Members around world honor pioneers: Sesquicentennial celebrations

Following are more example of sesquicentennial activities performed by Church members around the world.

Building a barn


Members of the Sandy Utah Hidden Valley Stake contributed thousands of service hours to construct a barn at This is the Place State Park on Salt Lake City's east bench.

More than $74,000 - $474.12 from Primary children - was donated by Church members for the project.

More than 90 percent of the barn was constructed by the stake's Young Men and Young Women, wearing pioneer dress, during the stake's two-day youth conference June 28-29.

Pioneer re-enactment


More than 80 youth from the New Haven Connecticut Stake took their youth conference theme - "Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel" - to heart as they pushed and pulled handcarts over a five-day period in June.

During the handcart reenactment in the Cockaponset State Forest near Haddam, Conn., the youth assembled, loaded and pushed 600-pound covered handcarts over 13 miles of rugged logging trails.

Temperatures reached in the 90s, and a raging thunderstorm lashed down just as the handcarts were ready to take off.

"This is not an obstacle," said Megan Taylor, 17, of the Woodbridge Ward. "It makes it more real!"

The trekkers cooked and camped without the benefit of modern conveniences, and learned pioneering skills such as candle making, finger weaving and blacksmithing. They also participated in group games such as canvas-sack racing, jumping rope and stick pulling. During one evening's gathering there was an old-fashioned hoe-down with fiddle, banjo and guitar accompaniment. Pioneer stories were also shared.

Making bonnets


Members of the Riverside Ward, Coventry England Stake, celebrated their annual Relief Society dinner this year in pioneer style.

Sisters made aprons and bonnets in an earlier homemaking classes. Fred Wilson of the ward built a wooden handcart for the event. During the dinner, the women read poems and stories relating to pioneer women, gave small home-made gifts to each other, sang pioneer songs, presented a sketch of pioneer life and ate a pioneer feast.

Beautifying a park


On June 7, the Bucharest Romania Mission dedicated a full day to service, working in the Cimisoarii Park - a big and beautiful sporting park in the city.

More than 100 Church members and missionaries here participated in the sesquicentennial service project.

Giving service


The Abeokuta District of the Nigeria Lagos Mission celebrated the pioneer sesquicentennial with service. Members of four branches in the district removed refuse that had accumulated for 10 years.

They cut grass and shoveled debris off a road. "Many onlookers in the area were astonished to see a group of Church people come to do what had not been done for years," said mission president Banyan A. Dadson.

The Nigerian television Authority covered the activity.

"The benefits of the project were both immediate and far-reaching," said Pres. Dadson. "The members were drawn closer to each other and were happy and in good spirits working together."

The district has plans to conduct additional service projects to celebrate the sesquicentennial.

Pioneer float


Members of the Santa Rosa California Stake will culminate a year of sesquicentennial activities and service projects with a multi-media pageant - "Faith in Every Footstep." Some 3,600 are expected to attend the eight scheduled performances, July 17-19, 23-26, said stake Pres. Douglas M. Scribner.

Members of the stake also entered a sesquicentennial float - which took second place - in the annual Santa Rosa California Rose Parade in May. The 40-foot-long float featured the theme, "Families Can Be Together Forever," and included three sections, one of a newly married couple in wedding clothing, another of a family on a picnic, and the third of a couple in their "golden years." More than 100 members created the float, designed by Warren and Jennifer Hedgpeth of the Bennet Valley.

Learning Church history


Since the trek west began in the 1830s for the Kirtland-era Church members, nearly a hundred young women from the Kirtland Ohio Stake stepped back to that time period during their Pioneer Sesquicentennial celebration in June.

In addition to learning pioneer crafts, the participants got an intimate glimpse of Church history at the nearby John Johnson farm in Hiram, Ohio.

The Johnson farm was an important site in Church history. Joseph and Emma Smith lived on the farm and the Prophet received several revelations there that are part of the Doctrine and Covenants, including Sections 1 and 76.

The young women toured the Johnson home and heard stories about the area's history from missionaries, as well as from stake Pres. Timothy Headrick and his first counselor, Richard McClellan.

Other activities during the day were candle dipping, spinning thread and pioneer cooking. The participants were also introduced to the pioneer girls' game of graces. After decorating a hoop with colorful ribbon streamers, they tried gracefully to toss the hoop back and forth to each other with a pair of sticks.

Remote handcart trek


In an activity to help the youth become aware of the things going on 150 years ago and to help them realize the sacrifices early Church members made, the Lehi 1st Ward, Mesa Arizona Lehi Stake, held a handcart trek.

The youth were placed into family units and pulled handcarts along a trail in a remote setting. During the trek the youth were given many experiences to help them better understand the pioneers.

The men were mustered into the Mormon Battalion, leaving the women to push and pull the handcarts by themselves. A few of the youth took their shoes off, and wrap their feet in cloth and walked along the rugged trail. They also played games and ate pioneer-style food.

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