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From around the World

Europe East Area

Community concert presentedKOLN, CZECH REPUBLIC - An hourlong concert of traditional English and Czech Christmas carols was presented here Dec. 13 in an area recently opened to missionary work.

A missionary choir performed in a Roman Catholic cathedral, which was used so missionaries could help bring the spirit of Christmas to the town. In a generous show of charity, the priest introduced the missionaries as "fellow Christians, singing praises to God for the birth of Jesus."

His introduction had special significance in that one of the carols was a Czech translation of "Far, Far Away on Judea's Plains" (Hymns, No. 212) which LDS composer John Menzies Macfarlane wrote for a Christmas season in the late 1800s.

At one time, the composer had his choir learn a Mass in Latin so that Catholic miners in Silver Reef, Utah, could worship in the St. George Tabernacle, which Church authorities authorized for the occasion.

Europe West Area

Blood donors thanked

MADRID, SPAIN - Members of the Church living in Spain were honored during the 8th National Congress of Blood Donors for donations made during Spain's first national blood-donation campaign.

Martin Mancenido, president of the National Federation of Blood Donors of Spain, recognized the contribution during remarks at a blood donors conference held in Melilla, Africa.

"Another church, much smaller in our country, quantitatively speaking, is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who earned this award for their initiative in organizing a campaign of blood donation . . . and whose good works and proselyting by its members provide very positive results," he said.

Blood donations from Church members have helped Spain become self-sufficient in its blood supply needs. The donations of blood and voluntary help were contributed by members residing in the Gijon Branch, Burgos Branch, Zaragoza Branch, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria Branch and the Palma de Mallorca Branch.

Pacific Area

Pioneer members honored

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - More than 250 people recently took part in a celebration of pioneer Church history in this city. Displays of early Church books, photos and artifacts were displayed in the Dianella meetinghouse. Early members, who were honored with certificates, recalled baptisms in creeks and struggles to raise money for a building fund. They also remembered spartan circumstances of early outdoor meetings. From a handful of members in Perth in the 1950s, the Church has grown to more than 9,000 members in this region today.

In conjunction with the Pioneer Sesquicentennial, Elder Bruce C. Hafen of the Seventy and first counselor in the Pacific Area presidency presented awards to winners in the "Faith in Every Footstep" literature competition.

He also presented family values awards to prominent community leaders including Rabbi Dr. Coleman, a prominent community and Jewish leader; Keith Wilson, a former cabinet minister; and Trish O'Neil, president of the Western Australia Foster Care Association.

North America Southeast Area

Connect with pioneers

SANTO DOMINGO, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - After a slow start, members in the Dominican Republic enthusiastically joined the Pioneer Sesquicentennial commemoration. The members developed a sense of being connected to the Church's pioneer past even though the Church has been established in the Dominican Republic for 20 years.

During the various commemorations, early members of the Church the Dominican Republic told of their experiences. A pioneer clothing contest was held. Members dressed in pioneer clothing and held pioneer marches. Some of the marches took place through busy city avenues, while others led through rural locations. Families marched together and sang pioneer hymns as they went.

"Too bad we have to wait another 50 years to have another experience like this," said one of the stake presidents. "It has truly been a memorable experience."

North America Northwest Area

Daily hospital visits

SALEM, ORE. - All LDS patients who register in the Salem Memorial Hospital can be assured of a daily visit by a priesthood holder. When necessary, contact is made with the appropriate bishop or Relief Society president in an effort to ensure the welfare of the patient and any members of the family that might be in need. Through the years, hundreds of members have been comforted and many less-active individuals have been brought back into Church activity as a result of these contacts.

This program began 10 years ago, when local Church leaders recognized a need to minister to members confined in the hospital. Ward leaders were often not aware that members were seriously ill, and that they and their families needed assistance. The full-time chaplains at the hospital were contacted and from them permission was obtained to call members to function as volunteer chaplains.

These members were given the status and privileges of accessibility that are granted to ministers. Since then, each person called to this service attends special training sessions given by the full-time chaplains. They are taught to develop a special sensitivity to the needs of the seriously ill.

North America Northeast Area

Hundreds enjoy benefit concert

LONG ISLAND, N.Y. - A recent sesquicentennial benefit concert, conducted by Jerold D. Ottley, director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, attracted more than 1,200 people, three-fourths of them not members of the Church. Brother Ottley's wife, Sister JoAnn Ottley, performed a lullaby reflecting the feelings of a pioneer mother.

Among those participating in the concert were three Church and six religious or community choirs, a total of more than 400 singers. The choirs performed individually and together, comprising a 400-voice choir. Those who attended brought canned food items, collected in a replica of an 1856 handcart, which was donated to three Long Island ecumenical food pantries.

Participating were the St. Thomas of Canterbury Episcopal Choir, Stony Brook University Chorale, Babylon Chorale, Choral Society of the Hamptons, Oceanside Chorale, and Huntington Men's Chorus.

"This sesquicentennial provided a wonderful opportunity for our neighbors to come to know who we are," said Pres. Jeffery E. Olson of the Plainview New York Stake.

North America West Area

`Mini' missionaries perform

MODESTO, CALIF. - Primary children from the Modesto California Stake have performed a Nativity pageant for the past 15 years. Each year one of the wards takes a turn at presenting the pageant.

This year, with a theme of "miniature missionaries," the Oakdale 2nd Ward presented the pageant, which includes prophecies from the Old and New Testaments and Book of Mormon. Each Primary child wore a ribbon with the words, "I am a missionary for Heavenly Father." The best seats were reserved for those who brought non-member friends.

Utah North Area

Carols sing-in held

OGDEN, UTAH - About 1,200 members and friends took part as the "singing audience" at a Christmas carol sing-in held at the Ogden Tabernacle for the community. The sing-in, held Sunday, Dec. 21, focused on the Lord, Jesus Christ, as the true meaning and purpose of Christmas.

Participating were Clayne B. Robison of the Lyman Wyoming Stake, guest conductor; Lowell Marriott Harrop of the Ogden Utah Canyon View Stake, organist; Martha Gutierrez, Ogden Utah Weber Heights Stake, soprano; Brenn Hill, Ogden Utah East Stake, composer and poet; and Jerry Harrop, producer.

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