News Story

Worshipping Jesus Christ with Wellington Latter-day Saints

Area Presidency visits congregations in the region

Sunday the 21st of March was just like most other Sundays at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ meetinghouse at 26 Wellington Road, Wainuiomata, half an hour’s drive east of the city of Wellington.

80 or so regulars were there for the 10am start, in their Sunday best, looking forward to their weekly worship service, or “sacrament meeting.”

For Valerie, this is a highlight of her week. “I have been doing this for years, and will keep on doing it. I love it.”

Craig, who was baptised in 2016, plays piano for the congregation and teaches a Sunday School class. He said, “I love sacrament meeting. When I first started coming, I felt something very different, and I cried. I learned later that this was the Holy Ghost.”

Joining the local worshippers was Elder K. Brett Nattress and his wife, Sister Shawna Nattress. Elder Nattress is a member of the Pacific Area Presidency of the Church.

Elder Nattress spoke during the sacrament meeting. He quoted a Māori proverb: “He aha te mea nui o te ao? Māku e kī atu, he tangata, he tangata, he tangata.” Which translates into English: “What is the most important thing in this world? It is people, it is people, it is people.”

He shared an experience about a Papua New Guinean Latter-day Saint leader who felt inspired to visit a village in which the local chief had been opposed to the Church building a meetinghouse, and to holding services.

Before the Church leader responded to the village chief, he remembered counsel from President Russell M. Nelson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to always emphasise the full, correct and sacred name of the Church.

The Church leader said to the chief, “I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, and a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am here as a representative of Jesus Christ. The Lord sent me here because His children need to partake of the sacrament. Can we build a chapel so they can worship Jesus Christ and partake of the sacrament?”

Elder Nattress continued: “The chief softened his heart and allowed the Church members to build a house of worship there, and to hold services.”

Elder Nattress encouraged those in attendance to do five things as they continue their journeys through life.  “One, pray every day. Two, read the scriptures every day, especially the teachings of Jesus Christ in the Book of Mormon. Three, be kind. Four, partake of the sacrament each week. And five, always hold a current temple recommend.”  

In her remarks, Sister Nattress shared the story of a time their family was visiting Temple Square in Salt Lake City, in the United States. For a few minutes they could not see their young daughter. They felt to go to a part of the visitor’s centre which features a large statue of the Christus. Their daughter was at the feet of the statue of the Saviour, sitting quietly.

‘“I wanted to be near Jesus,” she told us,” Sister Nattress said.

Bishop Ben Matthews, the congregation’s lay leader, also spoke in the meeting. He encouraged those in attendance to “put on the whole armour of God.” He suggested that the “shield of faith” spoken of in the scriptures is a defensive tool, to help protect us. He went on to say that the “sword of the spirit” is an offensive tool, to help us make a positive difference in our own lives, and for others.

Peter Thomson, president of the Wellington Stake of the Church, reminded worshippers that the sacrament is an opportunity to remember Jesus Christ and to renew our covenants with God.

Referencing how the Lord will speak to us personally as we worship, President Thomson talked about God introducing His Son, Jesus Christ, to the people of the ancient American continent: “They heard a voice as if it came out of heaven; and they cast their eyes round about, for they understood not the voice which they heard; and it was not a harsh voice, neither was it a loud voice; nevertheless, and notwithstanding it being a small voice it did pierce them that did hear to the centre,” (The Book of Mormon ─ 3 Nephi 11:3).

Across town in Porirua, Elder Ian S. Ardern, Pacific Area President of the Church, and Sister Paula Ardern, were worshipping with locals in another sacrament meeting.


Elder Kazuhiko Yamashita and Sister Tazuko Yamashita attended a service in Totara Park Ward, Upper Hutt; and Elder Allistair Odgers and Sister Noeline Odgers worshipped with a Samoan congregation, in Avalon.

In cities, towns and villages in over 30,000 congregations across the world, members of the Church worship regularly ─ just like the faithful men, women and children of Wainuiomata Porirua, Totara Park and Avalon.

Visitors are always welcome to join with their Latter-day Saint neighbours in these one hour worship services that focus on Jesus Christ, and that include prayers, hymns and sermons. Read more about worship services and basic beliefs of members of The Church of Jesus Christ at

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