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story.lead_photo.caption 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.

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 recently 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.

General News on 06/13/2018

Print Headline: Local Church Meets Needs, Brings People Closer To God

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