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Posted 11 Jun 2001   For week ended June 08, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 10Jun01

By Kent Larsen

Staten Island Mormons Make Local News

STATEN ISLAND, NEW YORK -- A reporter for the Staten Island Advance looked at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the newspaper's Saturday edition, discovering, to some surprise, that the island has two LDS congregations. The article tells about those congregations, gives an overview of LDS history, doctrine, worship and life, while providing a view of Mormons in this part of New York City.

Reporter Palma-Simoncek says that while everyone has heard of Mormons, the likely reaction from Staten Islanders is "There are Mormons on Staten Island?" In fact, the island has both an English-speaking and a Spanish-speaking congregation meeting in two separate buildings. The English-speaking congregation meets in a chapel on Rockland Avenue, renovatd in 1995 at a cost of $1.3 million, while the Spanish-speaking congregation has met since 1992 in a building on Cebra Avenue in the island's Stapleton neighborhood, but is planning to move soon to the West Brighton neighborhood.

While Church members have lived in New York City and surrounding towns since 1837, Staten Island has been something of a laggard. The first Staten Island branch, a dependent branch, was formed in 1950 as part of the New York Stake, and the Church then purchased the Rockland Avenue property for a chapel in 1959. But it wasn't until 1990 that a building was completed and in use on the site. At that point the congregations on Staten Island were still branches. The Rockland building now includes a gymnasium with a half-court basketball court and a family history center, giving the general public and Staten Island access to the Church's genealogical records.

Local members and missionaries are trying to let the public know that there are Mormons on Staten Island and give the public a better idea of Mormon beliefs. Last month the Rockland chapel hosted an open house, but the event drew little interest from the community. However, a Memorial Day picnic at the chapel brought in more people, and missionaries have now invited the public to hear New York South Mission President Grant Lawrence Spackman speak at the building on Thursday, June 7th at 7 pm.


Family comes first
Staten Island NY Advance 2Jun01 D1
By Leslie Palma-Simoncek: Advance Religion Editor
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on the Island are eager to get to know their neighbors


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