Sunday, September 27, 2009

Meet the New Primary President

Olene Walker has been a wife, mother, educational administrator, state legislator, Utah’s Lieutenant Governor and the first woman to hold the office of Governor in the 113-year history of the Beehive State. In the church she served for many years in the Young Women’s program in Salt Lake City; as a fulltime Public Affairs missionary in New York City alongside her husband Myron with the assignment to "make friends and build bridges with United Nations Ambassadors;" and, most recently in St. George she has taught the Gospel Doctrine class. Now she can add "Primary president" to her list of accomplishments.

The focus of Utah's 15th governor has always been on children - her own and the state’s - throughout her lengthy public service career. Still she notes "the only thing more shocking than this calling would have been to be asked to be a scoutmaster!" Sister Walker also jokes she "may well be the church’s oldest Primary president and my daughter says to remind you I can’t sing!"

Sister Walker assumes responsibility for the 35+ children of the Bloomington 7th Ward Primary from Pat Chappell who, with her husband Matt, has been called to shepherd the ward’s young single adults. Sister Walker will be assisted in her duties and responsibilities by Annie Green (left) as 1st Counselor; Gentry Wright (center) as 2nd Counselor and Shar Simkins (right) as Secretary.

"Create" Was Opportunity to Share Talents

Lois Baker admits she wasn’t sure what she was doing when she was asked to chair the Bloomington Stake event leading up to the General Womens Conference on Saturday, September 26. But with the help of a representative from each ward, including daughter Jill Jones from the Bloomington 7th Ward Relief Society, she jumped into the project she had been asked to "CREATE!"

"It started slowly," she states. "We all wondered if we would end up with anything to display," but as the sisters of the stake caught the vision there came exquisite quilts, paintings, genealogy books, crocheted doll clothes, violin music, scrapbooks, photography and hundreds of other examples of the amazing creativity of Mormon women!

Following a delicious light meal of finger foods served by stake priesthood leaders, sisters of the Bloomington Stake gathered in the chapel for the broadcast from the Conference Center in Salt Lake City.

Julie Beck, President of the General Relief Society reminded sisters the purpose of Relief Society is to prepare women to live eternally by helping to strengthen each woman and her family. "Everything in Relief Society matters and is part of the Restoration and organized after the pattern of the Priesthood," she noted. "Relief Society magnifies and sanctifies each sister." Light laughter could be heard in the background when she announced the title "Home, Family and Personal Enrichment" would now be called simply "Relief Society meetings!" She encouraged RS leaders to rely on revelation to fulfill the purpose of their organization based on the needs of the sisters in their wards.

Silvia Allred, 1st Counselor in the General Relief Society Presidency, expressed her concern that many women in the church are not fully enjoying the blessings of their membership because they are not fully involved in Relief Society. "Relief Society’s purpose is to teach them, to testify to them, to enrich them and to extend friendship."

2nd Counselor Barbara Thompson counseled women to "‘mind the gap’ between what we know and what we do; between believing and knowing; between the completion of the Young Women’s program and becoming fully participating members of Relief Society; and between believing in Jesus Christ and being valiant in our testimony."

President Henry B. Eyring, representing the First Presidency, said "Relief Society has always had the watchful eye of a loving prophet to oversee its direction. Charity is at the heart of the Society - born of faith and the Atonement of Jesus Christ."

For those who may have missed the General Womens Conference broadcast or might like to hear the messages again, watch for a re-broadcast on KBYU / Channel 11 or follow the link at

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Stake Picnic Says Goodbye to Summer

On Tuesday evening, September 22, members of the Bloomington 7th Ward followed the advice of President Brigham Young to recreate righteously when he taught, "recreation and diversion are as necessary to our well-being as the most serious pursuits of our lives."

Men, women, boys and girls of the Bloomington Stake came together at Bloomington Park for hotdogs, chips, music and socializing. The sun was hot on this first day of fall but children were delighted by slides, sand and swings, and, everyone enjoyed the music of the Sevy Band and the chance to relax with friends.

Here are some of the beautiful faces of our ward family. Can you name them all?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Hooks Send Greetings from South Africa

Elder Dean and Sister Margaret Hooks report from their mission field in Johannesburg, South Africa: "We have witnessed some wonderful changes just in the time we have spent in the area. More young people are going on missions and more are seeking an education. More stakes and branches are now self sustaining and leadership positions are held by the membership of the unit. Lessons taught on Sunday and talks in sacrament meetings are comparable to those heard in our home ward. Whereas before the parking lots of the chapels were nearly empty (except for missionary cars) there are now vehicles in the parking lot which belong to our people.

The Perpetual Education Fund is definitely an inspired program and will be a blessing to generations yet to come.

The Public Relations senior missionary couple (also serving their second time in Johannesburg) organized the "Mormon Helping Hands" initiative for the area. We participated by planting flowers and vegetables at a government orphanage housing about 175 children. It was a fun event. Some of the teen-age girls wanted to know what the girls in America like to do. As we talked, one of the girls finally got up enough nerve to touch my hair. They wanted to see what it felt like. But most of all they wanted to know if it was a wig (which is quite common here).

In the past the young elders were told to only teach families living within a 45-minute walk to a chapel. Now they are reaching out to outlying areas where people had been requesting to be taught the Gospel.

The Gospel is true! The work is great! Daniel’s stone is rolling - slowly in Africa - but it is rolling forward. We just need more couples to prepare the pathway as it rolls down the hill.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Primary Prepares for "My Eternal Family"

These are the happy faces of children of the Bloomington 7th Ward Primary who, with the help of President Pat Chappell and their dedicated leaders and teachers, have spent dozens of hours learning songs and preparing talks for a Sacrament meeting program entitled "My Eternal Family" on Sunday, September 20.

This year in Primary, our children and grandchildren have been learning about their important role in building an eternal family as part of Heavenly Father’s plan for them. Together they have learned how the scriptures, prayer, prophets, covenants, temples, and the Atonement of Jesus Christ bless and strengthen families while confirming magnificent truths in the hearts of the children.

Sacrament meeting begins at 1 p.m.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Meet the New Relief Society President

Mary K. Temple was quite certain she was retiring from leadership positions in the church when she, and husband Tony, a retired pediatrician and toxicologist, moved from Philadelphia to St. George. After 30 years in the eastern U. S. and numerous church leadership positions, including Primary and Relief Society counselor and several years as President of the Valley Forge Stake Relief Society, she had been told not to expect any big assignments in St. George where there are many wonderful people with rich histories in the church. "Since moving to the perfect house in the perfect neighborhood, I have been content to be a missionary, visiting teacher and occasional ward and Relief Society organist, so this calling was completely unexpected," notes the petite Mary K.

The new Bloomington 7th Ward Relief Society President has a family history in St. George. "My mother and grandmother were born here . . . and my great grandfather probably died from heat stroke after working long hours on the roof of the tabernacle. I’ve always wanted to live here so when we sent our (4) kids to BYU and none of them came back (to Philadelphia), it just made sense." When Tony was released after six years as an area seventy, the couple moved to St. George "because it is centrally located to where the kids now live . . . and I love the warm weather."

This University of Utah graduate and former 2nd grade teacher will follow in the footsteps of those outstanding Bloomington 7th Ward Relief Society presidents who have gone before her, including most recently Barbara Schaerrer. "We have a great ward and a fabulous bishop. I look forward to serving here," states Sister Temple, who will be assisted in her duties and responsibilities by Bobbie Twitty as 1st Counselor, Jill Jones as 2nd Counselor and Rebecca Larson as secretary.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Meet the Ward's Two Newest Members

On Saturday, August 15, 17-year-old Jesse Piersall stepped through the gateway to a new manner of living and onto a new road to walk towards immortality when he was baptized by his cousin Cameron Sevier. Two years ago Jesse was introduced to the church when he moved to Utah to live with his aunt and uncle, Tami and Rudy Sevier. He was interested from the beginning, but did not act on it right away. Then the missionaries knocked on the door and he decided to take a chance. "I’m not sure why I never acted on it but the missionaries helped me find the answers to my questions and to understand what it is all about. Then I saw the Joseph Smith movie at the visitors center. When he was kneeling in the sacred grove, I just knew it was true and I wanted to be baptized." His advice to ward members who might be hesitant to talk to their neighbors and friends about the gospel? "Remember how excited you were when you were first converted? It’s a wonderful thing to share!" Jesse hopes to serve a fulltime mission in the not-to-distant future and is already preparing for the chance to share what he knows to be true.

On Saturday, August 22, 8-year-old Noah Forsyth, who has reached the age of accountability, also took his first step on the straight and narrow path which leads to eternal life. The seventh of Steve and Tina Forsyth’s nine children was baptized and confirmed by his father.

In the words of President Gordon B. Hinckley, it is now the duty of the members of the Bloomington 7th Ward to help Noah and Jesse "become strong and faithful members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - members who love the Lord, who understand the gospel, who fellowship with the Saints and who partake of the beauties and wonders of the gospel of Jesus Christ."

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Kids + Water = Fun in the Summer Sun

What do you get when you combine 25 energetic teenagers and their fun-loving leaders, a couple of garden hoses and a hot summer night? The answer is a carwash for free and fun! With nothing more in mind than service to friends and neighbors, the B7 Young Men and Young Women's organizations gathered in the church parking lot to wash cars and get soaked to the skin on Tuesday, September 1. It doesn't get much more fun than this!!!