation of mission districts signals progress in church growth as it is an important step for the Church to establish a "center of strength" in a new location from a handful of mission branches into a more organized entity which has potential to become a stake.  The creation of a district from branches that were previously assigned to no stake or district but reported directly to the mission or area president suggests maturation in local leadership which can provide sufficient manpower and quality leaders to staff both branch and district callings.  Potential new districts listed below were identified based on recent congregational growth trends, missionary reports on the number of convert baptisms and activity rates, and distance and location from other nearby stakes and districts.  Previous lists are available for 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2012.

Like other administrative and congregational units, the creation of districts is approved by the First Presidency.  Information used to compile this list does not contain any unauthorized information and I take full responsibility for this work.

  • Atta Nigeria (5) [Atta, Amaimo, Amakohia, Orlu, and Umundugba Branches - all currently administered by the Owerri Nigeria Stake]
  • Awasa Ethiopia (2) [Awasa and Wendo Genet Branches; Dilla, Negele, and Shashemene Groups - all currently administered by the Addis Ababa Ethiopia District]
  • Axim Ghana (3) [Agona Nkwanta, Axim, and Nkroful Branches - all currently administered by the Ghana Cape Coast Mission]
  • Bujumbura Burundi (3) [Bujumbura 1st, Bujumbura 2nd, and Uvira Branches - all currently administered by the DR Congo Lubumbashi Mission]
  • Francistown Botswana (1) [Francistown Branch and the Gerald and Monarch - all currently administered by the Botswana Gaborone Mission]
  • Gulu Uganda (2) [Bar Dege and Gulu Branches and the Kitgum Group - all currently administered by the Uganda Kampala Mission]
  • Ho Ghana (3) [Ho 1st, Ho 2nd, and Tsito Branches - all currently administered by the Kpong Ghana District]
  • Kilungu Hills Kenya (4) [Ilima, Kilili, Kyambeke, and Matini Branches and the Matua Group - all currently administered by the Kenya Nairobi Mission]
  • Kitale Kenya (5) [Kitale, Mautuma, Misikhu, Naitiri, and Sikhendu Branches - all currently administered by the Eldoret Kenya District] 
  • Lilongwe Malawi (3) [Kauma 1st, Kauma 2nd, and Lilongwe Branches - all currently administered by the Zambia Lusaka Mission]
  • Lira Uganda (2) [Adyel and Lira Branches - both administered by the Uganda Kampala Mission]
  • Mombasa Kenya (3) [Bamburi, Changamwe, and Mombasa Branches - all currently administered by the Kenya Nairobi Mission]
  • Pointe-Noire Republic of Congo (3) [Aeroporto, Mpaka, and Pointe-Noire Branches - all currently administered by the DR Congo Kinshasa Mission] 
  • Rwanda Kigali (3) [Kigali 1st, Kigali 2nd, and Kigali 3rd Branches - all currently administered by the Uganda Kampala Mission]
  • Sal Cape Verde (2) [Sal 1st and Sal 2nd Branches (missionaries report a third branch will be organized) - both branches pertain to the Mindelo Cape Verde Stake]
  • Queenstown South Africa (4) [Queenstown and Sada Wards; Ilinge and Umata Branches - all currently administered by the East London South Africa Stake] 
  • San Pedro Cote d'Ivoire (4) [Meagui, San Pedro, Seweke 1st, and Seweke 2nd Branches - all currently administered by the Cote d'Ivoire Abidjan Mission] 
  • Yenagoa Nigeria (4) [Iboghene, Onopa-Ovum, Opolo, and Yenezuepie Branches - all currently administered by the Nigeria Port Harcourt Mission]
  • Guimaras Philippines (3) [Buenavista, Jordan, and Valencia Branches; also at least two groups in Comian and Sibunag - all units currently assigned to the Ililio Philippines Stake]
  • Tagudin Philippines (4) [Balaoan, Bangar, Luna, and Tagudin Branches - branches currently assigned to either the Candon Phillipines or San Fernando Philippines Stakes]
  • Barreiras Brazil (3) [Barreiras 1st, Barreiras 2nd, and Luis Eduardo Magalhaes Branches - all branches currently assigned to the Brazil Salvador South Mission]
  • Cruzeiro do Sul Brazil (3) [Cruzeiro do Sul, Formoso, and Remanso Branches - all branches currently assigned to the Brazil Manaus Mission]
  • Aoba Vanuatu (6) [Apopo, Lobori, Lolotinge, Lovutialao, Navuti, and Redcliff Branches - all currently assigned to the Luganville Vanuatu District]
  • Kiritimati Kiribati (3) [Banana, Christmas Island, and Fanning Island Branches - all currently assigned to the Marshall Islands Majuro Mission]
  • Tanna Vanuatu (5) [Greenhill, Greenpoint, Saetsiwi, White Sands, and Whitegrass Branches - all currently assigned to the Port Vila Vanuatu District]


Unknown said...

I have actually been thinking about this lately. What about a St Johns Newfoundland District? It is pretty surprising seeing on LDS Maps, despite the many stakes and districts around the world, there is still a large portion is not inside a stake or district. Is there any reason why the stakes and districts in Africa and Asia so tiny, geographically?

Mike Johnson said...

There are 2 wards and 3 branches in the Chesapeake Virginia Stake in North Carolina at some distance from the stake. I have wondered if they might be regrouped into a district (which would downgrade the wards to branches, but that should mean that there would be enough active Melchizedek Priesthood holders and other members to run a district). I have been thinking about that possibility again now that there is a Mission in Chesapeake Virginia. ARDA reported 3474 members in the 7 Virginia units (6 wards and a branch) and 1687 members in the 5 North Carolina units. So, the Chesapeake Stake ought to meet requirements to be a stake without the North Carolina branches.

So, with the new mission, I think it possible that we could see an Elizabeth City District formed at some point.

Ed Clinch said...

A lot of growth seems to be progressing within Africa. Leadership is being developed. Some of these countries should have their won missions in the next few years. East Africa might get a temple announcement soon enough...maybe?
The overall numbers are not that great in the east between Ethiopia, South Sudan, And Kenya, but it is really nice to see the fourth part of Africa opening up. Would a temple be better placed in Uganda or Kenya?

I continue to have interst in how many missionaries are called from each nation. Do we have any way of accessing that data?

John Pack Lambert said...

Actually, I think it is more that some of the branches and stakes in Canada have insanely large areas.

These are doable when most members have cars. It is another story when they don't. It becomes very difficult for people to reach meetings, leaders to visit members and other things over such extremely large areas without cars.

Ed Clinch said...

I know that the age change for missionaries (fall 2012)has drastically increased the numbers of sisters in the United States going on their missions, and has also predicated the establishment of sister zone leaders and more leadership to the central core of the respective missions because of their increased presence. But I wonder how many more sisters worldwide are now going on missions?

Also, I have always found it interesting that older single sisters are allowed to go on missions. We had an elderly retired sister in Chile, we had another sister in her 40s, and from California I was able to sign the paperwork for a sister who had grandchildren. (She served in Chile, too). The future is now for numbers of new missionaries, and it is great to see the new and younger blood fill the ranks.

Unfortunately, some numbers of returned missionaries will always go less active, but I guess statistically less leave the faith that serve than having never served at all. So maybe this younger trend will keep more in activity throughout their life.

As far as sizes of branches and stakes, there are still many units across the intermountain west that are very large, not to mention the rest of the country of the US. If you look at places in New Mexico, the Plains, and farther east, there are still many large units where transportation is a large part of staying committed and active in the faith. Parts of my home state of Indiana, which is decently covered by branches and wards, have areas where people have to travel a half hour to attend meetings still, and I would venture most states have that in some places, except maybe Delaware.

Delaware is pretty well covered, it seems. And more missionaries on the way!

Downtownchrisbrown said...

Here in Saskatchewan we have some branches that are larger than some US states. We travel an hour, and there are some members that live a couple hours past that. My sister used to live in Labrador and if they were to go to church it was either 24 hours round-trip or 24 hours one way and included two ferry rides. They never did attend. They just had meetings at home, under the direction of the branch president.

The Opinion said...

This past Sunday the Apex stake added another ward by splitting Holly Springs and Fuquay Varina.
The stake now has 11 wards and 1 Spanish branch. Word coming from stake presidency is that the stake will be split in the next year when the stake president is released. The stake was formed 10 years ago so that is pretty fast growth IMO being not in the mountain west. Next door, Raleigh stake has 10 wards.

John said...

One of Apex stake's wards is Raleigh YSA which also covers Raleigh stake. I wonder if they would do a two-for-three to create Apex, Raleigh West, and Raleigh East? That would make more sense to me than waiting for one or both stakes to divide in half.

John said...

"[E]xcept maybe Delaware."

In Wilmington stake, every significant population center is within twenty minutes of a building. In Dover stake, though, all but one of the meetinghouses are within a mile of US 13. While most of the members are within a half hour of their building, most units (including Cambridge Branch) cover a wide area.

Some of the longer trips are Ocean View, DE (split between two wards), an hour to Seaford and almost that to Salisbury. Tilghman Island, MD (yes, there are members out in the barrier islands) is an hour each way to Cambridge. Lewes, DE to Seaford is about 50-55 minutes each way. Crisfield, MD is 45 minutes each way to Salisbury, but if any members lived on Smith Island, they've have to take a boat to Crisfield first.

Ed Clinch said...

So it seems that every state in the US has at least one or more branches and/or wards with hour long commutes going one way (I wonder what the longest in some rural parts of Utah would be?). I know that in the 8 states that I know the best, this is the case. Obviously, our nation has some very big tracts of land that are rural. Part of the problem of missionaries tracting in rural areas is not just the logistical issue of covering so much more land which is time consuming and generally less effective, because less people have contact per time proselyting; there is the cultural or social phenomenon of country or rural folk being more stand offish, more rooted in their ways, sometimes the lack of education can be a problem, the family connections make new movements or ideas harder to accept, etc. Also, people leave these areas more often to get work, so there there is less continuity in these big areas of less people.

I have seen three rural communities in my home stake of Bloomington, IN, close because of lack of support at the small branch levels: Brazil, Clinton and Spencer. The stake has given one unit to the newest created Indianapolis West Stake (Greencastle), and the stake has maintained decent numbers with Bloomington adding new wards, one of them covering the old Spencer Branch. a half hour to the northwest. Clinton and Brazil braches were fused into the Terre Haute wards. Paris Illinois, which used to be in the Bloomington Stake, I think belongs to an Illinois Stake now.

The hope that Terre Haute would have its own stake has been a dream of many since the 1980s. In the next 5-10 years it will be interesting to see the surge in missions and missionaries has, to not only find new converts who have never been contacted in new areas but to old members that have been out of reach for a long time. New elders and sisters going further and with a bit more time (due to increase of numbers covering the same areas previously more thinly covered) to find them and bring them back.

Some of the best convert baptsims I have seen or been a part of are part member families; once the missionaries are able to reach out pull the members back to activity, families unite and get stronger.

And when church families get stronger, then branches and wards, and districts and stakes. Should be fascinating to see.

Mike Johnson said...

The Paris Branch is in the Champaign Illinois Stake

Mike Johnson said...

The Harris Lake Ward, Apex North Carolina Stake, was created on 14 July. There are now 11 wards and 1 branch in the stake:

Apex Ward
Cary 1st Ward
Cary 2nd Ward
Fuquay-Varina Ward
Garner Ward
Green Level Ward
Harris Lake Ward
Holly Springs Ward
Morrisville Ward
Raleigh YSA Ward
Swift Creek Ward
Cary 3rd Branch (Spanish)

The Lyons Gate Ward, Gilbert Arizona Higley Stake, was created on 14 July. There are now 8 wards in the stake:

Ashley Heights Ward
Bella Vista Ward
Cooley Station Ward
Copper Ranch Ward
Gateway Gardens Ward
Higley Ward
Lyons Gate Ward
Summerfield Ward

The Limbe Branch, Gonaïves Haiti District,Haiti Port-au-Prince Mission, was created on 14 July. There are now 7 branches in the district:

Cap-Haitien Branch
Fort Liberte Branch
Gonaïves 1st Branch
Gonaïves 2nd Branch
Limbe Branch
Port-De-Paix Branch
Vertieres Branch

Ed Clinch said...

So if Terre Haute were to become a stake, then Paris and maybe Robinson near the Indiana border would probably go to them, right?

Would the Champaign Stake be big enough to subdivide? Overall the Midwest is not growing too fast in membership, but the temples keep coming. Which is slower in LDS growth: the Midwest or the northeast? Slow demographic growth has to something to do with it.

Do you get the new units created from And is there a feature that shows the labels of the stakes and wards, other than your home stake?

This month is certainly seeing a huge increase of new mission offices and homes, perhaps the biggest ever.

Peru just got its 100th stake, becoming fourth in the world after Chile used to. Is there another country that could beat Chile to this landmark?

My random musings, thanks for sharing.

Iris and Craig said...

"Some of the best convert baptsims I have seen or been a part of are part member families; once the missionaries are able to reach out pull the members back to activity, families unite and get stronger."

I agree, Ed.

This was all I did for most of my mission in Mexico City where there would be over 20 pages in the ward roster, but only about 40-60 people showed up to church. All I did was focus on that roster and go down the list one by one. In the two years I served I rarely at all knocked a door. I'd essentially do three things at once, by updating the ward roster, reactivating and then baptizing the part member families at the same time. I have so many stories of success with this approach. Worked wonders for me, and I'd do that method again in a heartbeat if I was ever a mission president or a missionary again.

Ed Clinch said...

Mexico City. Very cool. Question that has sometimes confused me: a "chilango" is someone from Mexico City, aka Distrito Federal, DF (pronounced Spanish way, I am Spanish linguist among other things). But people from the state of Mexico, even though they are still part of the greater city, are not chilangos? DFenos (missing squiggly) are just from the District, like our people in Washington DC. Right?

I have had some confusion about this, because when I have asked people from "Mexico" (the capital) if they are chilangos, sometimes they say no. And some explanations have been unclear to me.

I was in the centro de DF for a week and I really enjoyed it. Attended church not far from Zocalo. So is greater Mexico City divided into 6 or 7 missions now?

Great to see the growth there. I look forward to there being a mission in La Paz, BCS, close to where I did my honey moon.

Viva Mexico, cuate.

Mike Johnson said...

The Champaign Illinois Stake probably can't be divided. Using data from ARDA at the end of 2010, the 5 wards and 5 branches can be seen as:

Champaign County
5 congregations, 1,682 members
Champaign, Mahomet, and Urbana wards, and Rantoul and Urbana YSA branchs

Coles County
1 congregation, 472 members
Mattoon Ward

Vermilion County
1 congregation, 462 members
Danville Ward

Edgar County
1 congregation, 213 members
Paris Branch

Effingham County
1 congregation, 205 members
Effingham Branch

Douglas County
1 congregation, 128 members
Tuscola Branch

Total, 3,162 members.

Based on the conversation I had with the stake membership clerk in Delaware, these numbers might include members not on the rolls, but on the Illinois AU last known to reside in each congregation.

Not much margin to strip off a couple of units. Of course, growth in the last 2.5 years may have changed things, but I doubt it.

John Pack Lambert said...

My stake for a bit was up to 11 wards and one branch, so it looked a lot like the Apex Stake. Since then our YSA unit was made into a branch as well. This is the Bloomfield Hills Michigan Stake. I wish I had hope for us being divided soon, since Michigan has not gotten a new stake since 1978. However, while the ward I am in might be close to being dividable, I know some of the wards in the stake really struggle. There are two couples from our ward assigned as stake service missionaries to help our in these other wards, plus another two couples assigned to the one branch.

We have one family in our ward that moved in a year ago from one of those other wards because of the crime level in their old neighborhood. On the other hand, the stake just north of ours, got rid of 2 wards and 2 branches last year, they are now down to 7 wards. My sister is in that stake, and close to half of the stake leadership comes from her ward.

Metro-Detroit has been really hurt by economic slow downs. It does not help that a large percentage of our very heavily active members came here for employments, so active membership often fluctuates with employment problems more than other things.

We have had 3 convert baptisms so far this year, and have seen a few investigators at church as well these last few weeks. So there is definitely potential for growth.

I can't say that I see 11 wards, one a YSA ward, and a branch as saying "this stake is about to split".

Ed Clinch said...

So, is there an LDS branch or ward in Robinson, IL? And if so, what stake are they in? I guess the Bloomington Stake is not ready to split either, since Clinton and Brazil went away, plus Spencer Branch getting incorporated into Bloomington and the Greencastle Branch going to Indy West. Perhaps another part of the state would be more likely for a new stake, like Columbus. New missionaries from the Cinncinnati Mission will be going through northeast IN soon, not to mention more in the south from Louisville.

soc. man I am ---------------- said...

So part of Sydney Australia Fairfield Stake is in the North mission and part is in the south mission. That seems odd.

Matt said...

According to Robinson, IL has a Robinson Branch, in the Evansville Indiana Stake.

The Opinion said...

In reference to the comment "I can't say that I see 11 wards, one a YSA ward, and a branch as saying "this stake is about to split"." This stake is the smallest in all the S.E. in terms of square miles. It takes 30 minutes to go from one end of the stake to the other. We also are the second strongest stake in the Southeast in terms of sacrament attendance, temple recommends, and I believe full tithe payers. This is according to a general authority who came and commended our stake for the strength it exhibits. 5 of the 11 wards have 80% sacrament attendance. My ward, Garner Ward, at 50% is the lowest in the stake. The branch is struggling but that has to do more with commitment amongst the Spanish community than numbers. The branch has 220 people on the roles but only about 100 consistently active. The YSA has 260 members on the roles from 5 colleges, including NC State which provides the bulk of the members for the YSA. I only made mention of the possible split because a member of the stake presidency was passing on the word to us. IMO,the Raleigh Stake will probably be included in split since the church just purchase 11 acres in N. Raleigh two years ago. And for the 5 straight year in a row we have a church building under construction in our stake.

Iris and Craig said...


Exactly. Chilangolandia. :) Yes, generally, but sometimes depends on who you talk to, lol. Supposedly before the word "chilango" meant someone who wasn't from DF. Somehow it evolved throughout the years to meaning only people from DF- like having to be born there if not you weren't considered one technically.

That's awesome you went down there. My wife is from there and her family lives right by the Zocalo and you prob went to her ward, lol. I love the chilango accent, it's like they are singing.

When I was there in 06-08 we had 4 missions but sometimes people counted Cuernavaca because they'd come to our big meetings so perhaps 5. Now there are 6(+1=7 if you count Cuernavaca).

I loved it there as well. Great food. Great people. They baptize a bunch. Inactivity is a killer. Barely ever knocked a door. Mostly did referrals, people themselves coming up to talk to us or part-member families.

The Spirit of preaching the gospel is very strong in Mexico City. Even if hardcore people don't want anything to do with us, I never met more than 4 people who ever denied the veracity of the Book of Mormon. It's in their history and blood. No doubt if 3 Nephi 11 didn't happen in Mexico, Our Savior def. went there afterwards.

Thanks for the comments. :)

M said...

@Mike Johnson,
Mike, do you know where the new Nevada ward shown in today's CDOL is located? There was another new ward earlier this month in the Henderson area and these 2 new wards represent the first increases in over a year for the state.

Mike Johnson said...

The Egan Crest Ward, Las Vegas Nevada Lone Mountain Stake, was created on 21 July. There are now 9 wards and 2 branches in the stake:

Cheyenne Ridge Ward
Cimarron Creek Ward
Durango Ward
Egan Crest Ward
Grand Canyon Ward
Lone Mountain Ward
Mountain Crest Ward
Providence Ward
Valley Vista Ward
Beatty Branch
Indian Springs Branch

The Taapuna Ward, Punaauia Tahiti Stake, was created on 21 July. There are now 9 wards in the stake:

Anau Ward
Manutahi Ward
Matatia Ward
Maupiti Ward
Outumaoro Ward
Punaruu Ward
Punavai Nui Ward
Taapuna Ward
Vaitape Ward

The Guerrero Park Branch (Spanish), Mesa Arizona Stake, was created on 21 July. There are now 7 wards and 3 branches in the stake:

Harmony Ward
Heritage Park Ward
Olive Ward
Pioneer Ward
Poinsettia Ward
Sherwood Park Ward
Udall Ward
Guerrero Park Branch (Spanish)
Liahona 3rd Branch (Spanish)
Mesa Branch (Sign Language)

The Oda 2nd Branch, Asamankese Ghana District, Ghana Accra West Mission, was created on 21 July. There are now 6 branches in the district:

Asamankese 1st Branch
Asamankese 2nd Branch
Asamankese Ghana District Branch
Kade Branch
Oda 1st Branch
Oda 2nd Branch

Joseph said...

Really interesting statistics on Denominational growth in the US.

Here are the numbers with some comparisons
Denomination, 2012 Size, %Change,Change ratio, 2011 size, # Change, Size as %of LDS Change as % of LDS Change %Change as % of LDS % Change
The Catholic Church  68,202,492 -0.44 99.5600% 68,503,909 -301,417 1130.60% -307.08% -27.16%
Southern Baptist Convention 16,136,044 -0.15 99.8500% 16,160,284 -24,240 266.71% -24.70% -9.26%
The United Methodist Church 7,679,850 -1.22 98.7800% 7,774,701 -94,851 128.31% -96.63% -75.31%
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 6,157,238 1.62 101.6200% 6,059,081 98,157 100.00% 100.00% 100.00%
The Church of God in Christ 5,499,875 100.0000% 5,499,875 0 90.77% 0.00% 0.00%
National Baptist Convention , U.S.A. , Inc. 5,197,512 3.95 103.9500% 5,000,012 197,500 82.52% 201.21% 243.83%
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America 4,274,855 -5.90 94.1000% 4,542,885 -268,030 74.98% -273.06% -364.20%
National Baptist Convention of America , Inc. 3,500,000 100.0000% 3,500,000 0 57.76% 0.00% 0.00%
Assemblies of God 3,030,944 3.99 103.9900% 2,914,649 116,295 48.10% 118.48% 246.30%
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) 2,675,873 -3.42 96.5800% 2,770,628 -94,755 45.73% -96.53% -211.11%
African Methodist Episcopal Church 2,500,000 100.0000% 2,500,000 0 41.26% 0.00% 0.00%
National Missionary Baptist Convention of America 2,500,000 100.0000% 2,500,000 0 41.26% 0.00% 0.00%
The Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod (LCMS) 2,278,586 -1.45 98.5500% 2,312,112 -33,526 38.16% -34.16% -89.51%
The Episcopal Church 1,951,907 -2.71 97.2900% 2,006,277 -54,370 33.11% -55.39% -167.28%
Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, Inc. 1,800,000 20.00 120.0000% 1,500,000 300,000 24.76% 305.63% 1234.57%
Churches of Christ 1,639,495 100.0000% 1,639,495 0 27.06% 0.00% 0.00%
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America  1,500,000 100.0000% 1,500,000 0 24.76% 0.00% 0.00%
The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church 1,400,000 100.0000% 1,400,000 0 23.11% 0.00% 0.00%
American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A. 1,308,054 -0.19 99.8100% 1,310,544 -2,490 21.63% -2.54% -11.73%
Jehovah's Witnesses 1,184,249 1.85 101.8500% 1,162,738 21,511 19.19% 21.91% 114.20%
Church of God ( Cleveland , Tennessee ) 1,074,047 -0.21 99.7900% 1,076,307 -2,260 17.76% -2.30% -12.96%
Christian Churches and Churches of Christ 1,071,616 100.0000% 1,071,616 0 17.69% 0.00% 0.00%
Seventh-day Adventist Church 1,060,386 1.61 101.6100% 1,043,584 16,802 17.22% 17.12% 99.38%
United Church of Christ 1,058,423 2.02 102.0200% 1,037,466 20,957 17.12% 21.35% 124.69%