From around the world

Europe Mediterranean Area

Branch begins in historic city


In a city in which the Apostle Paul preached nearly 2,000 years ago, a branch of the Church has been organized and is growing.

Twenty-five members now belong to the new Thessaloniki Branch.

Mission Pres. R. Douglas Phillips presided at the first meeting of the branch, conducted in a 50-year-old converted apartment in downtown Thessaloniki. Thirty-two people attended, including 12 investigators. The branch was organized Feb. 9, under the direction of the Europe/Mediterranean Area presidency.

The new branch is part of the Greece Athens Mission, according to Sister Diane H. Pyper, branch Relief Society president and full-time missionary. Her husband, Elder James W. Pyper, is branch president.

"Missionary couples and elders from the Austria Vienna East Mission have labored in the area for several years," explained Elder Pyper. "It is only in the past year that significant growth has occurred."

Philippines/Micronesia Area

Teaches spirituality, sports


Elder L. Lionel Kendrick of the Seventy, president of the Philippines/Micronesia Area, taught youth spiritual as well as physical skills in a recent event held in the Davao and Davao Buhangin stakes. After speaking to youth in a devotional, he conducted a basketball clinic for those who were interested.

Elder Kendrick taught the youth such skills as the proper shooting position and defending against a ball carrier. The young people were all eyes and ears as he demonstrated the techniques. Elder Kendrick was head basketball coach at the East Baton Rouge (La.) Parish School, where he taught for 10 years.

Brazil Area

Cultural program presented


The Belo Horizonte Brazil Stake presented a cultural program for the community recently on the subject of family history.

Included in the program was a discussion by Dr. Guaracy de Castro Nogueira about the "importance of family history and its influence on men's lives."

In addition, musical numbers, including a violin and flute concert, were presented for the entertainment of community members.

North America Northeast Area

Youth place 180 books


The youth of the Erie Pennsylvania Stake recently participated in an activity, "A Day at the Missionary Training Center," in which they presented residents here with 180 copies of the Book of Mormon. They also learned to stand as witnesses of Christ while missionaries for the Church.

More than 60 youth, ages 14 to 18, joined with 39 full-time missionaries from the Pennsylvania Pittsburgh Mission to experience life as missionaries for a day.

The youth became companions to full-time missionaries, watched a videotape "Called to Serve," attended classes on teaching and then went out to tract and make street contacts. In less than an hour, they placed 180 copies of the Book of Mormon and received 106 return appointments.

After returning to the stake center, testimonies were not only shared but also discovered, leaders said. One youth said: "I wasn't sure about going on a mission; after today, I'm anxious to go." An evening fireside by mission Pres. Lowell R. Tingey concluded the day.

North America Southeast Area

Needy are assisted


Young Men and Young Women in the Fort Lauderdale Florida Stake have been active in monthly efforts to ease the burden of the needy. The most recent event was held April 20, when the youth provided dinner for the homeless staying at an open shelter, said Jeanette Allen, North Broward Ward Young Women president.

(Florida's temperate weather makes a non-enclosed shelter feasible.)

In a non-denominational religious service at the shelter, the homeless people sang for the youth who provided the meal.

The youth previously helped renovate an abandoned 11-unit apartment building to provide low-income housing for AIDS patients, Sister Allen said. The renovation project was directed by the Outreach Program of Hospice Inc.

Iris Whitaker, director of volunteer services, was quoted in a newspaper story as saying:

"I was thinking they would send over 20 or 30 kids to help out. I was overwhelmed when they showed up with over 200. . . . It was a little confusing trying to get everyone organized at first, but these kids did a great job."

North America West Area

Interfaith lectures popular


Monthly lectures for an interfaith audience held at the San Jose State University Institute, coupled with a luncheon, have attracted many people, said Jack and Patricia Marshall of the San Francisco Bay Public Affairs office.

Recently, noted filmmaker and writer Kieth Merrill addressed the institute group on the subject, "Writing on a Razor's Edge."

He explained how his young daughter awakened in him the realization that he had become preoccupied with the filming industry. The realization came to mind as he protected an Oscar award, which he had won, from his child's play. Brother Merrill also discussed the emergence of religious writings early in the history of the world.

Utah Central Area Seniors sing along


Senior citizens from throughout the nation recently took an intensive, weeklong course on the Tabernacle Choir, and sang in the Tabernacle.

The opportunity was provided through the Elder Hostel Program, sponsored by the University of Utah. Nick Zullo, director of senior adult programs in the university's Gerentology Center, directed the event. He is second counselor in the Murray (Utah) 2nd Ward bishopric.

Brother Zullo said the seniors were members of different religious denominations who had listened to Tabernacle Choir broadcasts since childhood.

Their desire was to come to Salt Lake City and learn more about the choir. He put together a curriculum from which they learned about the mission of the choir, and the lives of its members and the organists and technicians who are associated with it.

As part of the program, the seniors rehearsed hymns and sang in the Tabernacle with about a dozen choir members, most of whom work in the nearby Church Office Building.

Utah South Area

Youths keep highway clean


Youth in the Delta 1st Ward, Delta Utah West Stake, provide ongoing service by cleaning a roadway as part of the state's Adopt-A-Highway program.

The youth periodically combined Young Men and Young Women activities to clean trash and other debris along the highway.

The group's effort as a "sponsor," agreeing to maintain cleanliness of the particular stretch of highway, are noted on signs posted along the route.

Readers from around the world are invited to submit news items and photos for this feature on Church events worldwide. Submissions should include a telephone number of someone who can be contacted for additional information.

Items should be mailed to Church News, "From Around the World," P.O. Box 1257, Salt Lake City, Utah 84110. Fax No. (801) 237-2121.