Saturday, August 31, 2013

August Newsletter Posted

We have posted our August newsletter for providing updates on recent church growth developments and additional resources added to the website.  The newsletter can be accessed here.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Major Metropolitan Areas of the World and Status of LDS Outreach

On, I am in the process of creating maps that identify all metropolitan areas of the world with one million or more inhabitants and the status of LDS outreach.  These major metropolitan areas - which currently number over 500 - are important urban centers for the Church to target due to high population densities, easier accessibility than smaller cities and rural areas, and their cultural, economic, and societal prominence in their respective region or the world as a whole.  The establishment of the Church in these cities and its subsequent growth are vital towards the Church establishing additional centers of strength from which to base future outreach expansion efforts into surrounding areas and to bolster international self-sufficiency of the Church. 

These maps will include the most recent population estimate for each metropolitan area as well as current statistics on the Church (i.e., year LDS presence established, number of stakes, estimated percentage LDS, ect.) and a brief analysis of successes, opportunities, and challenges for growth.  I am hoping to receive quality feedback on this project from interested readers.  Click here to view the preliminary regional map of Sub-Saharan Africa where city profiles are complete for Freetown, Sierra Leone and Monrovia, Liberia.

New Stake in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Last Sunday a new stake was created in Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic (DR) of the Congo.

The Kisanga DR Congo Stake was organized from the Katuba DR Congo Stake and includes the following seven wards and two branches: The Gecamines 1st, Gecamines 2nd, Katuba 3rd, Kisanga 1st, Kisanga 2nd, Mampala, and Plateau Wards and the Kasambalesa and Kipushi Branches.  The new stake becomes the Church's third stake in the Lubumbashi area.  The Church organized the first two stakes (Lubumbashi and Katuba) in 1997 and 2009, respectively, and the Church realigned these two stakes as a result of the creation of the new Kisanga stake.  All three stakes currently have seven to eight wards.  I estimate that approximately 0.41% of the city population of 1.73 million is LDS.

Prospects appear highly favorable for the organization of additional wards following the creation of a third stake.  However, inadequate numbers of current meetinghouses - which are often too small to meet the current size of wards in the city - pose a significant barrier to greater growth.  The Church recently instituted a new meetinghouse construction program which has potential to ameliorate this need.

There are now 12 stakes and three districts in the DR Congo.  Missionaries report that the Kananga DR Congo Stake will divide in the near future to create a second stake in that city.  The first stake in Kananga was organized only two years ago.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

District Discontinued in Peru

A district was discontinued in Peru.

The Huaral Peru District was discontinued and both branches that previously pertained to the district (Chancay and Huaral) now report directly to the Peru Lima West Mission.  Organized in 2010, the district had four branches but two of the branches were closed in April 2013.  Member activity and convert retention problems and few available priesthood leaders to staff both branch and district callings likely contributed to the closure of the district.

There are now 100 stakes and 21 districts in Peru.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

First LDS Stake to be Created in the Canary Islands in September

Members and missionaries report that the Church will organize its first stake in the Canary Islands this September.  Currently there are 10 branches in the sole district that operates in the islands.  It is unclear how many of the branches will become wards once the stake is officially organized.

The Church has a unique history in the Canary Islands.  Formal missionary activity began in the late 1970s and the population exhibited high receptivity to LDS missionaries.  In 1988, the Church organized a separate mission based in the Canary Islands (Spain Las Palmas) that also administered the Portuguese-administered Madeira Islands.  During the first year of operation, the Spain Las Palmas Mission baptized over 1,000 converts; essentially increasing the number of members on church records by 50%.  By 2001, there were three member districts (Fuerteventura, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, and Santa Cruz de Tenerife) and 18 branches in the Canary Islands.  Low member activity rates, a major decline in the number of convert baptisms, leadership development problems, and reduced missionary resources assigned to Europe resulted in the closure of the Spain Las Palmas Mission in 2006, the closure of two of the three member districts, and the number of branches declining from 18 to 10 by the early 2010s.  Missionaries reported efforts to create the first stake in the islands for many years.  The Canary Islands currently pertain to the Spain Madrid Mission.

Click here for an LDS Church News article on the Church in the Canary Islands written in 1990.

District Discontinued in Argentina

The Church has discontinued the Tres Arroyos Argentina District.  Comprising only two branches in the city of Tres Arroyos, the district was consolidated with the neighboring Necochea Argentina District.  Prospects appear favorable for the organization of a stake from the realigned Necochea Argentina District as the district now has seven branches.  Although the closure of districts generally correlates with problems pertaining to leadership development, member activity and convert retention rates, and small numbers of convert baptisms, this particular instance has appeared warranted due to the district containing only two branches for what has appeared to be its entire duration of operating from 2004 to 2013.

There are now 72 stakes and 34 districts in Argentina.

Monday, August 5, 2013

New District Created in Ghana

Yesterday the Church created a new district in the Ghana Cape Coast Mission.  The Twifu Praso Ghana District was organized from the Assin Foso Ghana Stake and appears to include the following six branches: The Kenkuase, Nuamakrom, Nyenasi, Twifu Hemang, Twifu Praso 1st, and Twifu Praso 2nd Branches.  The Church has experienced rapid growth in this area of the Ghana Cape Coast Mission within the past few years as the Assin Foso Ghana Stake was organized in 2011 and had nine wards and four branches just prior to the creation of the Twifo Praso Ghana District.  Of the six branches that appear to pertain to the new district, two previously functioned as wards (Nuamakrom and Twifu Praso 1st).  The Ghana Cape Coast Mission President reported approximately 500 people attended the conference to organize the district - a number comparable to many stake conferences held outside of the United States.   It is likely that the new district may mature into a stake within the next five to ten years if steady growth in the number of active members continues.

There are now 10 stakes and eight districts in Ghana.  Click here for a map of missions, stakes, and districts in Ghana.