Church Meets Needs, Brings Peo­ple To God

Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By Lynn Kut­ter

PRAIRIE GROVE — The fo­cus of The Church of Je­sus Christ of Lat­ter-day Saints in Prairie Grove is to meet peo­ple’s needs.

The mis­sion of the church is to bring peo­ple closer to Je­sus Christ and to bring souls to Christ.

“That’s what we do,” said Lynn Greg­son of Prairie Grove, who has ac­cepted a call to serve as bishop of the Prairie Grove church for the next five years.

The Church of Je­sus Christ of Lat­ter-day Saints, or the Mor­man Church as many peo­ple re­fer to it, is a lay min­istry with no paid clergy on the lo­cal level.

The cen­tral­ized church is lo­cated in Salt Lake City, Utah. Re­gions are

di­vided into ar­eas called stakes and stakes are di­vided into wards.

Greg­son, who has been a ven­dor for Wal­mart for 25 years and is a mem­ber of Prairie Grove Plan­ning Com­mis­sion, is bishop of the Prairie Grove Ward, which serves peo­ple who live in Prairie Grove, Lincoln, Farm­ing­ton and also in­cludes those liv­ing east of I-49 and south of Wed­ing­ton Drive.

Gen­er­ally, nine or 10 con­gre­ga­tional wards are lo­cated in a stake. The Prairie Grove Ward is in the Spring­dale Stake and this stake also in­cludes con­gre­ga­tions in Fayet­teville, Spring­dale, Siloam Springs and the Uni­ver­sity of Arkansas.

Al­most ev­ery­one in a church vol­un­teers in some type of role, Greg­son said. Peo­ple are asked to serve and it’s up to them whether they ac­cept or not. Roles can vary from hand­ing out pro­grams on Sun­days to teach­ing chil­dren and youth.

“Our fo­cus is on peo­ple. Our min­istry is meet­ing peo­ple’s needs, whether it is spir­i­tual, phys­i­cal, so­cial or emo­tional, and bring­ing them closer to Christ,” Greg­son said. “He’s the one who’s go­ing to meet their needs.”

As bishop, Greg­son has two coun­selors with him to pray about call­ing mem­bers to serve cer­tain roles at the church and to in­ter­view church mem­bers about a call­ing. He said he also gives spir­i­tual guid­ance as needed.

“There’s not a call­ing we don’t do that we don’t pray about,” Greg­son said.

The church also has a Ward Coun­cil and these are mem­bers who meet to dis­cuss needs in the church and how to min­is­ter to peo­ple and meet those needs.

The Prairie Grove Ward was es­tab­lished about 10 years ago but mem­bers met in Spring­dale. They moved into their new church build­ing on Buchanan Street in Prairie Grove in De­cem­ber 2011.

The beau­ti­ful build­ing has a chapel for Sun­day ser­vices, of­fices and class­room space for all ages, a cul­tural cen­ter or li­brary, bap­tismal, and a large open room for bas­ket­ball, re­cep­tions and other ac­tiv­i­ties. The out­side is land­scaped and has a grassy open space with a cov­ered pav­il­ion.

The church was built so that it could house an­other ward if nec­es­sary in the fu­ture. It also has room for ex­pan­sion.

The church meets 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. ev­ery Sun­day and the ser­vice is di­vided into three meet­ings. Greg­son said vis­i­tors are wel­come and peo­ple are en­cour­aged to come as they are.

Par­tak­ing of the sacra­ment, or com­mu­nion as it is called in some churches, is the pri­mary fo­cus of the first meet­ing held in the chapel at 10 am. Greg­son said he usu­ally opens with an­nounce­ments or church busi­ness. The con­gre­ga­tion then sings a sacra­ment hymn that is fo­cused on Christ.

Pass­ing of the sacra­ment is a re­mem­brance of Christ’s sac­ri­fice on the cross, Greg­son said. The sacra­ment is bread and wa­ter. Bread is a re­mem­brance of Christ’s body and wa­ter is a re­mem­brance of Christ’s blood shed on the be­half of man.

“We have a mo­ment of re­flec­tion and re­mem­brance of what Christ did for us,” he said.

Other parts of the morn­ing in­clude speak­ers from the church. A youth will talk for about five to seven min­utes and then two adults will speak for about 15 min­utes each.

The last part of the day, the church di­vides into small groups. Men go into the Priest­hood meet­ing, women into the Re­lief So­ci­ety and youth go into their own groups ac­cord­ing to gen­der and age.

The first Sun­day of the month church mem­bers are en­cour­aged to fast and to do­nate what they would have spent on two meals to help those in need. The church has a tes­ti­mony meet­ing where any­one can share a tes­ti­mony or some­thing that has helped them.

The Church of Je­sus Christ of Lat­ter-day Saints be­lieves in tithing, giv­ing 10 per­cent of their an­nual in­crease to the church, and this is used for church ex­penses and mis­sions. None of the money goes to pay any­one.

Like other Mor­mon churches, the Prairie Grove church sends out young men and women on the mis­sion field if they feel called to do that. At age 18, young men will serve for two years in mis­sions. Young women, at age 19, will serve 18 months.

Prairie Grove has had young men and women serv­ing in places such as Cal­i­for­nia, Sweden, Cze­choslo­vakia and Tahiti. The young mis­sion­ar­ies min­is­ter and serve all day in their mis­sion fields.

The Prairie Grove Ward has about 400 peo­ple on its rolls with an av­er­age at­ten­dance on Sun­days of 170-200. The Church of Je­sus Christ of Lat­ter-day Saints has 16 mil­lion mem­bers world­wide, is found in most coun­tries and has 30,500 con­gre­ga­tions.

PHO­TOS BY LYNN KUT­TER EN­TER­PRISE-LEADER

The Church of Je­sus Christ of Lat­ter-day Saints on Buchanan Street in Prairie Grove serves peo­ple in Prairie Grove, Farm­ing­ton, Lincoln and sur­round­ing ar­eas.

This paint­ing de­pict­ing Je­sus Christ is one of sev­eral beau­ti­ful paint­ings in the Prairie Grove church.

The chapel in the Church of Je­sus Christ of Lat­ter-day Saints in Prairie Grove has beau­ti­ful wood­work. The church meets 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sun­days for the pass­ing of the sacra­ment, speak­ers and small groups.

Lynn Greg­son of Prairie Grove is the new bishop for Prairie Grove Ward of the Church of Je­sus Christ of Lat­ter-day Saints. Usu­ally bish­ops serve for about five years.

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