Sunday, January 13, 2019

New Stakes Created in Utah (2), New District in Uganda

Utah
The Church organized two new stakes on January 6th.

The Hurricane Utah North Stake was organized from a division of the Hurricane Utah West Stake. The new stake includes the following eight wards: Hurricane 1st, Hurricane 2nd, Hurricane 7th, Hurricane 8th, Hurricane 12th, Hurricane 14th, Hurricane 17th, and Hurricane 25th Wards. There are now three stakes in Hurricane and 30 stakes in Washington County.

The Pleasant Grove Utah Manila Creek Stake was organized from a division of the Pleasant Grove Utah Manila Stake. The new stake includes the following seven wards: the Manila 2nd, Manila 3rd, Manila 4th, Manila 5th, Manila 7th, Manila 8th, and Manila 12th Wards. There are now 10 stakes in Pleasant Grove, Utah.

There are now 598 stakes and one district in Utah.

Uganda
The Church organized two new districts in Uganda. With these new district creations, the number of cities with a stake or district in Uganda has doubled from two to four.

On January 6th, the Masaka Uganda District was organized from three mission branches located in the city of Masaka, namely the Kijjabwemi, Masaka, and Nyendo Branches. Mission leaders report that 313 people attended the special conference to organize the district. Significant growth has recently occurred in Masaka over the past few years as church attendance has increased from 95 people in one branch to approximately 300 in three branches. Of the three branches in the city, two were organized in 2018. The original Masaka Branch was organized in 2011 after fortuitous efforts from senior missionaries who conducted humanitarian work in the area and made contact with members and investigators who had moved to the area. There were no plans to create a branch in Masaka originally based upon reports from senior missionaries who served in the area. However, mission leadership eventually decided to establish a member group and then a branch due to the high level of interest from members and investigators in the city.

On January 13th, the Busia Uganda District was organized from three branches in the Uganda Kampala Mission, namely the Busia 1st, Busia 2nd, and Busia 3rd Branches. Mission leaders report that 317 people attended the special conference to organize the district. The Church organized its first branch in Busia on the Kenyan-side of the city in 2009, followed by a second branch on the Ugandan-side of the city in 2012. A third branch was created in the city on the Ugandan-side in 2018. Like with Masaka, significant increases in church attendance and convert baptisms have recently occurred in Busia. The Church reassigned the Kenya-based Busia 1st Branch from the Kenya Nairobi Mission to the Uganda Kampala Mission within the past couple years to help better administered to the branches needs and prepare for the creation of a district one day.

There are now three stakes and two districts in Uganda. Prospects appear likely within the next 1-2 years for the organization of new districts in additional cities once a third branch is organized in these locations. The Church currently reports two mission branches each in three additional cities: Gulu, Lira, and Mbale.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Twelve Missions to Close, Four Missions to Open this July - Analysis

As I noted in a post last week, the Church announced plans to close twelve missions and organize four new missions in July of 2019. There will be 399 missions worldwide after these changes go into effect. Missions that will consolidate with nearby missions include:
  • Argentina Posadas 
  • California Irvine 
  • California Long Beach 
  • California Rancho Cucamonga 
  • Canada Halifax 
  • Florida Tallahassee 
  • Georgia Macon 
  • Idaho Nampa 
  • Japan Sendai 
  • Korea Daejeon 
  • New York Utica 
  • Virginia Chesapeake 
The closure of most of these twelve missions appeared likely. As I noted
in a post in December, I believed it was likely that as many as 22 missions may close this summer albeit only five of these missions I correctly predicted (six if you count California Anaheim instead of California Irvine). These mission closures appeared likely given church growth trends, the number of stakes/districts serviced by the missions, and size and receptivity of populations targeted by missionary efforts in these locations. Stabilization in the number of full-time missionaries serving worldwide appears to be a major reason why some of these missions were closed, as six of these missions were organized in 2013 to accommodate the sudden increase in the number of members serving full-time missions due to the double-cohort that resulted from a decrease in the minimum age for missionary service (e.g. Argentina Posadas, California Irvine, California Rancho Cucamonga, Georgia Macon, Idaho Nampa, Virginia Chesapeake). Furthermore many of these missions appeared to be originally organized due to better capabilities of the Church in the United States to suddenly accommodate large numbers of full-time missions serving from the United States compared to other countries given the Church's well-developed infrastructure in the country. Furthermore, although eight of the 12 mission scheduled to close this July are located in the United States, there will still be 109 missions in the United States after these changes go into effect. This is a higher number of missions in the United States than at any time prior to 2013. There were 103 missions in the United States in 2012.

Missions to open this July include:
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo Kinshasa East 
  • Guatemala Antigua 
  • Perú Limatambo 
  • Philippines Antipolo 
I provided a list of 36 missions that appeared likely to be organized within the foreseeable future. All four new mission to be organized were on this list of likely predictions. Each of these four missions will be organized in nations where there has been significant increases in the number of members serving full-time missions. Thus, the decision to organize additional missions in these nations appears related to increases in the number of full-time missionaries serving in nations within these world regions.

Democratic Republic of the Congo Kinshasa East
The Democratic Republic of the Congo Kinshasa East Mission will likely be organized from a division of only one mission, the Democratic Republic of the Congo Kinshasa Mission. Kinshasa will be the fourth city in Sub-Saharan Africa to have two missions headquartered within the same city (the other cities being Accra, Ghana [two missions since 2013]; Johannesburg, South Africa [two missions since approximately 2014 when the Botswana/Namibia Mission moved headquarters to Pretoria]; and Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire [two missions since 2014). The Church has reported a significant increase in the number of Congolese member who serve full-time missions, which has appeared to be a major catalyst for the decision to organize a second mission in Kinshasa. Also, there are now 10 stakes in Kinshasa with 1-2 more stakes likely to be organized in the near future. It is likely that the creation of the new mission will assist with the further development of the Church in Kisangani, as well as the probable establishment of an official Church presence in additional large cities in the northern portion of the country such as Bandundu where there are significant numbers of members who have petitioned Church leaders to establish an official branch (more information here). There are now four missions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It appears likely that the Church will organize a third area in Africa, possibly called the Africa Central Area, within the near future to help better supervise the expansion of the Church in the region.

Guatemala Antigua
The Guatemala Antigua Mission will likely be organized from a division of Guatemala Retalhuleu Mission and the Guatemala City Central Mission. The new mission will be the Church's seventh mission in Guatemala. The Church has reported that the number of Central American members who serve full-time missions has nearly doubled in the past decade.

Peru Limatambo
The Peru Limatambo Mission will be the Church's sixth mission to operate within the Lima metropolitan area where the Church operates 44 stakes - the largest number of stakes of any metropolitan area outside of the United States. Local members report that the new mission will be organized from a division of the Peru Lima Central Mission although additional missions headquartered in Lima may also be involved. The Church also organized a larger-than-normal number of new wards in Lima during 2018 and most congregations in the city appear to have 80-200 active members.

With these changes, there will be 14 missions in Peru, and Peru will be the country with the fifth most missions in the world.

Philippines Antipolo
The Philippines Antipolo Mission will be the Church's 23rd mission to operate in the Philippines. The new mission will be organized from a division of three missions: Philippines Quezon City Mission, Philippines Quezon City North Mission, and the Philippines San Pablo Mission. With these changes, there will be five missions headquartered in the Metro Manila area - more missions in a single metropolitan area than any other city in Asia, Europe, or Africa. The Church has regularly organized new stakes and congregations in the Metro Manila area and surrounding cities during the past decade. Furthermore, there have been significant increases in the number of active members in the Philippines during the past decade. The Philippines has the fourth most missions of any country in the world.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Year in Review - Most Significant Church Growth Developments in 2018

Click here to access my annual article that highlights the ten most encouraging and ten most discouraging church growth developments during the prior year.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

December 2018 Monthly Newsletter

Click here to access our December 2018 monthly newsletter for cumorah.com.

Twelve Missions to Close, Four Missions to Open this July

The Church announced the discontinuation of 12 missions and the creation of four missions today. These changes will go into effect this July. Missions to close this July include:
  •  Argentina Posadas
  • California Irvine
  • California Long Beach
  • California Rancho Cucamonga
  • Canada Halifax
  • Florida Tallahassee
  • Georgia Macon
  • Idaho Nampa
  • Japan Sendai
  • Korea Daejeon
  • New York Utica
  • Virginia Chesapeake
Missions to open this July include:
  •  Democratic Republic of the Congo Kinshasa East
  • Guatemala Antigua
  • Perú Limatambo
  • Philippines Antipolo
I'll provide more information analysis about these changes in the next couple days. The official announcement can be found here. I have been a bit behind working on the monthly newsletter as well as the top 10 most encouraging and the top 10 most discouraging Church growth developments for 2018.