After wishing senior citizens and pre-schoolers who spend their days at Salt Lake City's Neighborhood House a "Merry Christmas," President Thomas S. Monson on Dec. 14 presented board members the deed to an adjacent Church-owned parcel of land.
"We all have the spirit of Christmas at this time of year," said President Monson, second counselor in the First Presidency, before making the presentation to the Neighborhood House Senior Day Center and Children's Day Care Center. "But the people who work and spend their days here have the spirit of Christmas all through the year."On behalf of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints I'm proud to present this wonderful facility with the deed to this parcel of land," President Monson said. "It is our way of saying `Merry Christmas' to all of you who mean so much to our Heavenly Father."
Bishop Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, accompanied President Monson, and also addressed the small gathering.
"This facility is a unique place in many ways," Bishop Eyring remarked. "One of those ways is the manner in which it serves the very old and the very young."
But, Bishop Eyring continued, "I also feel something else unique here." Calling it a new feeling of charity, he said the people who worked at the facility were intent on working not just for the present, but also for the future.
"There is a desire here to serve now, but also to work on long-range service," he said. "We share that desire for long-range service with you."
Upon arrival at the Neighborhood House, the two Church leaders were greeted by several dozen senior citizens and small children. President Monson knelt and spoke with the enthusiastic youngsters, shaking their hands and even wishing one Spanish-speaking boy, "Feliz Navidad," which is "Merry Christmas" in Spanish. The senior citizens, too, eagerly reached out to shake hands with the Church leaders.
After the deed presentation, the pre-schoolers entertained the group with several exuberant Christmas carols. In the background, President Monson joined the youngsters in their rendition of "Rudolph, the Red-nosed Reindeer."
Although no plans have been made for the 1.8 acre parcel of land given to the center, it will be used to expand the present program in the most useful manner, said Rosanne Gordon, president of the board.
Neighborhood House, which is a non-profit United Way Agency, is celebrating its 94th year as a child day care center and its 10th year as a senior care center.