Saturday, September 17, 2016

New Stakes Created in Brazil, Cote d'Ivoire, and Texas

A new stake was created in Brazil on September 4th. The Passo Fundo Brazil South Stake was organized from a division of the Passo Fundo Brazil Stake. The new stake includes the following six wards: the Bosque, Erechim, Lagoa Vermelha, Marau, Petrópolis, and Planaltina Wards. Passo Fundo is now the third metropolitan area in the Brazilian State of Rio Grande do Sul with two or more stakes. There are now 23 stakes and seven districts in Rio Grande do Sul.

There are now 263 stakes and 38 districts in Brazil.

Cote d'Ivoire
The Church organized a new stake in Cote d'Ivoire on September 11th. The Dokui Cote d'Ivoire Stake was organized from a division of the Cocody Cote d'Ivoire and Abobo Cote d'Ivoire East Stakes. The new stake includes the following nine wards: the Abobote 1st, Abobote 2nd, Agbekoi, Angré, Belle-ville, Dokui 1st, Dokui 2nd, Plaque, and Quatre Etages Wards. Five of the wards in the new stake have been organized since 2013. It is unclear why the new stake was organized with so many wards as most new stakes in West Africa generally have between five and seven wards. Rapid growth in the area has likely prompted the organization of a large new stake possibly due to limited leadership manpower to fill stake-level callings. Three wards in the new Dokui Cote d'Ivoire Stake were previously assigned to the Abobo Cote d'Ivoire East Stake - a stake organized only two years ago that had grown to 12 wards by the end of 2015. There are now 10 stakes in the Abidjan metropolitan area - more than any other metropolitan area in the Africa-Eurasian continental landmass. Several additional in Abidjan stakes appear likely to divide in the next 12 months and members report that additional wards will be organized in the coming months. For example, last Sunday three new wards were organized in the Abidjan Cote d'Ivoire Yopougon Attie Stake. There are now three stakes in Abidjan with 10 or more wards. Rapid congregational growth continues in Cote d'Ivoire as there has been a net increase of 41 congregations for 2016 - the second highest net increase in congregations for any country in the world for the year thus far and only 30 less than the net increase reported for the Church in the United States where there has been a net increase of 71 congregations.

There are now 11 stakes and nine districts in Cote d'Ivoire.

A new stake was created in Texas on September 11th. The Burleson Texas Stake was organized from a division of the Arlington Texas, Fort Worth Texas, and Weatherford Texas Stakes. The new stake includes the following six wards and one branch: the Burleson, Centennial, Cleburne, Joshua, Mansfield 1st, and Mansfield 2nd Wards, and the Keene Branch (Marshallese).

There are now 71 stakes and three districts in Texas. There have been seven new stakes organized in Texas thus far in 2016.


Unknown said...

If I was into gambling, I would bet a fair amount of money that the Church, in 20 to 30 years from now, will be the numerically dominant religious organization in Cote d'Ivoire.

Eduardo said...

The growth in Ivory Coast is impressive; the sheer numbers and after a while units expanding in Chile lead a few if us to believe it was becoming an LDS place. I hope Cote d'Ivoire sustaibs their numbers better, and I am hesitant to make bold predictions of whole nations becoming doninated by the faith. I wish I were wrong.

Matt said...

Here is another interesting fact for the church in Cote d'Ivoire: Within the past six years, the average stake has split every four to five years.

Christopher said...

I believe there are some key differences between Cote d'Ivoire and Chile in how the church has grown, but I am not knowledgeable enough to outline them. Anyone want to try? I know, for example, Cote d'Ivoire's missionary force is more locally driven. I understand Cote D'Ivoire have also done a lot of temple and family history work, which was not a focus in Chile. What else is different?

Matt said...

Here are some differences

- No North American missionaries
- Church planting approach to growth (in general)
- Good member activity and convert retention rates
- Strong member-missionary programs in most congregations
- Ivorian mission presidents
- Excellent participation in temple work

- North American missionaries historically the majority of missionary force
- Church-splitting approach to growth
- Low convert retention and member activity rates
- North American or foreign mission presidents in general
- Low member-missionary participation
- Low participation in temple work

Unknown said...

I see why you're cautious about this, Ed. Still, I think that the Latin America of the late 1970's to early 1990's is different from what is happening in West Africa right now, in at least three ways I can think of:

1) Retention is, despite the high number of baptisms per companionship, the highest in the world - somewhere around 80 to 90 percent in many congregations. This also means that children and grandchildren of today's converts are very likely to be born into the covenant (especially once the Temple is build and those ordinances are more available than now), and the Church will see a tremendous level of natural growth just from member families having children.

2) Latin America was fairly easy to saturate with missionaries. Contrary to that, only a small fraction of current missionaries is serving in West Africa. Cote d'Ivoire's population is still about 60% out of range from current congregations. As the Church continues to expand into medium-sized and small cities, and penetrates less-reached neighborhoods in Abidjan, this percentage is likely to shrink. In either case, we are very, very far from the ceiling, and reaching the majority of the population will likely be a quest for the next couple of decades. Until then, there is little reason to believe that annual growth will slow down to under 10% - it will probably be much higher for a while.

3) Matt brings up an interesting point. Congregational growth is actually outpacing the rather impressive nominal membership growth. The first reason for that is the amazing learning curve for a lot of local leaders. The second reason is that the Church appears willing to move into unreached territory quickly.

I guess we will have to see how things play out.

Downtownchrisbrown said...

I've had friends who've served in Cote D'Ivoire. Is it accurate that there are no longer any North American missionaries or is few a better description?

Matt said...

The last time North American missionaries served in Cote d'Ivoire was in 2011.

Matt said...

James said...

Not sure why my comments are not appearing, but I wanted to share that I have done numerous blog posts of import on Church-related issues. There have been a lot of temple-related developments, and I have also posted the final version of my General Conference predictions, which includes my list of temples that may be announced soon, narrowed down to the final 15 or 16. Check out the latest on my blog at the address below, and let me know what you think.

My thanks also to those who have taken the time to read and respond to my posts there. Feel free to give me your honest feedback. Thanks also to Matt for making sure people can see this comment.

Eduardo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eduardo said...

It is awesome that all these positive trends are in effect in West Africa. And while Chile and Latin America have had some negative growth markets, as noted, I think the children of Lehi still have some surprises or miracles to be made manifest.
French speakers are doing well, great to see.

Eduardo said...

I meant to write "markers" not markets. That would be too cynical.

John Pack Lambert said...

I am quite excited by the growth of the LDS Church in Ivory Coast. I am hoping to soon there will be branches in all parts of that land and many of the districts all across the country will become stakes.

well under 0.2% of the population of Ivory Coast is LDS at present. It is hard to figure out any model of growth that goes out 20 to 30 years. I am not even good enough at modeling growth over years.

The LDS Church might have 40,000 members by now in Ivory Coast, it was 32,000 at the start of the year. The Catholic Church has 2.8 million members. There is somewhere in the range of 8 million Muslims in Ivory Coast.

To just give an example of how far the Church has to go, Korhogo is a city with a population of 286,000 people. It is the 4th largest city in Ivory Coast, the largest in the northern third or so of the country, and has no branch.

soc. man I am ---------------- said...

Can we get a list of Missions that have zero or very few North American Missionaries?

Matt said...

Cote d'Ivoire Abidjan
Cote d'Ivoire Abidjan West
Democratic Republic of the Congo Kinshasa
Democratic Republic of the Congo Lubumbashi
Democratic Republic of the Congo Mbuji-Mayi
Haiti Port-au-Prince
India New Delhi
Nigeria Benin City
Nigeria Calabar
Nigeria Enugu
Nigeria Lagos
Nigeria Owerri
Nigeria Port Harcourt
Papua New Guinea Lae
Papua New Guinea Port Moresby

Eduardo said...

How do we know these missions have no North Americans?

Also, I can see benefits of having none in a given mission but I also see positives that are lost without them.

Chile was using more Latinos in 2005 than the 1990s, I am not sure how much more this helps the home country, but I imagine its all in due course.

Eduardo said...

It seems a lot of Mexican missions have a minority of English speakers (native persons of English speaking origin), which might be the best combination. I think it is recognized that full time missionaries in their own countries are more effective, I had 9 native Chilean companions in my Concepcion Mission and I usually felt better about teaching with them as opposed to other gringo companions. I always felt someone post mission only a few hours away had a better chance of helping the locals stay active, and the native mix of knowledge was usually smoother, too.

Downtownchrisbrown said...

To give an idea of projections, if Ivory Coast was able to sustain the 20% growth rate for 10 years, there would be 247,700 members in Ivory Coast, which would equate to about 100-140 (depending on the size) stakes

John Pack Lambert said...

247,700 would only be about 2% of the current population, and probably less than that of the population in 10 years. If we project it out past 2030 we might start getting to points where LDS Church members were a truly noticed part of the population.

My impression is that the areas where the Church does not send North American missionaries have to do with issues of fearing for the safety of North American missionaries in those countries. I was under the impression Venezuela was a country where the Church sent no North American missionaries, or has that changed?

My understanding also was that at times there were some countries in Africa (Ghana early on was such, although no longer, I can not speak for other countries) where the Church had senior American missionary couples but no young American missionaries.

Matt said...

Yes, I forgot the four Venezuelan missions - none have had North American missionaries since 2005.

Mike Johnson said...

Sometimes comparisons are made on this board with the Seventh Day Adventists and the Jehovah's Witnesses.

For Cote d'Ivoire, I note the following statistics published by the respective organizations for last year:

Jehovah's Witnesses: average of 10,302 publishers in 293 congregations (35 per congregation on average)
Seventh Day Adventists: 6,535 members in 72 congregations (averaging 91 per congregation)
LDS: 32,258 members in 130 congregations (248 on average)

The headquarters of the West-Central Africa Division of the Seventh Day Adventists (roughly like an LDS area--there are 13 divisions world wide) are in Cote d'Ivoire so one might think it would get attention.

Unknown said...

I don't necessarily believe that it is realistic to have 20% annual growth consistently for several decades. Still, it might be a pretty decent start if we just want to get an estimate. At 20% annual growth, the Church would have just over 7.7 million members by 2045 - the back-end of my original prediction. This is roughly the current Muslim population of Cote d'Ivoire. Is 20% annual growth realistic? I think so. What needs to happen is that, all else equal, every member brings a friend of relative into the Church every five years. That's all it takes. I've personally surpassed this number living in a very secular country, and in a place like West Africa, it is probably many times easier.

But, when it comes to this type of modeling, there is a huge gap even for small changes in percentages. Here is the relatively realistic set for 15 to 25 percent annual growth to 2045:

15%: 2,151,883
16%: 2,790,121
17%: 3,609,601
18%: 4,659,546
19%: 6,001,948
20%: 7,714,730
21%: 9,895,653
22%: 12,667,132
23%: 16,182,168
24%: 20,631,648
25%: 26,253,291

The variation is tremendous, and there will be lots of factors to determine where we will end up. Still, I would be extremely surprised to not have several million members in Cote d'Ivoire by the 2040's.

miro said...

I think the reason that the new stake has so many wards is the minimum requirements of members for a stake (1900). Average number of members per congregation is (248) for wards it might be a little more. But since a lot of ward are new, and the minimum for a new ward is (150), the average is propably around (220). This would put the stake to around (1980) members.

NewsAnchor007 said...

I just found out today that it is a 99% chance that the Cambridge, Massachusetts Stake will be Split on November 6th, by Elder Massimo De Feo, newly called Seventy in April 2016. Apparently it is in the final approval stages from the Quorum of the Twelve.

Eduardo said...

Where, if in Boston, will the new stake be? Great news. Dad is from Wilmington.

NewsAnchor007 said...

It would be some where along the North Shore, Likely Woburn, the church owns land there big enough for a new stake center. Woburn is near Wilmington. It would be the first new stake created since 1998, when the Cambridge Stake was created.

Eduardo said...

Wicked awesome!😁 I'll drink a frappe to that! Or have some ice cream with jimmies...
Ah, Massachusetts!