Church makes big changes

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By  JEFF TRADER, GG LDS STAKE PRESIDENT: Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints living in Stanton, Garden Grove, and parts of Westminster, Cypress, and Fountain Valley reorganized their Wards (Wards are equal to a Catholic Parish) on Feb. 14.

For more than 20 years, the church in this area has ministered to more than 2,000 members attending seven separate Wards. The church delivers services in English, Korean, Vietnamese, Spanish and Samoan.

By  JEFF TRADER, GG LDS STAKE PRESIDENT: Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints living in Stanton, Garden Grove, and parts of Westminster, Cypress, and Fountain Valley reorganized their Wards (Wards are equal to a Catholic Parish) on Feb. 14.

For more than 20 years, the church in this area has ministered to more than 2,000 members attending seven separate Wards. The church delivers services in English, Korean, Vietnamese, Spanish and Samoan.

The LDS Church is organized by geographical boundaries; members attend within the specific geographical boundary of their Ward or congregation.

During a combined meeting held in Westminster, members agreed on a consolidation and the creation of three new Wards.

The Garden Grove 1st, 4th, 6th and 7th Wards — which, typically, Stanton and Garden Grove congregants attend — were disbanded and three new Wards created, that include the Stanford Ward, 10212 Stanford Ave. and Valley View Ward, 12160 Valley View St., both located in Garden Grove and the Bolsa Ward, 10332 Bolsa Ave., located in Westminster. 

As the president of the Garden Grove Stake, I know the love the church members have for one another is strong and the relationships that have been cultivated over the decades may change because boundaries are being moved and of course changes are difficult.

However, we understand as a people, that our service to Jesus Christ and His children takes precedence over our personal preference of where we attend church. The church has robust youth and community-support programs; we want to strengthen and better-support the people in this area and we believe these changes will accomplish that purpose.

A prayer offered to begin the service included:

"Change is an opportunity to serve and a way to look for better ways to serve; let us be prayerful that we will be able to be helpful to people and bless the missionaries who are serving in the area to help us be loving toward people and the Wards and stake presidency."

New bishops have been called for the new Wards and future callings will take place Sunday, Feb. 21, and in the next Stake Conference Sunday, March 13, a General Authority from Salt Lake City will be in attendance, when more changes may be made to the geographical boundaries.

These changes are difficult to make, but this is God's vineyard and it isn't meant for the church to become root-bound nor stagnant. There will be opportunities to reach into our lives as we weigh the alternatives. We have consulted with the Bishops and other leaders and have received feedback from them during discussions; each alternative had upsides and downsides, but we have felt the Lord leading us in the way we should go.

The Lord cannot reveal things to us from an empty well. However, when we work and study and exhaust our resources and then seek out the Lord, he reveals the direction we should take and the impact it will have on the individuals.

While assessing this matter, the Lord has stopped me when I was going down the wrong road; the Lord just said to think about my decisions "more" and so I am confident that he will guide us this time as well.

And of course the membership has their free will to respond to things that come into their lives. Life has hills and valleys and we learn the most when we are in the valleys.

We ask during this transitional time for the people to have patience and that long-suffering is needed  —  "we" are all that we have — each other — and I admonish you to hold each other close and to not be offended by those doing their jobs.

These changes are affecting not only California, but Hawaii and British Columbia and the State of Oregon.

We are the sons and daughters of a father in heaven, and from leadership in SLC we hear that the Lord has said, "I will be with you always in all things, that you may not be deceived."