Friday, November 11, 2016

85 New Stakes in 2016 and Counting

The year 2016 has been an extraordinary year for stake creations. Thus far, there have been 85 new stakes organized since January 1st, 2016. The geographical breakdown of these new stakes is as follows: 39 in North America (46%), 16 in Africa (19%), 13 in South America (15%), 7 in Central America (8%), 5 in Oceania (6%), 4 in Asia (5%), and 1 in Europe (1%). Locations where the most new stakes have been organized include Arizona (10), Brazil (8), Texas (8), Nigeria (6), Utah (6), Honduras (4), Washington (4), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (3), and Ghana (3).

The last time the Church had organized as many new stakes in a single year was in 1997 when 125 new stakes were organized. Stake growth is a robust indicator of "real growth" in the LDS Church as stakes require certain minimum requirements to operate (e.g. number of active, full-tithe paying Melchizedek Priesthood holders [AFTPMP]; number of congregations; ratio of AFTPMP to general church membership; etc). Thus, accelerated stake growth in 2016 constitutes a noteworthy development in regards to the growth of the Church.

I have received firm confirmations of three additional stakes and reports of a nine additional stakes to be organized by the end of the year. Given stake growth trends thus far in 2016 and reports of many more new stakes to be created by the end of the year, it appears likely that the Church may create as many as 100 new stakes in 2016. If you have information about a new stake to be organized in your area, please comment.


Unknown said...

Why has there not been a corresponding increase in Wards and Branches? Is this a new strategy of the LDS church to establish smaller, leaner, more numerous stakes?

Aaron and Kamyra said...

Strong reports of another new stake in brisbane area. Should be in 2016. But may be in early 2017.

Eduardo said...

A decision in Chile back in the earlier 2000s was to let wards become bigger and stronger, greatly reducing the numbers of former units. Maybe the Church wants to ensure stronger units at the ground level, which in my opinion helps with more stake oversight with fewer overall units.

John Pack Lambert said...

It appears at least 5 stakes were created last Sunday, including the Joao Passoa Brazil Central Stake. This now gives Joao Passao 4 stakes. To me it puts it on the long shot for a temple list. 4 stakes in a city with others in the state is maybe enough to build a small temple. Still it is only 75 miles from the Joao Passoa to the Recife Temple. Salvador that also has 4 stakes is 504 miles from the Recife Temple. Brasilia is 569 miles to the nearest temple with 5 stakes, plus 3 in Goania which is 130 miles away. Unless the Church decides to undertake the mass building of temples in Brazil that we saw in Mexico in 1998-2002, I do not think Joao Passoa will see a temple announced any time soon. I do think Brasilia and Salvador remain high ranking candidates for temples though.

Mike Johnson said...

I don't believe the Church has adopted a strategy to create smaller stakes. I see stakes created in 2016 at essentially the same sizes as stakes created in 2015, in 2014, in 2013, and so on back as far as I have been paying attention in the 1970s. The church has raised the criteria several times during that period. I see it more that the Church always creates new stakes that are roughly the minimum size according to the criteria.

The Church has long had minimum criteria for the creation of new stakes based on three factors: (1) number of wards, (2) number of members, and (3) number of active full-tithe-paying Melchizedek Priesthood holders. (1) and (3) have stayed pretty much constant, while (2) has increased. If one or more stakes are reorganized to create an additional stake, all of the newly organize/reorganized stakes need to meet the criteria.

Stakes are created about the minimum criteria. Most stakes are larger than the minimum; a few, because they have become smaller, are below the criteria. For example, the seven stakes to the north of me covered by the Washington DC South Mission have a total of 70 wards and a Chinese speaking branch. By number of wards, the 7 stakes could be 14 stakes. At the end of 2010, the Church reported to ARDA that there were 67 congregations based in the cities and counties of northern Virginia covered by the mission, there were 33,743 at the time, which suggests 11 stakes could be made from the 7. The limiting factor could be the number of active full-tithe-paying Melchizedek Priesthood holders, which we have the least visibility on. Although I don't now how many of the latter there are, it would not surprise me if the area could have at least 10 stakes. But, they are divided among seven stakes none apparently ready to split although Mount Vernon (13 wards) and Asburn (12) could be close. The seven stakes probably vary between minimum and twice the minimum.

A new stake is more the culmination of years of congregational growth in the area and the culmination of increasing spiritual maturity among the members. A stake generally has over 100 callings to fill, like a ward. Creating a stake may make it harder to create a new ward because staffing the stake takes the available people that otherwise could have staffed a new ward.

Eduardo said...

One apparent obstacle to a new stake center in Loudoun County with all of the 12 units of the Ashburn Stake is where to put the new stake center. Although the newest chapel in South Riding (maybe Chantilly on some maps) is built to expand into a stake center, the building probably requires another ward to help create a new stake.
If Mount Vernon has 13 units it would make sense to me that some would go to Oakton to the west, then Oakton could share with Centreville and Ashburn to create a new one, maybe named Dulles? The chapel in Reston near Frying Pan Road might work as a stake center.
Other than maybe a ward or two in SVU heavy Buena Vista, Belmont Ridge in Ashburn (census-designated areas) is the smallest geographical ward east of the Mississippi, unless some other ward has become more concentrated that I am unaware of.

Mike Johnson said...

Joao Passoa Brazil Central Stake, comparing TempleRick's list with an incomplete shift from LDS maps, appears to have received 5 wards from the João Pessoa Brazil Torre Stake (Bela Vista, Colinas do Sul, Costa e Silva, Das Indústrias, and Jardim Veneza wards) and 1 ward from the João Pessoa Brazil Stake (João Pessoa Ward).

João Pessoa Brazil Torre Stake has retained three wards (Altiplano, Castelo Branco and Torre wards) and picked up two from the João Pessoa Brazil Stake (Ipês and Mandacaru wards).

The Santa Rita Brazil Stake is also part of the Joao Passoa metro area, indicating a fifth stake pretty much covering the metro area. It is curious that LDS maps shows an area about the size of the neighboring Das Indústrias Ward in the new stake that is between two Joao Passoa Brazil stakes and the Santa Rita Brazil Stake that shows up as part of the Brazil João Pessoa Mission Branch. I wonder if the new stake will pick up responsibility for whatever is inside this area.

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

A new ward, Saratoga Hills 7th,was created in the Saratoga Springs Utah stake.

layjent said...

Oakton is two stakes over from Mt. Vernon. Likely either Mt. Vernon will split entirely or they will take McLean and Mt. Vernon and create a third (if the latter happens, which I am not saying it will, it would likely be wards based in Arlington which consist of 4 family wards and could have a YSA ward, SA ward, and Spanish ward perhaps). But I can guarantee that none of the Mt. Vernon wards will be going to Oakton, it is NOT the next stake over, but rather Annandale and McLean are neighboring stakes.

There are currently some ideas for new buildings in the Mt. Vernon boundaries which perhaps one could be a new stake center. Time will tell, too early to start second guessing it all, especially with all the other stuff that is going to be going on in the DC area over the next year, who knows how that will affect church membership for better or for worse in the area.

Eduardo said...

Do you think Mt. Vernon Stake could feasibly reduce to 10 wards, use some wards from McClean and possibly Annandale wards and create a new stake? Would it require a brand new building and would it be best to be headquarted out of Arlington?
Could the Oakton Stake be involved as well? Growth continues outward in Prince Williams and Loudoun County, but also closer to DC.
Sterling Park Ward has lower attendance in the Ashburn Stake and may not have personnel for stake callings, but Algonkian Ward in the same building has plenty to spare.
I wonder if the 67 to 70 units of the DC South Mission are more like the former or the latter? Or maybe in between?
I wonder if creating new stakes is considered a drag on "hastening" the work, but in my mind it is definitely advancing progress. More callings, more outreach, more needs to fulfill and more marginally used members to become more activated.
This backfired in places like Chile where thousands existed on the roles who did not attend, but I think being more aggressively expanding in Northern Virginia would be wise, like finally dividing the Fredericksburg Stake.
Also, less driving distances is a great thing for all members.

Mike Johnson said...

I think we need to separate the ideas of creating a stake and building a stake center. In other words, I don't think the Church would wait for a phase III building to create a new stake. And there may not be one for a while.

Adam said...

Makes you wonder what the requirements were for stakes before they upped the limits. It would be interesting to see how this year would compare to the mid-90's when things were less stringent.

Unknown said...

The church has started to create smaller stakes - this may not be every where but they are doing it in a lot of places. In Tampa they just made a new stake with just 5 wards. I like the idea - it gives more people the opportunity to serve and reduces the workload for leadership.

Eduardo said...

My home chapel of Bloomington, Indiana was the stake center for a long time, approximately 1979 to 2000, and was not big enough to really be a big stake center. Stake conference for many years was held both in Bloomington and Terre Haute.Later at Bloomington High School North before the newest building on the west side of town.
When Indianapolis West Stake was finally created it was great to lose the Greencastle Branch, or ward. We miss the fellowship but recognize that distances to worship are important.

Matt said...

So here's some stats on the average number of wards per stake:

1987 10,907 1,666 6.55

1989 11,520 1,739 6.62

1991 12,184 1,837 6.63

1993 13,255 1,968 6.74

1995 14,336 2,150 6.67

1997 16,678 2,424 6.88

1999 17,699 2,542 6.96
2000 17,994 2,581 6.97
2001 18,205 2,607 6.98
2002 18,285 2,602 7.03
2003 18,496 2,624 7.05
2004 18,860 2,665 7.08
2005 19,253 2,701 7.13
2006 19,615 2,745 7.15
2007 19,978 2,790 7.16
2008 20,205 2,818 7.17
2009 20,535 2,865 7.17
2010 20,854 2,896 7.20
2011 21,101 2,946 7.16
2012 21,447 3,005 7.14
2013 21,751 3,050 7.13
2014 22,176 3,114 7.12
2015 22,572 3,174 7.11
2016* 22,904 3,252 7.04

Mike Johnson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike Johnson said...

Thank you Matt. Interesting overall stats.

Eduardo, for several years before the Fredericksburg Stake was split, we met in 4 chapels for stake conference.

Mike Johnson said...

I did a little analysis on Matt's stake and ward data and that can be seen here:

The impact of the higher stake criteria in the late 1990s shows up as well as an aggressive "pruning policy" in some areas like Chile. The annual rates of stake and ward creation have been very consistent with ward annual growth rates initially (after the pruning) higher than stakes and then the stakes just catching. The rate of growth in stakes from 2002 to 2016 has been slightly lower than that of wards over the same period.

This makes perfect since. Higher criteria for stakes has lengthened the time for districts to mature into stakes and have lengthened the time for stake growth to allow division to form a new stake. This has resulted in small numbers of large stakes and these stakes are now splitting.

James said...

Thanks to you all for sharing this significant and most interesting information about the growth of stakes and wards this year. I enjoyed reading every word. Thanks to you, Mike, and to you, Matt, especially, for sharing your work with all of us. In the category of church growth milestones as they relate to temple progress, a majority of the latest posts I have done on my own blog are related to that sacred subject and all the latest milestones. I invite all who are interested to check out my latest post at the link below. As always, any and all comments on my work are appreciated, but I would very much prefer that those comments be made on the actual blog post rather than here. Thanks to all of those who continue to express an interest in the work I do on my blog, and enjoy!

TempleRick said...

The groundbreaking ceremony for the Winnipeg temple will be held in just over two weeks on December 3! The official color rendering has also been released.

John Pack Lambert said...

Mike in theory the Church could just redistribute all the stakes in the Washington DC South Mission at once to create a few new stakes. I am guessing agressively doing this would create at least 2 new stakes. However even though the LDS Church is much more agressive in changing congregation and congregation boundaries on a regular basis than other religions, especially Catholicism, there is still a hesitancy to be too agressive in doing so. Doing so can at times disrupt people growing spirtually. So totally realigning stake boundaries in cases where more than 3 stakes are involved is very rare. However it might be time such was done in some areas.

On another note on Sunday the mission president and his wife were at my ward. The mission president's wife (we need a better title for this postion) said that the mission office would be relocated to that building. I have never been to the Detroit Mission office, but just reading how it is listed I have the impression it is a part of an office building, probably a small one like where you have doctor's offices, etc. That is the type of building my mission had its office in when I was a missionary in Las Vegas.

John Pack Lambert said...

I know there is a lot of turn over of membership in the DC area, with a lot of the members moving from elsewhere for government or government related jobs. However having studied the issue a lot there has also been a good number of converts in the area over the years, and I am not sure that membership in metro-DC is any more in flux than in some other metro areas.

Most government jobs by count are not affected by a change in who is in power. However there are a good number of jobs that change with who controls the government. Is there a noticeable up or down in the number of members in the DC area with changes in the Presidency. I know there were clearly more top level apointees in the G. W. Bish administration who were Mormons than in the Obama administration, especially after Larry Echo Hawk became a general authority, partly because Mike Leavitt had multiple Mormons in discretionary staff positions at HHS, however my guess is there are way more members who work in various federal government employment capacities in positions that stay the same between administrations.

John Pack Lambert said...

Here in Michigan the Ann Arbor Stake existed for about 25 years before it got a stake center. Both stake conference and stake athletic events would regularly occur in space rented from Eastern Michigan University while the stake offices were located in the institute building ajacent to the University of Michigan.

On the other hand when I was on my mission in Las Vegas there was a stake that had both its stake center and a chapel that had been a stake center for another stake it got half of in a boundary adjustment.

The Bloomfield Hills Michigan Stake that I am a member of has I think 3 buildings that could work as a stake center.

John Pack Lambert said...

My stake broadcasts stake conference to 5 locations. We used to have everyone come to the stake center. The building was bursting at the seems, but everyone who came had a chair. However now that we broadcast attendance is up. It helps that some people accidentally come to stake conference, since they show up at their regular building at the regular time.

Ann Arbor Stake when I was there either did 2 sessions or did a broadcast. I think of the two the later is much better.

Unknown said...

I am excited to hear about the Winnipeg Temple groundbreaking. To be quite honest, until a few months ago, I had some doubts whether this temple would actually be built. Definitely great to see that we are moving forward. Certainly also another indication for more temples to be announced in April. The "pipeline" is finally emptying.

Eduardo said...

For many years in the Bloomington Stake the conference would have a meeting in Bloomington in the morning and then Terre Haute in the afternoon, no closed circuit TV. They are about an hour apart.

BYULAW said...

That is good news about the Winnipeg Temple. Has anyone heard any recent news on the Urdaneta Philippines temple? It has been over 6 years since it was announced, but I have not heard anything about it since then. I know the Kyiv Ukraine temple took 9 years after its announcement and Guayaquil Ecuador took 14 years, but usually the church is able to select a location and get building approval in less time than this. With two temples already existing in the Philippines and nearly 100 stakes, you would think the church would have some reputability if government obstacles were an issue. Most of the unrest that I am aware of is in the southern Philippines rather than the north. I know President Duterte is not the friendliest towards United States' interests, but it seems improbable that this would pose an obstacle to building a temple. Any ideas?

Mike Johnson said...

Both Manila and Cebu City had ground breakings about a year and a half after announcement and dedications 3 to 3.5 years after the announcement. I doubt President Duterte had anything to do with delays for the Urdaneta Temple. He was deputy mayor and then mayor of Davao in the south from 2010 to 2016 before becoming president. Urdaneta, as mentioned, is in the north.

I don't think unrest has anything to do with the delay.

A month before the announcement, ground was broken for a new mission office and a new stake center in Urdaneta. My guess is that a temple is part of the long term plans for the site and the first presidency approved those plans and shortly thereafter the temple was announced.

Mike Johnson said...

While people move in and out of the greater DC area, there are several stalwart families who have been in my ward for decades. There are a lot of senior people in the federal government who are LDS and that seems to be true regardless of administration.

The problem with large numbers of stakes being involved with reorganization is that the data on membership and activity resides at the stake level. Each stake has the personnel and the data to work with potential changes to wards and stakes. But, the area seventy presiding over the area coordinating council doesn't have that data. Two stakes coming together to create a third is common, with one stake taking the lead on the creation and another supporting. Redoing 7 stakes--like in the DC South Mission--while theoretically possible, would undoubtedly be a nightmare to get it to work out. While I believe there could be 10-11 stakes theoretically possible in the current mix, I don't think it would be practical to pool the information and figure it out. Besides, I prefer stakes that are a bit larger than the minimum criteria stakes.

James said...

JPL, there is a better title for "the mission president's wife", at least as far as I've heard. That title is "mission mother" because that's often her role. But I wouldn't know that for sure. I never served a proselyting mission. I was excused from full-time service because of issues with my health. I did serve part time with Welfare Services and also at the temple, even extending my temple service beyond my original calling of six months that extended to two years and re-extended until I once again had health issues and had to quit. But temples will always be special to me because the fact of my serving there beyond my originally envisioned two-year assignment is how I met my wife. We were married in the same temple in which we met. My point in mentioning all this is that while my service was atypical, serving where I did meant I had a rotation of these "mission mothers."

I think it is awesome news about the groundbreaking in Winnipeg. I blogged about it as soon as I learned about it, although admittedly, loving Church history as much as I do, and with how religiously (pun intended) I follow the Church websites, I should have picked up on the groundbreaking when it was originally announced. It took me a day or two before I knew of it, but, to my credit, the same night I found out about it I mentioned it on my blog.

Speaking of my blog, I have done a number of temple-related posts lately. I ensured that I blogged about the Winnipeg groundbreaking. It was interesting because, in a comment on my post about the groundbreaking, Kenny mentioned that he had heard Elder Ballard or Elder Holland might have family in the area and that whichever of them did, they were most likely to be the one to preside. I did my detective work and found out which one it was. I'm not going to spill those beans here. You will have to go to my blog for the answer. Any and all comments are welcome, but, as always, I would prefer if comments about my blog posts were posted on the posts themselves. You can visit my blog anytime at the address below. Thanks.

L. Chris Jones said...

Per TempkeRicks site, there was a problem with the original site that was selected. It was a former rice field and too wet or muddy to build on. I think they are having trouble looking for a new site.

Eduardo said...

Mike J: I can see stakes that are smaller than 10 by 10 miles to have larger than standard criteria numbers, but once the distances are beyond 15, 20, 30 miles, I think it is a disservice to many members to have to travel farther lengths for their stake duties and obligations, and smaller stakes make a lot for sense for strength, growth, efficiency. I think we could hasten the work administratively a lot better in so many cases, starting in northern Virginia.

Eduardo said...

I have only had a stake calling once, but I feel like we under-utilize our stake leaders too often, our imaginations and efforts are limited with them, and we ought to be more enthused and inspired to make our stakes of Zion more powerful.

Exercise even more of our priesthood authority, the power that we preach about. I feel like we can be pretty moribund when it comes to advancing the Kingdom. I'm not saying that it is easy, but we could use our minds and hearts more effectively to grow in ways that we are too often limited and tunnel visioned. Maybe we don't create more stakes more aggressively because we are not convinced our stake leaders and callings are effective enough? I find this backward thinking.

Then again, I saw how in Chile hyper-creation of stakes ended up backfiring, so I am not advocating that. But northern Virginia should have more stakes, and we should be more active in growing. Vertically and horizontally.

Andy Nelson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andy Nelson said...

This document is undated, so I'm not sure how indicative it is of an imminent groundbreaking ceremony, but it appears the church is looking for construction missionaries for the Rio de Janeiro Temple:

James said...

I have just barely done a couple of blog posts that may be of interest to you all. In the first, I analyze temple progress and discuss the prospect of the Church potentially having as many as 200 temples by or before the 200th anniversary of the restoration of the gospel. In the second, I announce some personal news, share details about one of my many health conditions, and delve into how I acquired my unshakable testimony of the gospel in general and the life and mission of the Savior in particular. If any of you, through whatever means it may be, have at any time read any of my posts, the two I added might be of interest to you. Feel free to visit, and leave any comment you might have.

Mike Johnson said...

Looks like several northern Virginia stakes in the Washington DC South Mission will see ward and stake boundary adjustments tomorrow 20 Nov. I heard 2 stakes are being created although 1 might be in a couple of weeks when a singles stake may be created.

Mike Johnson said...

Mount Vernon, Annandale, and Oakton stakes, at least, are involved.

Mike Johnson said...

The same very reliable and probably knowledgeable source who told me that two stakes were being created also stated that the McLean Stake is not involved.

Eduardo said...

Roger that! Thanks for the heads up. My recent language against the lack of stake development in DC South made me think of Captain Moroni railing against Pahoran. We all are pulling for the same objectives, just from different angles.
Sounds good.

Mike Johnson said...

I am excited to learn about what happens today in Northern Virginia. Several well placed sources gave me details many of which conflicted. The perspectives from inside different stakes about what they are expecting is interesting. There clearly is in northern Virginia the potential to create multiple stakes if multiple stakes work together. My guess is that whatever happens today was approved in Salt Lake months ago.

Eduardo said...

I heard that the submissions for current stake boundary changes were approved since last January (2016). I guess it took this long to finally implement.
There is now at least 2 stakes covering Loudoun County. I wonder how fast it will take for the maps to reflect the changes.

Mike Johnson said...

Thank you Eduardo. Would that be a Leesburg Stake covering the western half of the county? I remember when there was a Leesburg Ward and a Hamilton Branch. Now there are three wards in the Leesburg building and 2 in the Hamilton building. 5 wards, yes, but what about the other criteria.

Eduardo said...

Yes, the Ashburn Stake covers Leesburg and the rest of western Loudoun County. So now Oakton Stake covers parts near Fairfax County on the eastside.
Ashburn Stake should still have Hamilton and Catoctin wards near Purcellville, Potomac Crossing, Leesburg, and Goose Creek in Leesburg, and Ashburn, Brambleton, and Belmont Ridge wards in Ashburn. Not sure about Tall Cedars in South Riding. So at least 8 remain for most of the county.
And the Shenandoah Ward (YSA) MAY be in a new YSA/SA Stake, that is only speculation for now until confirmed.

Mike Johnson said...

The single adult stakes appears to be set to be created in a couple of weeks. I learned that at the temple on Saturday and that was confirmed subsequently.

I do think a new stake created yesterday must have come from Centreville and Oakton with one or more wards from Annandale and perhaps the Tall Cedars ward. Just waiting to see.