Saturday, March 22, 2014

New Stakes in Arizona, Brazil and Utah; New Districts in Cote d'Ivoire and Sierra Leone

Last Sunday, a new stake was created in Arizona. The San Tan Valley Arizona Stake was created from a division of the Queen Creek Arizona South Stake and includes the following six wards: The Bella Vista, Copper Basin, Desert Hills, Florence 1st, Florence 2nd, and Johnson Ranch Wards. There are now 96 stakes in Arizona.

Last Sunday, a new stake was created in Santa Catarina State. The Joinville Brazil South Stake was organized from the Joinville Brazil Stake and includes the following five wards and one branch: The Fátima, Itaum, Itinga, Jaraguá do Sul, and Vila Nova Wards and the São Francisco do Sul Branch. There are now 250 stakes and 41 districts in Brazil and eight wards and one district in Santa Catarina State.

Last Sunday, a new stake was created in Utah. The Eagle Mountain Utah Cedar Pass Stake was organized from the Eagle Mountain Utah and Eagle Mountain Utah North Stakes and includes the following eight wards: The Cedar Pass 1st, Cedar Pass 2nd, Cedar Pass 10th, Highlands 1st, Kennekuk, Sage Valley, and Willow Springs Wards. There are now 568 stakes and one district in Utah.

Cote d'Ivoire
Last Sunday, a new district was created in Cote d'Ivoire. The San-Pedro Cote d'Ivoire District was organized from the Cote d'Ivoire Abidjan Mission and includes the following four branches: The LAC, San Pedro, Seweke 1st, and Seweke 2nd Branches. Two of these branches were organized within the past year. The new district becomes the Church's first district in southeastern Cote d'Ivoire. There are now five stakes and two districts in Cote d'Ivoire.

Sierra Leone
Last Sunday, a new district was organized in the Freetown area. The Kossoh Town Sierra Leone District was organized from the Freetown Sierra Leone East District (now renamed the Kissy Sierra Leone District) and includes the following four branches: The Allen Town, Grafton, Kossoh Town, and Waterloo Branches. Missionaries report that several additional branches will soon be organized in these two districts. There are now four districts and one stake in Sierra Leone.


Ryan Searcy said...

Do you think there could be a Spanish stake in New Jersey, possibly Newark?

Caldwell NJ 9 wards, 3 branches (3 wards, 1 branch Spanish) 6 wards, 2 branches remaining

Morristown NJ 6 wards, 2 branches (1 ward, 2 branches Spanish) 5 wards remaining

Paterson NJ 3 branches (2 branches Spanish) 1 branch remaining

Scotch Plains NJ 7 wards, 6 branches (2 wards, 3 branches Spanish) 5 wards, 3 branches remaining

Brooklyn NY - Staten Island 3rd (Spanish) Ward

Total Spanish: 7 wards, 8 branches

Anonymous said...

I don't think that would be a good idea based on the large geographical area, travel realities of this part of the country, my experience with spanish speaking wards in Queens, NY and elsewhere, or how likely I see it being helpful to church or individual growth. A spanish speaking stake in LA was discontinued in the last 2-3 years as well. I certainly would not recommend this course of action in the Westchester NY Stake (which includes the Bronx), Queens, the Bronx, nor Manhattan (i've lived in all of these places except Brooklyn and LA but have talked to people about the spanish units who have resided in these Stakes). In Queens we have a hard enough time getting distant wards to come to stake meetings.

Matt said...

The downside to creating Spanish Stakes in the U.S. is that it's inflexible to change with the demographics. In California for instance, more and more Latinos prefer to attend church in English than Spanish. (especially kids born and raised here in the U.S.)

The main reason they closed the Huntington Park CA West Stake a few years back was not because of low numbers, but because the youth do better at church in English (and felt isolated from the English Wards youth).. while the adults prefer the Gospel in Spanish.

So now in the Huntington Park (English) Stake (with half the wards Spanish, half English) , it's now really a "Spanglish" Stake, where they assign a Spanish Ward or Branch to be in the same Building with an English Ward, and then youth activities are combined done in English.

Mike Johnson said...

Matt, I was fascinated by your description of the Huntington Park California Stake, so I looked it up. I sorted the wards and branches by the six meetinghouses used:

Bell Gardens Ward (Spanish) 10511 Paramount Blvd, Downey CA 90241
Downey 1st Ward 10511 Paramount Blvd, Downey CA 90241

Bell Ward 6531 Middleton St, Huntington Park CA 90255
Huntington Park Ward (Spanish) 6531 Middleton St, Huntington Park CA 90255

Downey 2nd Ward 12425 Orizaba Ave, Downey CA 90242
South Gate 1st Branch (Spanish) 12425 Orizaba Ave, Downey CA 90242

Downey 3rd Ward 11733 Florence Ave, Santa Fe Springs CA 90670
Santa Fe Springs Ward (Spanish) 11733 Florence Ave, Santa Fe Springs CA 90760

Lynwood 2nd Ward (Samoan) 12200 Bradfield Ave, Lynwood CA 90262

Huntington Park YSA Branch 7420 Jaboneria Rd, Bell Gardens CA 90201

Cameron Lewis said...

I noticed that a new stake was created in Brazil, but I know that the church is having a really hard time getting visa's for missionaries called to serve in Brazil. Does anyone know what is going on between Brazil's government and the Church?

Grant Emery said...

I know that a couple of years ago, they merged te Spanish and English wards in Miami. The reason wasnt numbers but divisiveness. My friend said they were now having bilingual meetings with translators in both directions. I heard this throug a single member, so take that with a grain of salt.

John Pack Lambert said...

Another plus to bilinguality in stakes is even if the youth may want to have Sunday school lessons in Spanish, the levels of interaction in stake youth activities and stake dances can easily be done in multiple languages.

Plus, in New Jersey you have lots of Portugese, Koreans, and potential for outreach among the Arabs (and some outreach has been done, especially since many are actually Copts, that is Christians from Egypt), so there is just too much variation for linguistic divisions to make sense.

John Pack Lambert said...

The best of all worlds was probably New Jersey Cherry Hill Stake, where they had Ahmad Corbett as stake president, an African-American man with a Euro-American wife, with President Corbett having served his mission in Puerto Rico, and being a native of Philadelphia, there was probably no one better situated to outreach to anyone in the stake. He has now bee succeeded as stake president by Vai Sikahema, since the Corbetts will be going to the Dominican Republic to preside over a mission there this summer.

Brother Corbett will be missed since he also worked for the last few years as head of the Church's Public Relations Office in New York City. He was probably the key guy behind the scenes in organizing the Church Welfare Program's recent presentation to the UN.

I have to admit I would love to see Brother Corbett called as a general authority.

James Anderson said...

There is a procedure in Handbook 2 probably Chapter 18 about having wards parallel meetings, where one has sacrament while the other holds priesthood/RS and have everyone together hold Sunday School hour classes, then break off for whatever meeting of the first two they didn't have, the one that started with priesthood/RS would then have sacrament.

Sinverguenza said...

Today in the Kaysville Utah Stake the Mountains Shadows and Kaysville 6th wards were divided.
The new ward is called Hill Farms and the Kaysville 6th ward was renamed Havenwood ward.
There are now 9 wards in the stake:
Mountain Shadows
Hill Farms
Mountain Vistas
Webster Meadows
Flint Meadows
Angel Park
Willow Brook
Pheasant Brook

John Pack Lambert said...

Yes, another numbered ward is gone. I have to say I have great dislike for the overuse of numbers in ward names. I think there are better, more useful place names in almost all cases.

Mike Johnson said...

The Auke Bay Ward, Juneau Alaska Stake, was created on 23 March. There are now 5 wards and 10 branches in the stake:

Auke Bay Ward
Ketchikan Ward
Mount Juneau Ward
Nugget Falls Ward
Sitka Ward
Craig Branch
Gustavus Branch
Haines Branch
Juneau YSA Branch
Petersburg Branch
Skagway Branch
Tongass Branch
Whitehorse Branch
Wrangell Branch
Yakutat Branch

The Power Ranch 3rd Ward, Gilbert Arizona San Tan Stake, was created on 23 March. There are now 9 wards in the stake:

Coronado 1st Ward
Coronado 2nd Ward
Meadowview 1st Ward
Meadowview 2nd Ward
Power Ranch 1st Ward
Power Ranch 2nd Ward
Power Ranch 3rd Ward
San Tan 1st Ward
San Tan 2nd Ward

The Wild Rose Branch (Care Center), Highland Utah East Stake, was created on 23 March. There are now 8 wards and 1 branch in the stake:

Canyon View Ward
Developmental Center Ward
Highland 2nd Ward
Highland 7th Ward
Highland 11th Ward
Highland 15th Ward
Highland 18th Ward
Highland 24th Ward
Wild Rose Branch (Care Center)

Mike Johnson said...

I find it interesting that the San Tan Arizona Stake was formed last week and this week a new ward was created. As both actions would have required First Presidency approval, I wonder why they didn't happen at the same time. Perhaps too much confusion all at once.

Ray said...


Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the new Arizona Stake is the San Tan Valley Az stake, divided from the Queen Creek Az South Stake, whereas the new ward was created in the Gilbert Az San Tan Stake.

James Anderson said...

Barrelled through that area involved in the San Tan Valley Stake, there is apparently no town, just a loose confederation of developments out there southeast of Gilbert. It's not really a 'valley', in fact it's ivnariably flat all the way across from Gilbert to Florence, much of this is near Arizona Farms Road which connects with what was once Rittenhouse Road (mostly abandoned recently) with SR-79 (formerly US-89) just north of Florence.

They are working on plans for a freeway from Apache Junction to Eloy through there, bisecting the area, along with the already on the boards SR-24 freeway (first mile finished, but just two lanes). They are anticipating a lot of growth out there, the 24 will go to 79 near the 60 at what is locally known as Florence Junction.

Iris and Craig said...

Ed Clinch said...

My seven year old son asked me what was the fastest growing church in the world. For those who have better stat trackers than me, do we know the top 5?

I think we (LDS) might be in there but does anybody have the last year, 5 years, 15?

Thanks. Our missionary increase surely helps...

TempleRick said...

Just wanted to say thank you to everyone who contributes to this blog. You are amazing people! I love witnessing with you the work of the Lord roll forth.

Mike Johnson said...

The Mórrope Branch, Lambayeque Perú District, Perú Chiclayo Mission, was created on 23 March. There are now 6 branches in the district:

Demetrio Acosta Branch
Jayanca Branch
Mochumi Branch
Motupe Branch
Mórrope Branch
Olmos Branch

The Valle Sanchez Branch, Santa Cruz Bolivia Equipetrol Stake, was created on 23 March. There are now 7 wards and 3 branches in the stake:

Belén Ward
Centenario Ward
Equipetrol Ward
Hamacas Ward
Los Mangales Ward
Universitario Ward
Viru Viru Ward
Satélite Branch
Valle Sanchez Branch
Warnes Branch

Mike Johnson said...

Ray, you are right.

I should have realized that.

My only defense is that last Wednesday, my computer died and I had to wipe the harddrive and restore from a backup made the previous Saturday night--I was glad I had relatively recently backed it up. But, everything from Sunday to Wednesday was lost including the new church units I had posted. I haven't stored them, but I think I would have recognized it immediately if my workbook still had the units of the San Tan Valley Arizona Stake.

Ray said...


Sorry about that! What would we do without our computers! But I learned from your post that new wards (and I guess branches) need approval from the First Presidency, as well as stakes, to be organized.

The new branch in Peru, Morrope, used to be a group, according to the international atlas in This is the first time I've been aware of a group becoming a branch, but it probably happens more often than we'd think.

Janelle said...

Regarding the visas for Brazil. Our local mission here in Georgia (Macon) has about 20 elders and sisters who were called to Brazil but have not received their visas. They are here because they are close to the Atlanta airport with flights to Brazil when they are needed quickly. Apparently, a U.S. State Department official in San Francisco (where the visa applications are processed) slows down the process for missionaries with home towns in the Western U.S., especially Utah and California. This State Department official is doing this to punish those individuals because of the the Church's support for Proposition 8 a few years ago. Sounds like government corruption like the IRS scandal. From my own ward, there have been two elders who recently received calls to Brazil and they both received their visas in time for them to go to the Brazilian MTC.

Mike Johnson said...

Ray, thanks.

Yes, First Presidency approval is required to create a ward. It is also required to call a bishop. The stake president is the nominating authority for a bishop or a branch president. The approving authority for bishops is the First Presidency, while approval authority for a branch president (in a stake) is the stake high council.

Janelle, thanks for your fascinating post. We have two missionaries from my ward in Brazil. One went to the MTC there and the other spent time in California before going to Brazil after completing the Provo MTC. We are in Virginia.

Ed Clinch said...

I think the Brazilian govt. slows down visas too. Their loss, our gain. The Lord is in charge. But great for many missionaries to work with US Hispanics and others, the occasional Portuguese speakers, maybe some from Africa...

Michael Worley said...


With all due respect that sounds (I hope) like an urban legend. I think the State Dept. deserves us not to spread it around without sources/data, neither of which we have.

My Brother's Visa from VA got delayed (mostly because he got it in late).

Brooks M. Wilson said...

One of my sons is serving in the Washington Spokane Mission waiting for his visa to Brazil and he has been waiting for five months. His materials were sent on time.

The Salt Lake Tribune gives a plausible explanation.

Michael Worley said...

I don't doubt per se that Western Visas take longer (The trib article supports that), only that Prop 8 was the cause of that.

Michael Worley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Pack Lambert said...

The Provo Utah North Park Stake has a new stake president in Robert Val Jaramillo. That last name sounds Hispanic to me, but how Hispanic he is, I don't know. He is only 38, which is young for a stake president especially in the US. His wife's name is DarLeana Kay Rasmussen Jaramillo, which as her maiden name sounds like the quintessential Utah Mormon name.

John Pack Lambert said...

In the ward next to mine there is an elder serving, who go his call in September, left to the MTC in Provo in December, and was supposed to go to Brazil, but due to lack of a visa went to the Charlston West Virginia mission (although to Roanoke Virginia). At least that was where he was at the beginning of March. I have not heard for sure more recently.

John Pack Lambert said...

I just noticed something. Stark's article on the issue in Brazil dates from 2011. So it may or may not relate to the current issue.

I mainly noticed this because it mentioned lowering of age for Brazilian missionaries to 18, and responded by asking "why did they keep the age higher for Brazilians until later".

Then I realized this was because it pre-dated the change in policy for US and other non-specially changed countries by over 18 months.

Having had a friend who had dual US and Brazilian citizenswhip, I wonder if the "none have US citizenship" was true, or if it was just that none both lacked Brazilian citizenship and had US citizenship.

John Pack Lambert said...

Visas are issued by the country you are going to. So the mentioned Los Angeles and San Francisco offices are Brazilian offices.

The other issue is, aren't Visa applications for missionaries handled by the Church? So, they are Utah applications because that is where the church is headquartered, without regard to where the missionary actually lives, or am I misunderstanding things. Also, why can't we get a more workable system?

My father had major visa delays to Brazil in 1972, to the issue comes and goes. I remember Brazil bound visa waiters in the Detroit mission in the mid-1990s. However for several years many missionaries went to the MTC in Brazil, so for a time the system was working.

John Pack Lambert said...

Reading the rest of the Tribune article, it seems that what state a missionary comes from does matter. I wonder if there would be a way to make sure that people who start their mission applications while students at BYU but are natives of other states can be processed as from that other state.

On the other hand, the current delay on visas to Brazil seems to have started more in the spring of 2013, and may be a different set of issues entirely.

John Pack Lambert said...

There are actually more Brazilians in the US than we realize. Parts of Massachusetts and New York City have lots of Brazilians, but there are also Brazilians scattered all over the country.

John Pack Lambert said...

Actually the Trib article does not support a generalized "western" situation. It suggests visa applications from Idaho would be processed much faster than those from Utah. However it is also more than 3 years old.

After the IRS attack on groups scandal, I do not trust people in this administration not to show animus. Also, after so many churches were burned and people boycotted out of jobs, I will not put any evil past the anti-8 hate mongering crowd.

James Anderson said...

I don't think the government as a whole has a bias, it may be just one person or two here or there.

After all, three churches in SE Idaho had arson hits recently, and the FBI has a reward for the arrest and conviction, the person who tried to burn the places down had written 'Die Mormons' on the walls of those places.

In 2008 someone tried to light off the Denver Temple, the FBI investigated that too, he had put a copy of the Book of Mormon by a door and lit that on fire, only know of that due to a talk show host mentioning it, the talk show host is not a member of the Church. Nothing else burned but the book alongside probably damage to any carpeting that might have been by that door (we have carpeting that has to be changed out every 18 months at the Provo Temple under the overhang at the entrance).

Mike Johnson said...

4 of the 7 stakes covered by the West Virginia Charleston Mission are in Virginia:

Buena Vista
Buena Vista YSA

(the other three are:

Charleston West Virginia
Clarksburg West Virginia
Huntington West Virginia

So, it should not be surprising if a missionary called to the West Virginia Charleston Mission ended up in Virginia.

John Pack Lambert said...

Well, for what it's worth he was not "called" there, just assigned on a temporary basis, but I know what you mean.

On the other hand, doesn't Huntington stake take in parts of Ohio and Kentucky? Although in very few cases do stake boundaries run along state lines. In fact there are a few stakes that take in 3 states, with two states involved being non-contiguous. The Exeter New Hampshire stake does this, taking in parts of Massachusetts and Maine.

This is a major difference between LDS stakes and Catholic dioceses. Only 3 Catholic dioceses in the US take in more than one state, and in one case it is the Washington DC Archdiocese that also takes in parts of Maryland. The other two are the Wilmington Delaware Diocese that takes in Eastern Maryland as well, and the Gallup New Mexico Diocese that takes in parts of both New Mexico and Arizona. Of the 48 continuous states, almost all have a stake that extends beyond the state boundaries. Connecticut's two stakes may only be in Connecticut, but nearly a third of the state is in either the Providence Rhode Island Stake or the Yorktown New York Stake.