News Story

Latter-day Saint Congregations in Sydney, Newcastle and Gosford Reorganized

A number of New South Wales congregations of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were impacted by changes announced last weekend in Gosford by Elder Ian S. Ardern, Pacific Area President of the Church.

Elder Ardern was accompanied at the Gosford Stake conference on 4-5 June by Elder Robert Simpson, Area Seventy.

Latter-day Saint congregations are called wards and branches. A group of wards in a geographical area is called a stake. A group of branches is called a district.

Coffs Harbour District as well as Newcastle, Gosford, Harbour and Mortdale Stakes were all affected by the changes.

Gosford Australia Stake Conference 2022
Gosford Australia Stake Conference 2022
Elder Ian S. Ardern (front, second from right); Elder Robert Simpson (front, right) and local leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Gosford, Australia. 5 June 2022.© 2022 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Conrad Dunn, Gosford Stake President and his counsellors, Paul Carnovale and Oscar Westerlund—who have served in the Gosford stake for the past seven years—were released with gratitude for their dedicated service, as well as all others who have also been volunteering in lay leadership positions.

Newcastle and Harbour Stakes have absorbed congregations from these areas with the Harbour Stake becoming the new North Sydney Stake. The southern congregations of the previously named Harbour Stake are now part of Mortdale Stake.

According to one attendee, “a warm and positive atmosphere was enjoyed in the meeting as many welcomed the changes and look forward to new friendships and voluntary service opportunities.”

Both men and women lay leaders expressed their positive feelings about opportunities, past and future, to minister to the needs of members and friends of the Church in their neighbourhoods and communities.

Those attending the meeting with members of the Gosford Stake were President Paki from the new North Sydney Stake, President Whiting from Newcastle Stake, President Reid of the Australia Sydney Mission and both President and Sister Craig of the Sydney Temple.

The Church’s Newsroom website states that “Congregations of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are organized geographically and members attend worship services near their home. Each member belongs to a stake, which is similar to a Catholic diocese. The leader of a stake is called the stake president. The word stake is taken from Old Testament tent imagery in which the “tent,” or church, is held up by supporting stakes (see Isaiah 54:2). Each stake is comprised of several smaller congregations called wards or branches. There are usually 5 to 12 wards and branches in a stake. In areas where the Church is new, members are organized into districts instead of stakes. The substantial time and effort required to administer a stake and meet the needs of the members is carried out by the members themselves. Most members are asked by local leaders to contribute in specific capacities. Duties include local administrative, teaching or service-oriented positions. These responsibilities are changed on a regular basis, according to the needs of the congregation.”

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