Monday, February 10, 2014

First Stake in Albania to be Created in March

Missionaries serving in the Adriatic South Mission report that the Church will organize its first stake in Albania during the weekend of March 8th and 9th.  The sole district in the country, the Tirana Albania District was organized in 1999 and currently consists of nine branches.  Missionaries have diligently worked for many years to prepare the four branches in Tirana to become wards and for the district to become a stake.  The creation of the first stake in Albania marks the third predominantly Muslim country where the Church has created a stake that is primarily comprised of local members; the first and second countries being Indonesia and Sierra Leone.  LDS growth in Albania has been an anomaly for Southeast Europe as no other country has experienced steady growth and has a sufficient number of active members for a stake to be organized.

Albania was previously the country with the 15th most members without a stake according to year-end 2012 membership data.


MainTour said...

Albania would become the fourth Muslim Country with an LDS Stake. You forget about the Abu Dhabi Stake in the United Arab Emirates.

Matt said...

The stake is the United Arab of Emirates does not fit the criteria I outlined because its membership is completely nonnative. Also, the stake in the UAE would not be a stake if it did not include Qatar and Kuwait.

Mike Johnson said...

The Frenship Mesa Ward, Lubbock Texas Stake, was created on 9 February. There are now 8 wards and 4 branches in the stake:

Canyon West Ward
Caprock Ward
College Park YSA Ward
Frenship Mesa Ward
Heritage Ward
Monterey Park Ward
Regal Park Ward
Shadow Hills Ward
Plainview Branch
Quaker Heights Branch (Spanish)
Seminole Branch
Snyder Branch

The Springville Ward, Las Piñas Philippines Stake, was created on 9 February. There are now 7 wards and 1 branch in the stake:

Las Piñas 2nd Ward
Las Piñas 3rd Ward
Muntinlupa 1st Ward
Muntinlupa 2nd Ward
San Pedro 1st Ward
San Pedro 2nd Ward
Springville Ward
San Pedro 3rd Branch

The Vila Dirce Ward, São Paulo Brazil Casa Grande Stake, was created on 9 February. There are now 8 wards in the stake:

Casa Grande Ward
Cipó Ward
Embu-Guaçu Ward
Jardim Campinas Ward
Palmares Ward
Parelheiros Ward
Vila Dirce Ward
Vila Natal Ward

Aaron and Kamyra said...

Matt, I read your report in Reaching the Nations about Albania and clearly things have changed since writing this. Do you know any of the details re priesthood strength and increasing active membership?

Matt said...

There appears to have been some substantial progress in the Tirana Albania District meeting the minimal qualifications for a stake to begin functioning. However, significant convert retention and member activity problems persist but have improved. I would be interested to know how much church attendance has increased in the various branches throughout the district. Historically the Church in Albania has seen major fluctuations in church attendance with different seasons. Hopefully this has stabilized and will not threaten the long-term functioning of the new stake.

Mike Johnson said...

The Coimbatore 3rd Branch, Coimbatore India District, India Bangalore Mission, was created on 9 February. There are now 6 branches in the district:

Chavadi Branch
Coimbatore 1st Branch
Coimbatore 2nd Branch
Coimbatore 3rd Branch
Erode Branch
Semmedu Branch

Mike Johnson said...

The Church is investing significantly in Philadelphia. See announcement by the Mayor of Philadelphia.

Mike Johnson said...

Grant Emery said...

The development in Philadelphia is fascinating to me. I read an article a while back about a chapel that the LDS Church was building in downtown Chicago (6 stories, if I remember correctly). The article said it was part of a big push for the Church in major US cities, mentioning specifically Boston, Philadelphia, and Chicago. Is anyone aware of this push? Is it just the journalist's interpretation or is it something the LDS Church is consciously doing? I'm not aware of any large chapel construction in Boston, but I imagine they were thinking of the near-temple stake center that Matt just mentioned. It's an interesting idea that the Church would be in a phase that particularly targeted large US cities ... or maybe we're just in the phase of growth where that is now necessary.

TempleRick said...

Is this the article, Grant?

Grant Emery said...

Yep, that's exactly the article.

Mike Johnson said...

The new General Young Women's Board has been announced as:

Carmela Melero de Hooker, Lima, Peru
Leslie Pope Layton, Sandy, Utah
Denise Posse Lindberg, Draper, Utah
Dorah Mkhabela, Soweto, South Africa
Janet Matthews Nelson, Brooklyn, New York
M. Lúcia Silva, São Paulo, Brazil
Susan Saxton Taggart, Salt Lake City, Utah
Rosemary Thackeray, Orem, Utah
Megumi Yamaguchi, Nagoya, Japan

Mike Johnson said...

I serve in the Washington DC temple on Saturday morning with a large shift from all over the temple district. Some from eastern Pennsylvania said that the large apartment building had been strongly encouraged by the city. The Church apparently wanted a lot less residential space, enough for the temple workers. But, the city wanted a lot more development in the area.

Mike Johnson said...

Bios and pictures of the new YW board can be seen at

John Pack Lambert said...

In Boston proper I am not aware of recent construction. However the Church did recently build a new large chapel in Cambridge that some would consider to be part of the urban-core of Metro-Boston.

The Church is seeking to build another chapel in Boston or the extremely near suburbs. They had a site in Brookline, but gave up on it due to neighborhood opposition and rising construction costs.

In Detroit the Church built two new chapels in the city proper about 7 years ago. They were both dedicated the same month and served adjacent branches. Which right now are the only two geographical branches in the Detroit Mission.

John Pack Lambert said...

Sister Lindberg, one of the new members of the YWGB, was born in Cuba.

John Pack Lambert said...

I knew I had heard the name Mkhabela before. Dorah Mkhabela is the wife of Jackson Mkhabela, who is an Area Seventy. She has traveled with her husband and done training for sisters along with mission presidents wives. So maybe she is more from Africa than just Soweto or South Africa.

Another one of the new YWGB members, Carmela Melero de Hooker, is married to Cesar Hooker. I am 90% sure this is the Cesar Hooker who was an Area Seventy.

Ed Clinch said...

I think it is interesting to compare, say four southern/Balkan countries.

Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia and Greece. By far, Hellas (Greece) has had an LDS Church presence for at least 20, maybe more years. Meanwhile, Albania with 70 % nominal Muslim population seems to be outgrowing its southern neighbor. The other two former Yugoslav republics have their difficulties like much of Europe, but I foresee both of them as surpassing Greece.

Point of this small analysis? Greece is not progressing very well, but hopefully other neighbors will pick up the slack in convert growth.

May they all prosper and grow, even the ancient Oracles of Delphi.

Christopher Nicholson said...

Actually, the sad part is that Greece has had a church presence since 1905. In over a century it's grown to a whopping four branches, at least one of which is English-speaking, so surpassing it shouldn't be too hard.

Ray said...

I visited Greece recently and I think the Greeks identify so strongly with their Orthodox traditions that it makes it difficult for them to embrace outside ideas. However, thousands of members in the US and elsewhere, including many leaders, have Greek ancestry.

Cameron Lewis said...

The Alliance Texas Stake was created today (February 16th, 2014) from the Colleyville Texas Stake. If I understand it correctly the new stake includes at least the following 6 wards.

Woodland Springs 1
Woodland Springs 2
Trophy Club
Bonds Ranch

BYULAW said...

The Herriman UT South Stake will be split February 23rd by Elder Perry. Although there are only 12 wards (compared to Bluffdale next to it) there are at least 3 wards that will probably be split after they split the stake or in conjunction with the stake splitting. There are hundreds of homes that have been built in the past 2 years within the stake boundaries.

Ed Clinch said...

I have worked closely with some Montenegrins and thus seen into their culture a bit more than other European nations. They are very warm and friendly, but it seems that every family has their own distillery for their own brand of hard liquor, I forget their name for it, but basically like brandy. 17 % of their 600,000 people are Muslim, but from what I gathered from my Orthodox brothers (ages 20s to 40s) the Muslims are often drinking as much as anyone, and therefore are not particularly devout. LDS missionaries have just recently begun in the capital,Podgorice, from what I know, and think the surge (2012-2013) has now put enough Elders (and maybe sisters)into the Southern Balkan Mission to get some visibility from this nice country. I am impressed by them, and excited to see them get branches, districts, and eventually stakes.
Poor Greece. They don't know what they are missing.

John Pack Lambert said...

The dating of the Church presence in Greece to 1905 is a little misleading. Missionaries left in 1909 and did not return until sometime in the 1970s.

All the current branches there seem to have been created in the early 1990s.