Swiss to celebrate 150 years since first missionaries arrived

ZURICH, Switzerland — Many of the nearly 7,400 members in the three stakes of Switzerland will join in a variety of activities on July 4 to celebrate 150 years of the Church in this central European country.

The Church has been organized in Switzerland ever since Elder Lorenzo Snow, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve laboring in Italy, set apart Thomas B.H. Stenhouse in November 1850 as the first president of the Swiss Mission.

After being set apart, Elder Stenhouse traversed the Alps from Italy to Geneva where he began teaching in December 1850. Two months later, when he visited Geneva to dedicate the land, Elder Snow was greeted by a handful of interested people. Within a year, those investigators joined the Church and became the core of two branches.

At a conference held in Geneva on Dec. 25, 1853, it was reported that 186 members had been baptized and that branches were functioning in the Cantons of Zurich and Baselland.

In recognition of this year's celebration, members of the Bern, Geneva and Zurich stakes have been asked to provide 150 hours of meaningful service in their communities by June.

Festivities culminate on July 4 when members and friends will gather on Lake Lucerne in central Switzerland for a 90-minute program that includes a concert in the nearby KKL Hall where a choir of 150 youth will perform. A historical review of the Church in Switzerland will also be presented. The evening will include an address from a television reporter recounting his experiences covering the Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah, as well as addresses from Church and civic leaders.

Following the concert, evening boat rides on Lake Lucerne will cap off events. Three large passenger boats will sail the lake while members and their guests enjoy an evening of food and dancing.

Those wishing further information should contact Mark Prohaska via E-mail: [email protected].

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