Three women auxiliary leaders of the Church — Sister Jean B. Bingham, Sister Joy D. Jones and Sister Carol F. McConkie — met on Dec. 2 with community members of all faiths living in Fraser Valley, British Columbia, to honor individuals and organizations that have made positive contributions to the area.
Meant to be a way to honor people and groups that help promote faith and support families and humanitarian service in the community, the event — sponsored by the Church — brought more than 100 people together in a LDS Church building in Langley, British Columbia.
The event honored three award recipients and included speeches from two keynote speakers, Mary Polak, a member of the legislative assembly of British Columbia and Sister Jones, who serves as the Primary general president. (Sister Bingham is Relief Society general president, and Sister McConkie is first counselor in the Young Women general presidency.)
“We are the hands and feet of the Lord,” Polak said, according to a news release on the Mormon Newsroom website. “We have a responsibility to care for our neighbors.”
Her remarks included a personal experience when she, as a young mother, was encouraged by a mentor to become involved in politics. She spoke of how that encouragement has been a source of inspiration to her to help others. She referred to the question, “Why am I here?” and invited listeners to ask themselves that same question as a way to evaluate his or her own efforts in helping others.
Sister Jones encouraged others to seek ways to “lift others burdens” and shared personal experiences of finding joy in serving and helping people who are disadvantaged.
“Serving our fellow [beings] is one of the greatest ways for us to demonstrate our love of God,” Elder Michael R. Murray, an Area Seventy, said in the release. “Events like these show that there are many good people from all faith traditions who are seeking to lift the burdens of others and that we can be a source of strength and inspiration to each other through our efforts to serve.”
The Fraser Valley Community Awards are a way for the Church to honor people and groups who are caring for others in their community. There are three awards: the Family Values Award, the Humanitarian Award and the Faith Award.
This year the Family Values Award was given to Focus on the Family (Canada), an organization known for promoting and supporting traditional family values. Gloria Storsley accepted the award in behalf of the organization.
The Humanitarian Award was presented to Christine Collison, for her work with refugees, support of caregivers and her many years of service volunteering to help disadvantaged — especially individuals with physical and mental disabilities — in her community.
The Faith Award was presented to Sarah Laeeg, who is the president of the Ahmadiyya Women’s Auxiliary organization from the Baitur Rahman Mosque.
Award recipient Storsley said she was “thrilled to see such diversity of faith and individuals at the ceremony,” and commented on the unifying nature of such events, adding that they “show how much we all share in common.”
Collison said she was impressed that the Church honored a variety of organizations and people “who are making a positive difference in our community.”