3 new leaders for Relief Society

Changes in LDS Church leadership on Saturday included the calls of three women as the faith's new Relief Society general presidency and two new general authorities.

Bonnie D. Parkin is the new Relief Society general president, with Kathleen H. Hughes as first counselor and Anne C. Pingree as second counselor. Sustained as new members of the Second Quorum of the Seventy were Elder Gerald N. Lund and Elder William R. Walker.

The announcements, which came during the afternoon session of the church's 172nd Annual General Conference, included the release of former Relief Society general president Mary Ellen W. Smoot and her counselors, Virginia U. Jensen and Sheri L. Dew, who have served for the past five years.

The Relief Society is believed to be the world's largest women's organization, and its members have seen two major initiatives during the past five years: a revamp of the monthly meeting now known as "family, home and personal enrichment"; and the formulation of the Relief Society declaration, which urges members to follow Jesus Christ and uphold the church's family and moral values.

A former second counselor in the Young Women general presidency, Sister Parkin earned a bachelor's degree from Utah State University and has been a homemaker. She has been a member of the Relief Society general board, a ward Relief Society president, stake Young Women president and served with her husband, Dr. James L. Parkin, during his assignment as president of the England London South Mission. They have four sons and 14 grandchildren.

Sister Hughes, a former member of the Young Women general board, earned a bachelor's degree from Weber State College and a master's degree from Central Missouri State University. She has worked for 14 years in various positions with the Provo School District, including personnel director and assistant superintendent. Previous church assignments include ward Relief Society presidency, Primary teacher and public affairs co-director. She and her husband, Dean T. Hughes, have three children and five grandchildren.

A former member of the Relief Society general board, Sister Pingree earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Utah and has been a literacy volunteer and tutor for the Literacy Volunteers of America. Church service positions include stake and ward Relief Society president, stake Young Women counselor and ward Primary president. She served with her husband, George C. Pingree, during his assignment as mission president in the Nigeria Port Harcourt Mission. They have five children and four grandchildren.

Elder Lund, the author of several LDS books, has been serving as president of a student stake at Brigham Young University. He earned a bachelor's and master's degree from BYU and did post-graduate work at Pepperdine University. He retired from the Church Educational System after 34 years, where he served as seminary teacher, institute director and curriculum writer. He has served the church as a bishop, bishop's counselor, branch president and full-time missionary. He and his wife, Retta Lynn Stanard, are the parents of seven children.

Elder Walker has been serving as president of the Sandy Utah Cottonwood Creek Stake. Raised in Alberta, Canada, he earned a bachelor's degree from BYU and has held a number of executive positions in investment banking. He is currently a board member and chairman of the investment committee for Beneficial Life Insurance Co. He has served the church as a mission president, bishop, bishop's counselor, high councilor, high priest group leader and elders quorum president. He and his wife, Vicki Colleen Van Wagenen, have five children.

Also sustained Saturday were 30 new Area Authority Seventies, who give volunteer support for members of the church's Area Presidencies within their assigned geographic areas. They are:

D. Allen Andersen, 50, Hong Kong, China; David S. Baxter, 47, Suffolk, England; C. Elmer Black Jr., 59, Clinton, Miss.; G. Lynn Brenchley, 55, Providence, Utah; Clayton M. Christensen, 49, Belmont, Mass.; Ernesto A. Da Silva, 39, Fernando de la Mora, Paraguay; Hector A. Dvalos, 49, Callao, Peru; Ildefonso C. Deus Neto, 38, Curitiba, Brazil; James Dunlop, 59, Palmerston North, New Zealand; James M. Dunn, 61, Salt Lake City; I. Lee Ence, 56, Santa Clara, Utah; Carlos R. Fernandez, 57, Resistencia, Argentina; John R. Gibson, 56, Winston Hills, Australia; Stephen W. Hansen, 60, Wayzata, Minn.

Also, Emmanuel A. Kissi, 63, Accra, Ghana; B. Renato Maldonado, 42, Cuenca, Ecuador; Jeffrey J. Marchant, 59, Cedar City; Gerald A. Mead, 59, Pocatello, Idaho; Hyae-Kee Min, 52, Seoul, Korea; Rodrigo Myrrha, 40, Belo Horizonte, Brazil; Masayuki Nakano, 58, Osaka, Japan; Yasuo Niiyama, 57, Tokyo, Japan; Carlos L. Pedraja, 56, Cochabamba, Bolivia; Carlos A. Perez, 52, Montevideo, Uruguay; D. Chad Richardson, 58, McAllen, Texas; Maury W. Schooff, 65, Papillion, Neb.; M. Gonzalo Seplveda, 50, Villa Alemana, Chile; T. LaMar Sleight, 60, Vienna, Va.; John C. Taggart, 55, Raleigh, N.C.; and Anthony R. Temple, 61, Wayne, Pa.

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