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
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