Although the Church has existed in Northern Ireland since shortly after it was founded in America in 1830, the Belfast stake was only fully established 40 years ago. This year, to mark the 40th anniversary, congregations province wide have been reaching out, hosting activities, raising money for charity and getting involved with community projects.
Nearly 3000 members in 11 congregations throughout Northern Ireland believe that serving their fellow man is the key to serving God. Last June a special 40th anniversary commemorative service was held. Stake President, James McCrudden said “As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints we believe that serving our fellow man is how we show our love to our Heavenly Father and to all people. We want to help guide our Heavenly Father’s children back to him, to once again live in his presence and there enjoy a spirit of love and unity. As with other great Christian religions of the world we invite all to come unto Christ.”
In Londonderry, each year, the Church runs an 8 week Intergenerational Programme with neighbouring Greenhaw Primary School. This addresses family issues and family related work with schools. The programme has been so successful that another school has asked to be involved next year.
In Coleraine, individual members give of their time to serve in their local community by volunteering in various organisations including (but not limited to), the Royal British Legion, the ‘Bark’ dog charity, the Riverside Theatre, Riding for the Disabled and the Milk Cup football tournament.
Individuals have also been serving their communities. In Lisburn, one member raised over £800 for the Children's Hospice. In Bangor, Colin Walker took part in the Belfast marathon and raised over £500 for the NI Hospice. Another Bangor member, Steven Murphy, ran a marathon in Florida to raise money for Autism Speaks. Relief Society sisters in Bangor work with other churches in the area to stock a Food Bank which provides free food for those in need.