Building unity in Sacramento

Former stake president honored for service on interfaith bureau

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Former stake president Richard Montgomery offered his services for a one-year term as president of the Sacramento Interfaith Service Bureau. Members of the bureau were so pleased with his service that he is serving his third one-year term as president.

"They keep asking me to stay," he said.

Along the way, his service was impressive enough that he earned the Building Unity Award, sponsored by various business and service groups. The presentation was made at the third annual Call for Unity interfaith event on Sept. 11, at the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts at the University of California, Davis. Brother Montgomery said he received the award from his friend the Rev. Faith Whitmore, Senior Pastor of St. Mark's Methodist Church.

The annual award is given to recognize the recipient's efforts to bring the faith community of the Greater Sacramento area together in understanding and service to others.

Brother Montgomery has enthusiastically done so following a long period of Church leadership.

He was called as bishop of the newly formed Sacramento Seventh Ward, Sacramento California Stake, in 1965, serving until October 1977 when he released himself after being sustained as stake president. In 1980, 11 stakes were organized from the eight existing in the Sacramento area and he was called as president of the Sacramento Cordova Stake.

After he was released as stake president in 1987, he served in public affairs, leading to his involvement in the interfaith service bureau.

A cheerful and enthusiastic man, the 73-year-old former U.S. Air Force pilot has cultivated good relationships and friendships with many people in Sacramento. He looks forward to continuing activities that bring members of the Church together with those of other faiths in doing good works in the area.

He said the bureau is working in partnership with private business in building a Habitat for Humanity house, a project he is overseeing with the help of some knowledgeable contractors, he said.

Aided by an executive director and other paid staffers, the bureau engages in many activities, Brother Montgomery said. One is a television station with religious programming 24 hours a day. The programming includes the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's "Music and the Spoken Word" weekly broadcast as well as programs involving local members of the Church. He said the bureau's camera crews will be taping a choir and orchestra production of selected works from "The Messiah" in December.

In the past year, Brother Montgomery has rallied members of the Church to host a bureau picnic, organize choirs for various events and help repair the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church after it was damaged by fire. Church members also join those of other faiths in international projects such as collecting trees to reforest an old grove in Jerusalem.

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