Thursday, May 15, 2014

New Stakes in Hawaii, Italy, New York, North Dakota, Texas, and Utah; Districts Discontinued in Chile, Italy, Panama, and the Philippines

I have gotten a bit behind providing updates on stakes and districts being created and discontinued. Here's an overview of some recent activity over the past month or so.

On May 4th, the Church created a new stake in Hawaii - marking the first time a non-student/YSA stake has been created in the state since 1996. Based on Maui, the Kahului Hawaii West Stake was created from a division of the Kahului Hawaii Stake (originally organized in 1975) and includes the following six wards:
the Hoolehua, Kahului, Kaunakakai, Lahaina 1st, Lahaina 2nd (Tongan), and Wailuku Wards. There are now 16 stakes in Hawaii.

On May 11th, the Church created a new stake from the Florence Italy and Rimini Italy Districts. The Florence Italy stake includes the following five wards and seven branches: the Firenze, Livorno, Pisa, Prato, and Rimini Wards, and the Ancona, Forli', La Spezia, Montevarchi, Pesaro, Ravenna, and Siena Branches. The Rimini Italy District was discontinued as a result of the formation of the new stake. There are now 10 stakes and one district in Italy.

New York
On April 13th, the Church organized the Lynbrook New York Stake from the Lynbrook New York District and a portion of the Queens (now Woodside) New York Stake. The new stake includes the following six wards and three branches: the Flushing 2nd, Freeport, Jamaica 1st, Jamaica 2nd (Spanish), Little Neck, and Lynbrook Wards, and the Flushing 1st (Spanish), Flushing 3rd (Korean), and Mineola (Spanish) Branches. There are now 16 stakes and one district in New York

North Dakota
On May 4th, the Church created its third stake in North Dakota from a division of the Bismarck North Dakota Stake. The Minot North Dakota Stake includes the following five wards and three branches: the Minot 1st, Minot 2nd, Minot 3rd, Williston 1st, and Williston 2nd Wards, and the New Town, Rugby, and Stanley Branches. The last stake to be organized in North Dakota was the Bismarck North Dakota Stake in 1996. Church membership in the original Bismarck North Dakota Stake has doubled within the past three years due to members moving to the area for the booming oil industry.

On May 4th, the Church created a new stake in Texas from a division of the Frisco Texas Stake. The Frisco Texas Shawnee Trail Stake includes the following seven wards: the Aubrey, Cross Roads, Frisco 2nd, Little Elm, Prosper 1st, Prosper 2nd, and Prosper 3rd Wards. There are now 61 stakes and three districts in Texas.

On April 20th, the Church created a new stake from dividing the Bluffdale Utah Stake. The Bluffdale Utah South Stake includes the following eight wards: the Bluffdale 1st, Bluffdale 5th, Bluffdale 8th, Bluffdale 9th, Bluffdale 10th, Bluffdale 13th, Bluffdale 14th, and Bluffdale 15th Wards. There are now 570 stakes and one district in Utah.

The Church recently discontinued the Melipilla Chile District and closed one of the four branches that previously pertained to the district. The three retained branches now pertain to the Talagante Chile District, which missionaries have reported for several years has been diligently striving to become a stake within the near future. However, member activity and convert retention problems remain extremely severe, as evidenced by the Church once operating separate stakes in Melipilla and Talagante and the failure of missionary and church growth efforts to reestablish a single stake in the area. There are now 74 stakes and 22 districts in Chile.

The Church recently discontinued the Alcalde Diaz Panama District and reassigned branches to the San Miguelito Panama Stake. The Church appeared to try to have the district become a stake as it is located in the Panama metropolitan area and had five branches. Panama also experiences catastrophically low member activity rates and has had nearly half of its LDS congregations closed over the past 15 years. There are now seven stakes and four districts in Panama.

The Church recently discontinued the Mapandan Philippines District and reassigned its branches to the Mangaldan Philippines District. Only three branches pertained to the former district, which was created as a result of the discontinuation of the original Mangaldan Philippines Stake in 2003. The Mangaldan Philippines District now has seven branches. There are now 88 stakes and 82 districts in the Philippines


Ed Clinch said...

Great to see new stake growth in traditional areas of the church like Hawaii and New York, that have not seen recent expansion as much as places like Texas and Utah. I hope that the members in Chile and other locations of attrition garner their strength and become more pure.

Mike Johnson said...

The Essipon Branch, Takoradi Ghana Stake, was created on 13 April. There are now 11 wards and 4 branches in the stake:

Chapel Hill Ward
East Tanokrom Ward
Kojokrom Ward
Kweikuma Ward
Mpintsin 1st Ward
Mpintsin 2nd Ward
Nketsiakrom Ward
Sekondi Ward
Sofokrom Ward
Takoradi Ward
West Tanokrom Ward
Apowa Branch
Eshiem Branch
Essipon Branch
Shama Branch

MLewis82 said...

I wonder if what is happening in the Philippines and Latin America is a natural part of church growth. I'm told Japan was once considered the fastest growing country in the Church in the 60s, 70s, and even into the early 80s. In the 90s things became stagnant and in the 2000s they started consolidating wards and stakes and closing missions. I don't have the official country counts for those decades, but at least anecdotally, my dad served there in the early 60s and baptized over 40 people. My brother served there in the early 90s and baptized 2 people. Latin America and the Philippines are showing signs of doing the same. Will the same happen in Africa in the 2030s?

Ed Clinch said...

As much as Japan may have been "booming" in the 60s until the 90s, the sheer numbers do not compare to the the baptisms and unit growth of the Philippines, Chile and a few other parts of Latin America.

40 converts would be average or low for many missionaries serving in some of these places during the big boom times of Chile and other high baptizing areas. 40 is great for Japan, but I bet he was the outlier rather than the norm.

Africa and all places may see some future similar trends, but each culture has dissimilar advantages and disadvantages that may lead to other trends in the future.

Temple attendance and growth may be one of the best indicators of real growth, in the end.

We shall see.

MLewis82 said...

My curiosity got to me as to what the actual numbers are, so I've tried to come up with some accurate growth numbers for Japan. Here is what I was able to estimate off of the numbers that are available:

Decade - Raw Increase - Average Yearly Increase
1950s - 2,572 - 257 (121.9%)
1960s - 9,702 - 970 (34.9%)
1970s - 33,473 - 3,347 (26.9%)
1980s - 45,042 - 4,504 (9.8%)
1990s - 19,987 - 1,999 (2.2%)
2000s - 13,054 - 1,305 (1.2%)
2010s - 2,940 - 735 (0.6%)

Just as a point of reference, my dad served when the Japan mission was actually the Nothern Far East Mission, which included South Korea, so there weren't more than a 100 missionaries in the whole country and I believe he served 30 months, not two years. Based on the numbers for the 1960s, he was actually pretty average. It would have been 9.7 baptisms per missionary per year or 19.4 per companionship. For 30 months, the average missionary would have seen about 48 baptisms (more than what my dad saw). The mission split a couple times in the late 60s, and the number of missionaries increased to about 200 by 1968.

None of this is to suggest that what came in the 80s and 90s for Latin America and the Philippines wasn't amazing on a whole new level, both in terms of raw increase and percentages. I would probably attribute most of the difference in scale to differences in cultural and economic conditions. My question is whether there in a more universal pattern in how the curve is shaped across countries and cultures.

The recent congregational consolidations in Chile are similar to what happened in Japan and Europe a decade ago. It would be more interesting to track congregational growth, because there we can see fluctuations in active membership better that we don't necessarily see in the reported membership numbers, but I don't have as ready access to that data, and the cumorah site keeps going down for me.

Ed Clinch said...

The data you put together regarding Japan is very good, and can be used to compare growth in all other countries with missionary work in the same time periods, or their own respective decades. Interesting that Korea was included for a while, so none of the 40 converts were in Korea, only Japan? Korea is an incredible case of a people converting to Christianity en masse, while Japan is still largely non-Christian. It makes me wonder about the futures of other east Asian nations concerning Christian conversions and specifically LDS efforts (China, Vietnam, Burma, Thailand et al). Although South Korea would indicate Mormon growth would be accompanied by other evangelizers.

Africa has elements in the 21st century that former countries mentioned have not had, so the inter-dynamics with Islam, social media, and other 21st century nuances should have an effect. But it will continue to be fascinating to observe. I think that the language familiarity of English, French and Portuguese will be a plus for missionary efforts across Africa. When a missionary can effectively teach in his/her target language within the first month there is definitely an advantage as compared to more trying languages like Japanese or Chinese, Korean, etc. Of course, as more native speakers are able to proselytize to their own language speakers, this is another factor that brings real development in activity and maturity in church settings.

Not to make the same cool data that you put together, but Chile had 1100+ members in 12 branches in 1961, 20,000+ in 1972, and by 1990 had about 300,000.

And things did not slow down until the 2000s. There is more comparable growth now like we see in Japan, percentage wise.

As far as current and future Chile, there are thousands of less active or disaffected members, to the chagrin of many (like our brother Rolf in Europe), and of course yours truly, but I cannot help but think that many positive seeds have been planted there.

As a note, I know a Chilean who was just called as stake president in his late 30s. He believes (since I became friends with him in 2005) that he could be president of his country. I think so, too. How would that be, to have an LDS as chief-executive of a Latin American nation? Or any country, including the US? (We were close...)

Anyway, thanks for the numbers and thoughts to ponder.

Oh, one last note: Africa will enjoy more sisters than Japan or Chile did, presumably, so that should also prove another factor as these new gospel nations emerge. Hopefully better than anything in the past.

Thanks, sisters!

Mike Johnson said...

One difference Africa has now that South America and East Asia didn't before is that there is a high degree of self sufficiency with most missionaries coming from inside their own country or from nearby countries.

Mike Johnson said...

The Guayaquil Ecuador Juan Montalvo Stake was created on 18 May. There are 6 wards in the stake:

Alegria Ward
Colinas del Sol Ward
Elvira Ward
Fortin Ward
Sinai Ward
Union Civica Ward

The Santo Domingo Dominican Republic Independencia Stake was created on 18 May. There are 5 wards and 1 branch in the stake:

Altagracia Branch
Haina 1st Ward
Haina 2nd Ward
Herrera 1st Ward
Independencia Ward
Mirador Ward

The Colonia Divina Branch, Sagay Philippines Stake, was created on 4 May. There are now 5 wards and 3 branches in the stake:

Dian-ay Ward
Lopez Jaena Ward
Old Sagay Ward
Sagay 1st Ward
Sagay 2nd Ward
Colonia Divina Branch
Himoga-an Branch
Minapasok Branch

The Las Amerícas Ward, Tegucigalpa Honduras Loarque Stake, was created on 11 May. There are now 7 wards and 3 branches in the stake:

Germania Ward
Jardines de Toncontín Ward
Las Amerícas Ward
Nuevo Loarque Ward
Pedregal Ward
Roble Oeste Ward
Tizatillo Ward
Ojojona Branch
Sabana Grande Branch
Villeda Branch

The New Portage Branch, Akron Ohio Stake, was created on 18 May. There are now 9 wards and 2 branches in the stake:

Akron Ward
Ashland Ward
Canton Ward
Massillon Ward
Medina Ward
New Philadelphia Ward
Tallmadge Ward
Wadsworth Ward
Wooster Ward
Easthill YSA Branch
New Portage Branch

El Mirador said...

Are the congregations created in countries that consolidated congregations in the last decade from new previously unreached areas or are we reopening congregations that once functioned?

The Chatelain's said...

New Portage looks like an area near or a part of Akron, not it's own city

Mike Johnson said...

The Buduburam 2nd Ward, Accra Ghana Kasoa Stake, was created on 18 May. There are now 7 wards and 2 branches in the stake:

Ashtown Ward
Buduburam 1st Ward
Buduburam 2nd Ward
Kasoa 1st Ward
Kasoa 2nd Ward
New Weija Ward
Odorkor Ward
Gbawe Branch
New Gbawe Branch

The Bydgoszcz Poland District, Poland Warsaw Mission, was created on 18 May. There are 4 branches in the district:

Bydgoszcz Branch
Gdańsk Branch
Poznan Branch
Szczecin Branch

The Maio Branch, Praia Cape Verde Stake, was created on 18 May. There are now 10 wards and 5 branches in the stake:

Achada Grande Ward
Assomada 1st Ward
Assomada 2nd Ward
Palmarejo Ward
Praia 1st Ward
Praia 2nd Ward
Praia 3rd Ward
Praia 4th Ward
Praia 5th Ward
Tarrafal Ward
Calheta Branch
Chão Bom Branch
Eugénio Lima Branch
Maio Branch
Ribeirão Manuel Branch

The Mwene-Ditu Democratic Republic of the Congo District, Democratic Republic of the Congo Lubumbashi Mission, was created on 18 May. There are 4 branches in the district:

Aerodrome Branch
Bondoyi Branch
Musadi Branch
Mwene-Ditu Branch

The Pirapora Branch, Montes Claros Brazil District, Brazil Belo Horizonte Mission, was created on 18 May. There are now 5 branches in the district:

Janaúba Branch
Montes Claros 2nd Branch
Montes Claros 1st Branch
Montes Claros 3rd Branch
Pirapora Branch

Mike Johnson said...

The Pescadero Branch, Cabo San Lucas México Stake, was created on 27 April. There are now 5 wards and 1 branch in the stake:

Cabo San Lucas 1st Ward
Cabo San Lucas 2nd Ward
Los Cangrejos Ward
San Jose del Cabo 1st Ward
San Jose del Cabo 2nd Ward
Pescadero Branch

Ed Clinch said...

A good part of my honeymoon was in Los Barriles, BCS. Is this newest branch near there?

John Lambert said...

The Phillipines seem to have turned around somewhat, we are seeing congregation growth there. In fact, Chile, Panama and to a lesser extent Argentina seem to have suffered in ways that few other Latin American countries have.

On the other hand, the Church still has only about half the porportionate membership in Brazil as in other Latin American countries.

Mike Johnson said...

Ed, El Pescadero is on the Pacific side.

LDS Maps shows Los Barriles in the Forjedores Ward, La Paz México Stake. However, the chapel is a long way away from Los Barriles.

Note, both Google Maps and LDS Maps search functions place Los Barriles in La Paz itself. It took me a bit to find it on the gulf coast to the south almost inside the Cabo San Lucas Stake.

Ed Clinch said...

Thanks! Slightly up the coast on the Sea of Cortez was a place called Punta Pescadera, much smaller than Los Barriles. We attended church in Cabo first, then tried in La Paz the next Sunday and had a small get together with another US family there because we were late. Good stuff.

John Pack Lambert said...

New Portage is actually appearently Barberton, Ohio. Barberton was founded in 1891 by O. C. Barber, who among other things located a large match factory there, and attract huge numbers of immigrants from what was then the Austro-Hungarian Empire to work in his factories. However, before that there had been one or more small farming communities in the area. One of these was New Portage, which for a while in the 1830s had an LDS branch with Parley P. Pratt as president. In fact, Elder Pratt was serving as branch president in New Portage when called as a member of the 12.

I am guessing that this connection to the early history of the church may be why the branch was named New Portage and not Barberton. New Portage may also still be a recognized sub-section of Barberton, even if Wikipedia lacks an article on it. I know we have had inner-city branches in Detroit whose names would be hard to understand from Wikipedia, and even the ones we have left, the two truly inner city branches and the one inner city ward, althought you can find what their names reference, the connection between the Detroit River, Belle Isle, and Palmer Park and these three units is in each case not obvious. The Belle Isle branch meets in a chapel closer to the river than Detroit River Branch does, and they have about equal amounts of the river shore line. The Palmer Park Ward meets in a former Eastern Orthodox Church a few blocks from the so-named Park, but it might well be more accurate to call it the Highland Park Ward, but who wants to be named after a city with so many social problems that it is what Detroit does not want to become.

John Pack Lambert said...

Barberton is also know as the Magic City, because its fast growth in the 1890s was once described by an Akron Beacon Report as "Magic". The story has not been so pretty more recently. In 1989 Cornell University Press published a monograph entitled "The Magic City: Unemployment in a Working-class Community" all about high unemployment rates in Barberton. Barberton touches Akron.

I am not sure exactly what the New Portage branch's formation represents, but it seems to be about the Church increasing outreach in a specific area. This to me is good, especially since at times it almost seemed like all English-speaking geographical branches in the US would soon be gtone.