Monday, September 25, 2017

Two Wards and Five Branches Created in Benin City, Nigeria in One Weekend

Unprecedented congregational growth continues in Nigeria. Thus far in 2017, there has been a net increase of 78 wards and branches. This is the largest net increase in congregations of any country outside of the United States since 2000 when the Church in the Philippines reported a net increase of 106 wards and branches. To contrast, the Church in Nigeria last year reported a net increase of 46 wards and branches.

Last Sunday, the Church in Benin City organized two new wards and five new branches. This appears to be the largest number of new wards and branches organized in a single city during a single weekend in the history of the Church in Sub-Saharan Africa. Even more impressive, the Church in Benin City has already maintained a steady stream of newly organized wards and branches. Prior to last Sunday, the Church in Benin City had already organized four new branches since late August for a grand total of 11 new wards and branches created within Benin City within approximately one month. A local member in Benin City reported that within the past year there has been an emphasis on the organization of smaller congregations that assemble closer to the homes of members and prospective members. Recently organized branches over the past year have experienced good results increasing the number of people who attend church services. Thus, this church-planting approach to growth may yield more impressive increases in membership and congregations with higher convert retention and member activity.

44 comments:

Eduardo Clinch said...

Wow. LeGrand Richards would think this is how things should go.

James said...

This is wonderful news indeed. If this keeps up, there is more than ample reason to assume that Nigeria will get its second temple, and even perhaps a third, within the next 15-30 years. If this last weekend is any indication, then Nigeria will continue to expand its outreach. I can definitely see the appeal of smaller, more manageable units. I wish that kind of thing occurred more frequently elsewhere in the world. I have personally found that, when leaders of church units are stretched thin in their efforts to adequately minister to the members they are assigned to serve, this can take a toll on how well and at what rate that ward increases its faithfulness. I hope we will continue to see much more amazing growth Church-wide in the next several years. Thanks for this report as well, Matt!

Henry Ponnefz said...

On the other hand, at least in South America, when wards do not split or new branches are created. The old members keep all the callings and new members do not have opportunities to serve and grow. I have seen this in many wards in South America.
People in Africa are getting baptized are also getting opportunities to serve and grow.
Henry.

99 said...

Some bad news: The church in Sinaloa state in Mexico is seeing a rather sudden decline as an entire stake (Mazatlan Mexico West) is discontinued and a whopping 7 wards across 3 stakes were simultaneously discontinued today (9/26) in Culiacan and Mazatlan, all in Sinaloa state. The Culiacan Mexico Humaya stake now stands at 3 wards and 1 branch, and it seems as though this stake is awaiting discontinuation as well.

james anderson said...

Members are moving away from Sinaloa state, from news reports about the drug wars in Mexico, this is one of the areas that has degenerated into a real hellhole for that type of activity.

Bryce .Gillespie said...

Said news in my stack one of the wards witch I allways thought was one of the largest wards was discontinued Sunday.
From my understanding this was in part to members moving out other wards in my stack don't seem to be doing better.

Bryan Dorman said...

Yes Sinaloa is going through tough times in the drug war, and is one of the most violent states in Mexico.

What you see in Mexico are those fleeing north into the USA, or south into Mexico City and surrounding industrial cities like Puebla, Pachuca, Queretaro, Leon, and Guadalajara.

Also the distance from that area to the nearest temple is gigantic for today's Mexican standards. It is 10 hours from Culiacan to Hermosillo, one way. And 7 hours from Mazatlan to Guadalajara, one way.

In comparison it is two hours from Puebla, 90 minutes from Pachuca, and a bit over two and a half hours, from Queretaro to Mexico City.

Sinaloa desperately needs a temple in the worst possible way but there would be nobody to man it.

In the near future for Mexico, I see temples for Puebla (announcement before 2020), Queretaro (before 2025), Torreon (before 2025), and Cancun (2025) in that order.

Cory Ward said...

I am also disappointed by the consolidations of the Wards in Sinaloa. I was hopeful that the Three stakes would someday divide into five stakes, considering two of the stakes had 10 wards. If it did have 5 stakes, I personally think A temple announcement would have been imminent.

But with these consolidations it doesn't look that way soon. I don't think they will dissolve the Culiacan Humaya stake, rather the Wards from the other stakes will be evened out. I seems like changes are still going though the computer systems.

But considering the distance, I still think a Temple is Culiacan is likely in the mid future. Temples operate in Hermosillo, Villahermosa,and Tuxtla Gutierrez with three or less stakes in the city, Albeit with small operating schedules. Serving my Mission in Cancun, a temple would be an Amazing blessing. But they don't have to sacrifice nearly as much travel time as they do in Sinaloa. It takes 4 to 5 hours to go to Mérida, even less if you take the toll highway. However Cancun and Playa del Carmen continue to build new houses like crazy.

Eduardo Clinch said...

Bryce: where is your stake?

Eduardo Clinch said...

Seems like Bryce has talked about his home stake area before. Montana, Colorado, Nevada, Alaska...
Too bad he sees attrition there, whereever it is.

John Pack Lambert said...

I really think we will see a 2nd temple announced for Nigeria in less than a year, a 3rd no later than 2020 and 15 years out it will probably have 5 temples. It currently has a less than 12,000 square foot temple serving 43 stakes and several districts.

I do have to point out discontinuing units is not always a bad thing. The ultimate goal is to draw all unto Christ, sometimes this goal is best achieved throgh people having more time with their families which is not brought about through small units with people having too much demands on their time.

phxmars said...

It looks like there will be a consolidation of stakes up the coast from Culiacan in Ciudad Obregon as well. 2 of the 3 Navajoa wards of the Ciudad Obregon Yaqui Stake have been made branches and combined with an existing district. That leaves only 4 wards in that stake and only 5 in the other Ciudad Obregon stake. If I were to take a more positive view, I might say they are getting ready for a new stake in Navajoa.

Bryce .Gillespie said...

Sorry I should of named it I live in the Panama Florida stack.
I sarved my Mission in Montana and Wyoming.

Bryce .Gillespie said...

I wonder how many wards and stacks that have been discontinued so far this year is due to members moving.

R. Jofre said...

Panama City Florida has a depressed economy. Low wages, expensive utilities, and food. It makes sense for people to move out of there. That is what must be affecting Church growth.

Bryce .Gillespie said...

All true having lived here for most of my life we have had are up and downs in membership.
There's a lot of lies actives.but there has been at times in the past that the church has done great in Panama city some of the wards would get over 200 at sacrament meetings and then it will full back down again. It wasn't that long ago that they talked about splating some of the wards. But now I don't know what's next. But I know there's some big changes coming to the North Florida stacks before to Long.

Christopher said...

Bryce, this is kind of a fly's undone moment, but it's stake, not stack. :)

Mike Johnson said...

Bryce has used "stack" for stake for years.

Eduardo Clinch said...

Panama City Stack? Tallahassee? IHOP and Denny's ought to form stacks.

James said...

Guys, be nice. As someone pointed out to me once, it could be that Bryce is commenting from a mobile phone with autocorrect, which he may not be able to control. I'm more interested personally in discussing why all these units are being dissolved. If the intent is to add strength to the remaining units, that is all well and good. But if there is some other reason, then it could be indicative of a new negative trend.

Btw, in terms of the next general conference, it was announced today that neither Elder Hales nor President Monson would be participating this weekend. I am guessing Presidents Eyring and Uchtdorf may ask President Nelson to give a second talk. There may be some on this comment board who are new to this kind of thing, but for those like me, who read about (or were alive during) the Kimball and Benson presidencies as these two Church presidents were in their declining years, it is clear that the Lord is in full control of His Church. More on those developments can be found over this General Conference weekend on my blog at the address below. Thanks.

http://stokessoundsoff.blogspot.com

Eduardo Clinch said...

I guess the stake and wards Bryce is talking about is the northern panhandle of Florida.
Economic reasons?

Bryce .Gillespie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bryce .Gillespie said...

The northern panhandle of Florida is going though a rebuilding in the economy.
There a lot of moving both in and out the city's of Panama City Dustin and pinsacola all witch are growing city's. But all the town's around or not growing at all.
With regards to members there seems to be a move trowds the new parts of the city's.
I think the panhandle is going to see a lot more moving of the ward bounders with wards ether being discontinued or aded all though the panhandle.
In regards to a temple for Florida from what was said in stake pristhood meeting a month ago it sounds like the Orlando temple isn't being used a whole lot though out the week.

Levi said...

So are we going to have 1100 wards in California first or 1100 wards in Idaho first.

MainTour said...

Definitely Idaho. Only news I hear about in California are people moving from here to to Idaho and potential more ward reductions here. We seem to lose families each month at the ratio of two families out for every one that moves in.

Michael Worley said...

Maintour, CA has over 1,100 wards. Levi was asking if it will lose enough wards to hit that # before Idaho gains enough to hit it.

Levi said...

Exactly!! Basically, I'm being a cynic and realist. California seems to lose one or two wards every other week and Idaho seems to net gain a ward every three weeks or so.

Ray said...

As of today's CDOL report, CA has lost 63 wards and branches (about 75% wards and 25% branches) since the beginning of 2016. Idaho grew at a very rapid pace up through 2015, but since the beginning of 2016 has actually declined by 6 (plus 3 wards and minus 9 branches).

Meanwhile Utah was up 66--plus 74 wards and minus 8 branches in the same 1 3/4 years. At present one of every six congregations is located in Utah.

John Pack Lambert said...

about 1 in every six members lives in Utah so that roughly works.

John Pack Lambert said...

I think it is time that they have a general conference choir that is assembled elsewhere are has its performance broadcast into the conference center.

John Pack Lambert said...

The 1st stake in a country Elder Renlund mentioned organizing may have been the Gaborne Botswana Stake.

James said...

It could have also been the first Q"eqchi' language stake in Guatemala, which he oversaw in June. Just saying.

John Pack Lambert said...

Considering how little time Elder Cook and Elder Wirthlin were in the presidency of the 70 I could see Elder Uceda being called as an apostle.

I would not mind Elder Gong but his having worked almost his whole career for the US government would cause a new level of US/Mormon alliance comments.

Since of the last 3 called to the 12, only 1 was in the presidency of the 70 there are lots of other options. Since Elder Bednar was not even a general authority there might be more options. I expect the new member of the 12 will be a general authority. Elder Costa is my default #1 guess but some expect someone younger. we shall see.

I believe President George Albert Smith died before conference finished.

James said...

If you take into account the other two apostles called during President Monson's administration, we have 3 from the Presidency of the Seventy (2 of which were serving as Senior President, and the other, who was the second in seniority in that Presidency), 1 was the Presiding Bishop, and 1 was a GA Seventy. Which Elder Costa? I am assuming Claudio R. M., but it could just as easily be Joaquin E. And while Elder Gong might be viewed more harshly in view of his political career, we do have one Church President (Ezra Taft Benson) who served as the US Secretary of Agriculture under FDR, all while serving as an apostle. And he was able to be true to both assignments. If other people have a problem with whomever is called, it will primarily be because they have not taken time to gain a witness that whomever is called is the one whom the Lord needs in the apostleship at this time. Any who have that witness will not care whom is called, or how "controversial" his appointment might be in the eyes of the world.

As I observed in the thread in which the apostolic deaths were discussed (don't know if it was this one), President George Albert Smith died on April 4, 1951 (his 81st birthday). According to the official report of the April 1951 General Conference proceedings, that conference was held from April 6-9. During that conference, the Saturday Afternoon Session was taken up with the funeral proceedings for President Smith. And it was in one of the Monday sessions of that General Conference that the solemn assembly sustaining of President McKay was held. That is a matter of record.

It is interesting to see how the deaths of the apostles have occurred. And I find it interesting that President Monson has seen six of the apostles junior to him pass away in roughly the same amount of time that President Hinckley's administration saw 2 apostolic deaths. It is obvious that the Lord is directing the apostolic changes as fully now as He ever has.

coachodeeps said...

Ezra Taft Benson served as Secretary of Agriculture under Dwight D. Eisenhower, not FDR. FDR was President before and during WWII.

coachodeeps said...

Interesting fact, Benson was only one of 2 cabinet members to serve all 8 years under Eisenhower, the other being the Postmaster General, which position is no longer considered part of a President's cabinet.

James said...

Good catch, coach! Thanks! And interesting information. Thanks for that as well. I don't know why i get the two confused. Sorry about that. And I should have said that President Hinckley saw 3 apostolic deaths in the time that President Monson has seen six. I forgot to include President Hunter in my count. But 6 apostolic deaths in just under 10 years is quite unheard of, at least from what I have been able to tell about such periods in the past. I could be wrong on that. Thanks again to you all.

twinnumerouno said...

Actually, there have been only 5 apostolic deaths since President Monson became the prophet (Wirthlin, Perry, Packer, Scott, and now Hales). But if you include Presidents Faust and Hinckley, that means 7 deaths in just a little over 10 years. And I think this is not without precedent.

As one example- not sure if there are other such periods, in the 10 1/2 years from 1901-1911, we had the deaths of President George Q. Cannon in April 1901, Pres. Lorenzo Snow in October 1901, then Brigham Young, Jr. (Pres. of Q of 12) in 1903, Elder Abraham O. Woodruff in 1904, Elder Marriner W. Merrill in 1906, Elder George Teasdale in 1907, Pres. John R. Winder (a counselor in the First Presidency though not an apostle) in 1910 and Pres. John Henry Smith (father of George Albert Smith) in late 1911 after 18 months in the First Presidency. So eight deaths in 10.5 years, plus we had the resignations of two other apostles, John W. Taylor and Matthias F. Cowley, in 1905. In late 1911, Pres. Joseph F. Smith, his 1st counselor, Anthon H. Lund, and the first 4 members of the Quorum of the Twelve (Francis M. Lyman, Heber J. Grant, Rudger Clawson and Reed Smoot) were the only apostles who had been serving more then 10.5 years, and Clawson and Smoot had not been in much longer than that.

James said...

The six I refer to includes President Hinckley, whose death resulted in President Monson's ascension to the Church presidency. So, we have Hinckley, Wirthlin, Perry, Packer, Scott, and now Hales. As I have observed (whether in this thread or one of the others, I am not sure), when President Monson was reflecting in the temple following President Hinckley's passing, as he thought and prayed about whom to select as his counselors, when he came to the determination to choose Elders Eyring and Uchtdorf, he pondered on the fact that they were more in the junior half of the apostleship (as only Elders Bednar and Cook were the more junior of the 14 then alive, making Eyring and Uchtdorf the 11th and 12th in apostolic seniority.) He came to the conclusion that his apostolic seniority more than made up any difference that there may have been because his counselors were such junior apostles. With Elder Hales's passing, Presidents Eyring and Uchtdorf have no become the 6th & 7th most senior apostles, meaning they have, in the almost 10 years in which they have served with President Monson, gone from being among the most junior apostles to being in the senior half of the apostleship. I can't help thinking that, with the passing of Elder Hales, it is getting increasingly more likely that we will see both Elder Holland (who is the 5th in apostolic seniority and the 8th oldest, still being in the younger half of the Quorum; he is also younger than both President Uchtdorf and Elder Cook, with the former being almost a month older, and the latter being almost three months older) and Elder Bednar (who is the 8th in apostolic seniority and the 3rd youngest apostle currently serving) live to become presidents of the Church. The only question in my mind is how and when that might happen, which, as with everything else relating to apostolic succession, is up to the Lord. I agree that we have seen more apostolic deaths in similar lengths of time previously, but I can definitely see the hand of the Lord making it possible for some that started out being very junior apostles now moving into the senior ranks of the apostleship. It will be intriguing to me to see what happens with the Church presidency in the coming years. I will be particularly eager to find out who will be the President of the Church and how many temples we will have as the Church celebrates its 200th anniversary on Saturday April 6, 2030, and what the Church will do to mark that bicentennial. One thing is sure: the Lord will likely surprise all of us with what His Church leadership looks like at that time. Thanks for your additional comment on this. Hope no one is taking offense at my ongoing comments on this. Just wanted to clarify what I meant and expand on that idea. Thanks.

NewsAnchor007 said...

There is a new stake being created in Massachusetts, 11 months after our stake split. This time it involves the Hingham, Boston and Springfield stakes to create the new Blackstone Valley Massachusetts Stake on 10/22/17

Brothers and sisters, the kingdom of God is growing in New England. The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve have approved the creation of a new stake, the Blackstone Valley Massachusetts Stake, from wards and branches currently in the Boston Massachusetts, Hingham Massachusetts and Springfield Massachusetts stakes. The Blackstone Valley Massachusetts Stake will be created on Sunday, October 22nd.

The Blackstone Valley Stake will consist of these nine units: the Framingham 1st Ward, Framingham 2nd Branch, Marlborough Ward, Worcester 1st and 2nd Wards and the Worcester 3rd Branch from the Boston Massachusetts Stake and the Foxboro Ward, the Franklin 1st Ward and the Franklin 2nd Branch from the Hingham Stake. In addition, the boundaries of the Hingham Ward and the Oxford Ward will be adjusted as follows: the towns of Quincy and Milton will be moved from the Hingham Ward and become part of the Boston 1st Ward. The towns of Upton and Uxbridge will be moved from the Oxford Ward in the Springfield Stake and become part of the Franklin 1st Ward.

The Blackstone Valley Stake will be created in conjunction with the Boston and Hingham Stake Conference to be held on October 21st and 22nd. All members of Framingham 1st Ward, Framingham 2nd Branch, Marlborough Ward, Worcester 1st and 2nd Wards and the Worcester 3rd Branch; all members of the Hingham Stake; and all members living in Upton and Uxbridge are invited to all sessions of the Hingham Stake Conference. Elder Anthony D. Perkins, a General Authority Seventy, will preside at this conference. The Priesthood Leadership session will begin at 4:30pm on October 21st and will be followed by the adult session at 7:00pm. Both Saturday sessions will be held at the Hingham stake center in Franklin, Massachusetts; 91 Jordan Road, Franklin MA 02038. The Sunday session will begin at 10:00am on October 22nd and will be held in the Hingham stake center in Franklin and broadcast to the Worcester building, 67 Chester Street, Worcester, MA 01605. At this conference session the Blackstone Valley stake will be created and the new stake presidencies of both the Hingham and Blackstone Valley Stakes will be sustained.

The Boston Stake Conference will also be held on October 21st and 22nd with Elder Michael M. Dudley, an Area Authority Seventy, presiding. All members of the Boston 1st Ward, Boston 2nd Branch, Boston 3rd Ward, Boston 4th Branch Brookline Ward, Weston 1st Ward and Weston 2nd Ward as well as those members of the Hingham Ward living in Quincy and Milton are invited to attend all sessions of the Boston Stake Conference. The priesthood leadership session and adult sessions will be held on October 21st at 4:00pm and 7:00pm respectively, while the general session will be held at 10:00am on Sunday, October 22nd. All sessions will be held at the stake center in Weston, 150 Brown Street, Weston, MA, 02493

james anderson said...

Just saw a Facebook post with a grainy visual of the boundaries of this

https://www.facebook.com/hinghamstakelds/photos/a.709770139066827.1073741831.311027098941135/1584777521566080/?type=3

LDS Geographer said...

Hello, this is 99 but I changed my email so I got a new name.
I was just checking the LDSCHURCHTEMPLES site for the latest church unit changes, and it seems like today was pretty well after the many discontinuations last week. There was quite a lot of positive growth and units.
However, one really stuck out to me. The Germfask Branch which was created in the Green Bay Wisconsin stake. Germfask, MI is on the Upper Peninsula. It seems to be dozens of miles away from any other meetinghouse, so geographically it is a convenience to those who would attend. However, for a place outside of the Mormon corridor with such a small population (491, 2000 Census, Germfask Township) to have an established branch is quite a surprise. An article on lds.org dated June 1996 is the story of an LDS member of Germfask, and apparently there was a branch there. https://www.lds.org/friend/1996/06/molly-white-of-germfask-michigan?lang=eng
Could it be that the branch was discontinued and reestablished?
On another note, these articles about faithful members in smaller branches are quite enjoyable to read. I am outside the Mormon Corridor but my local meetinghouse is pretty close to me so reading about them is an eye-opener for me.

James said...

Interesting. I took some time to review the history of Church unit creations in Massachusetts. With the creation of this new stake coming within a year of the time the last stake was created, it will be interesting to see what might happen with the Church in that state going forward. I know that Church growth in the United States in general has reportedly stagnated, but it looks as though this state is not currently contributing to that.

It has been further interesting to see the changes that have been reported in Church units within the US, both with wards and branches being discontinued in some areas and with new wards and branches being created in others. It is intriguing to see how the Lord is directing the furthering of His work. Thanks to everyone who is contributing to my understanding of such interesting tidbits.

John Pack Lambert said...

Distance issues make more than 2 wards at a building rare in Michigan. However the Lansing Stake Center has 3 wards, oneof the a YSA ward. Two chapels in the Detroit Mission had 3 wards back in 2010 but there have been wards discontinued since then. In one case some of the ward at the 3 ward chapel was moved to strengthen a ward at a 1 ward chapel.

Actually the count is 13 1 unit chapels and 11 2 unit chapels.