DORTMUND, GERMANY Members of the Dortmund Germany Stake celebrated the 25th anniversary of the creation of the stake Sept. 18-21 with cultural entertainment and a fireside.
The stake was organized Sept. 19, 1976, by then Elder Thomas S. Monson of the Quorum of the Twelve as the 768th stake in the Church. "Our stake covers a region in the western part of Germany where about 8.5 million people live," said stake President Wolfgang G. Hiemer.
Entertainment included a colorful show in the cultural center of the city of Herne. About 600 members and others enjoyed a musical journey of the 1970s. "It was for the young and the old folks," said Daniela Knoll, one of the 35 cast members.
In a fireside held Sept. 21, local political leaders and former stake presidencies recounted past efforts and successes and spoke of the future. Erdmann Linde, television and radio director of the West Deutscher Rundfunk, expressed hope that the people of the region would listen to the message of the Church because "people in these troubled times need to know the purpose of life."
He emphasized the good neighbors the Church members have been with his television station, which is located next to the stake center.
Hans Semmler, a civic leader in Dortmund, a city of 585,000 residents, recalled an experience from a few years past. He said all sorts of social groups and churches come to him requesting money or assistance. He was surprised when members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints came to him offering a gift of 150 hours of volunteer service for the city.
Since the stake's creation, five meetinghouses have been dedicated, with 153 missionaries called from the stake who have served around the world. The stake has four family history centers and has participated in humanitarian efforts in Russia, Romania and Yugoslavia.
"The stake consists of eight wards and five branches," said President Hiemer. "One branch is in Muenster, where, in 1648, after 30 years of war in Germany, the Peace of Westfalia was sealed in the Hall of Peace in the town hall. We have a foundation of faith here, but we know the Lord expects a greater commitment for the future.
"Dozens, maybe hundreds, of positive newspaper articles have been published in the local newspapers in the region of the stake in past years. They are friendly to us. We need to build on this foundation and grasp the plentiful opportunities."