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For week ended October 03, 1999 Posted 17 Oct 1999

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Building evidence of growth in religion

Summarized by Rosemary Pollock

Building evidence of growth in religion
Lincoln NE Journal Star 2Oct99 N1
By Art Hovey: Lincoln Journal Star

SEWARD, NEBRASKA -- A new low-slung, white-steepled brick meetinghouse is being built on 4 acres of land in the eastern outskirts of Seaward, Nebraska. This beautiful new chapel will accommodate 400 to 450 members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is the latest Mormon site to be built in Nebraska, with dedication to follow in the next 30 to 60 days.

"This is the gospel," said Branch President Kerry Kearl. "To share the good news and spread the gospel. And that's the purpose for us being here." It is not uncommon to see two young men on bicycles, knees pumping, neckties flapping against their white shirts, faces wreathed in smiles, hurrying on their way to an appointment.

Three sets of missionaries are separated by 30 miles and the use of one car. "When you don't have a car, you either walk or ride a bike," Kearl said. There were currently 45 Mormon congregations in Nebraska at the end of 1998 with a combined membership of l6,000 with half of the congregations being formed after l980. They are located in Lincoln, Omaha, Columbus, Beatrice, Nebraska City, Fremont, Blair and Fairbury.

President Kearl said, "The potential for growth is excellent, because we've been well-received and I think we have a message a lot of people are looking for." Kearl spoke of the opportunities with reactivation of the 204 Mormons living in the Seaward area. "If there's an elderly couple that needs help with their yard work or painting or something like that...Mormons will be there with no concern for compensation." "In fact they are instructed not to take any," Kearl said.

"Every member is a missionary at all times, and we bear witness as often as we can," Kearl said. Speaking of the fear of losing members to other churches, Kearl replied, "If our mission helps Methodists become better Methodists, then we've helped the Methodist Church." "The biggest threat to any church holding its members is not any other church," he added. "It is Lucifer and the temptation we all fall victim to."

Kevin Flecky of Carlson, West and Povondra Architects in Omaha have worked on the new building as well as other Mormon buildings. "I can't imagine too many groups growing as fast as they have," Flecky said. "From my vantage point, they're very well-organized and their building program is very well-organized."

"They're very good people to work for." "This building for the Latter-day Saints is probably on of the sturdiest building we've ever built," said construction superintendent Jason Korman of R.L. Fauss Builders.

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information