Thursday, January 29, 2015

First LDS Stake to be Organized in Vanuatu in April; Applications for Stakes Awaiting Approval for Mozambique and Zambia

Missionaries serving in the Vanuatu Port Vila Mission report that the Church will organize its first stake in Vanuatu this April from the Port Vila Vanuatu District. Vanuatu is the country with the fifth most members without a stake according to membership data from year-end 2013. The Port Vila Vanuatu District currently has seven branches.

The Church in Vanuatu reported 6,103 members at year-end 2013 and 31 branches at year-end 2014.

Mozambique and Zambia
Missionaries report that applications have been sent to Church Headquarters requesting the organization of the first stakes in Mozambique and Zambia. Plans call for the organization of three new stakes from the Beira Mozambique District, Maputo Mozambique District, and the Lusaka Zambia District. Mozambique is the country with the fourth most members without a stake whereas Zambia is the country with the tenth most members without a stake according to year-end 2013 membership data.

The Church in Mozambique reported 6,900 members at year-end 2013 and 26 branches at year-end 2014.

The Church in Zambia reported 2,758 members at year-end 2013 and 13 branches at year-end 2014.


ak47 said...

According to Mozambique Mission President Paulo Kretly, the Maputo Mozambique Stake will be created 14-15 February by Elder Stanley G. Ellis. More than 500 complete families have been baptized in the past two years & 90 Mozambican missionaries are currently serving missions.

John Pack Lambert said...

I am very excited about the organization of a stake in Mozambique. The story of the Church being established in Mozambique in the early 1990s is quite interesting. The Church was first brought to Mozambique by a man who went to East Germany to train in socialism and learned of the gospel while there. He was forced to return to Mozambique when East Germany no longer existed to sponsor him at the reunification of Germany. He shared the gospel with his father-in-law, who then spread it to many other people before the missionaries arrived.

Joseph said...

25 January
Almendros Ward, Mérida México Centro Stake (9 Wards)
Chegutu Branch, Zimbabwe Harare Mission (7 Branches, 2 Districts)
Williston 3rd Ward, Minot North Dakota Stake (3 Branches, 6 Ward)

18 January
Apo Ward, Abuja Nigeria Stake (3 Branches, 12 Wards)

John Pack Lambert said...

More updates on new mission presidents. We are now at either 12 or 13 of 24 from outside the US. This week we have one new one from Brazil, putting Brazil to 3, second only to the US. 1 from England serving over the Scotland/Ireland Mission. One from Honduras and one from Nicaragua. There is also one who both he and his wife are natives of Japan but they currently live in the Provo Utah Oak Hills Stake. I can not tell how long they have lived in the US.

John Pack Lambert said...

The mention of the new branch in Zimbabwe got me looking at LDS maps. I am trying to figure out what is going on with the Durban South Africa Stake. It includes the Margate Branch, which is drawn as less than 5 kilometers wide, and more than 50 long. What makes this even odder is anything inland is in the Durban South Africa Mission Branch. I am not sure what is going on there, but it seems odd.

Mike Johnson said...

Mission branches, like the Durban South Africa Mission Branch, are administrative branches. Usually, the mission president is the administrative branch president. These generally have multiple groups inside the branch. In other words, groups are inside branches and wards and often administrative branches are created to administer multiple groups as they mature into branches.

There are similar administrative branches inside districts and areas.

I have seen long thin branches in other areas. They tend to follow major roads. The Margate Branch is next to the Amanzimtoti Ward of similar dimensions along the same major coastal ward.

Mike Johnson said...

Somebody mentioned the other day that the church is now using something called a "cluster" which is in between a group and a branch. Some of these clusters have 200 or more in attendance, but limited to no priesthood holders. I wonder if anybody else has heard about such clusters.

Gnesileah said...

This blog post elaborates on the new "cluster" units being piloted in Africa. Very interesting, and something that can be very beneficial in so many areas.

Mike Johnson said...

Thank you for the blog post. I find it interesting. However, some things are in error both in the post and in one of the sources used.

Groups are always in a ward or branch. They are not independent units as stated in the blog. This is one reason why administrative branches are created to shepherd multiple groups.

I found it interesting that the clusters were considered to be part of a ward.

There are different criteria for branches in stakes and branches in missions (including districts). A branch in a stake requires 3-5 active, full tithe paying Melchizedek Priesthood holders and at least 20 members. A branch in a mission requires 3-5 active priesthood holders, only one of which needs to be an active, full-tithe paying, Melchizedek Priesthood holder.

So, maybe the cluster, being part of a ward (part of a stake), would not have the priesthood required to be a branch in a stake. But, I still don't know why it would not be a group.

I wonder if a cluster can be created by a ward. The group would need to be created by a stake or mission. However, I doubt a bishop would create one without at least discussing it with the stake president.

The equityisnotafeeling blog, with a table, is interesting. The 39 men required for a stake is not correct (24 + 15 per ward for at least 5 wards does not allow 39). But, it does raise an issue. Could the Church create units without women? Answer, it has done so in the military and in prisons. However, with increasing numbers of women in the military, what happens if the only members on a Navy ship are women? The women could do everything except bless and pass the sacrament. They could conduct the meetings, which in a group usually last about an hour with sacrament and then a talk or lesson. That could be a long time without the sacrament while on a deployment. Something to think about.

Eduardo Clinch said...

The prospect of a US Navy ship having only sisters and no men is possible, but not likely due to male rates in the military. Maybe a good chance to help less active dudes step up. I suppose a submarine may have the best chance of only female LDS crew on a long term deployment...This military policy is new. Interesting to speculate about non-US LDS in the military. Their members must be growing.

James Anderson said...

The number may actually vary, as just for high priests you need the following:

3 Stake Presidency
12 High Council
3 times 5 (15) for a five-ward stake.

That makes 30 high priests. If a high priest group leader is called that would be 35 right off, and the more wards that are organized, you add three or four for each ward (bishoprick and high priest group leader).

Plus maybe any other stake callings that require the Melchizedek priesthood holder be a high priest.

For elders, you need at least some for certain stake callings, plus an elders quorum presidency in the ward. There are also some callings that require the member be a Melchizedek priesthood holder, such as ward mission leader, YM presidency member, and some stake clerk positions (Assistant stake technology specialist can be anyone), along with the stake and ward executive secretaries.

James Anderson said...

The last line should have read, 'Assistant stake technology specialists can be anyone, although stake and ward executive secretaries have to be Melchizedek priesthood holder'.

Mike Johnson said...

Eduardo, the probability that any given ship will have only LDS women is indeed low, however, given the number of ship, the probability rises to a reasonable level that one ship every few years, will have only females among the LDS. I am not sure why submarines would be more likely first, as submarines are last ships where women can serve.

Looking at US destroyers, with about 300 in the crew, and nominal numbers like 1% of crews are active LDS (which is roughly my experience) and that 20% of crews are female (which is about what I have seen in the fleet). Than about 4% of the destroyers should active female LDS crew, but no active male LDS crew. Now, it is possible that LDS females are less likely to join the Navy than that of the regular population. So, perhaps, this number is high.

My point is that it is going to happen sooner or later. US cruisers, destroyers, often only have a couple of LDS crewmen and today about 20% of the crews are female.

John Pack Lambert said...

Actually, it does not sound like a cluster is between a group and a branch, it more sounds like a way for a ward to hold sacrament meeting in more than one location, while not going as far as having two locations where members just randomly go to one or the other. From what I read, I got the impression that things done during the week (youth activities, ward activities, relief society meetings, etc.) would be ward wide, and they would try to get the people in the cluster out. I might not be fully understanding the concept.

John Pack Lambert said...

I have suspicions about the accuracy of the source on Clusters. It is written by an advocate of ordaining women to the priesthood. I began to suspect things when they put "worthy" in scare quotes.

They overlook other major issues. You can have a group of 50 people, where 15 of them are adult males, clearly enough for a functioning branch. However if all 15 were baptized in the last year, they are unlikely to have been ordained to the Melchezidek Priesthood.

I also get the impression that the goal here is to have the benefits of a large ward combined with reachable meetings on Sunday.

Mike Johnson said...

The source of the cluster is a missionary couple's blog from last September.

I agree. Although told originally that a cluster was in between a branch or a group, I think a cluster is less formal than a group; a group I think still needs a stake or mission president to establish, even though it is part of a ward or branch. The cluster seems to simply be informally organized by a ward.

It does seem odd that the cluster has its own sacrament meeting because of distances, but weekly activities are still combined. That said, this could be to avoid having to take public transportation on Sunday. Or perhaps public transportation isn't even available on Sunday.

An interesting idea would be a combination of cluster and a call-in branch. Technology might be available to allow a cluster to meet and connect with the ward sacrament meeting.

Mike Johnson said...

Going through Elder Clegg's posts, I think it is interesting. Only a few Melchizedek Priesthood short of a ward? That may have been a slip and he meant branch. If ward is meant, than that would indicate 12-13 MPH. If he meant branch, than there would be 2-3.

It is also possible that the Ward isn't ready to have the cluster separate as then the Ward would not have enough members to qualify. When wards are split, all resulting units have to qualify.

There used to be unit called a "dependent branch" which was part of a larger branch or a ward and imported priesthood leadership. This cluster seems to be like the old "dependent branch."

John Pack Lambert said...

The public transportation issue may well be the big one. I know here in metro-Detroit public transportation is much more available during the week than on Sunday, Saturday being an intermediary time. So people who could come to a place by bus on a Tuesday would find it harder on a Sunday.

When I was a student at Eastern Michigan University I would take the bus to activities at the Church building during the week. On Sunday I would get a ride, walk or ride my bike. It was 3 miles, so the others were doable, but I was in the closest part of the ward.