Lerwick Branch (Mormon)
It was dedicated on 21st September, 2003, by David S. Baxter.<ref name=ChurchNews>http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/44666/Shetland-Islands-has-unique-building.html</ref> Over 100 people attended an open house; and some 80 people were present at the dedication, the largest congregation ever to have gathered in Shetland.<ref name=ChurchNews/> Various people from different churches and religions turned up, and Baxter invoked the name of John Sutherland, an early Shetland convert and missionary.
David S. Baxter had been president of the branch for ten months in 1977.
In December 2011, Lerwick Branch had an exhibition of nativity scenes from around the world. According to the UK and Ireland newsletter:
- "...the Lerwick Branch, held a Festival of Nativities community event in December 2011. Gale-force winds meant that boats were cancelled from the smaller islands to the main island, but it didn’t stop 80 per cent of their average sacrament attendance from supporting the festival.The real joy was that approximately two-thirds of the visitors to the festival were not members of the Church. The event was intended to promote the true meaning of Christmas by exhibiting nativities from around the world. More than 100 nativities, donated by the local congregation and members of various churches throughout Shetland, were on display. Nativities from places as diverse as Bethlehem, the Philippines and Holland were included."<ref>Ensign Magazine, UK and Ireland news section.</ref>
The Mormon church uses a lot of terms in its own particular way. In this instance, "branch" refers to a local unit which does not have enough Melchizedek priesthood holders to be a "ward" (roughly equivalent to a parish). Both wards and branches form parts of a "stake" (roughly equivalent to a diocese or presbytery), or a "mission district". All adult males can hold the Mormon priesthood if they pass interviews and have been baptised. A smaller number hold the Melchizedek priesthood, but this is, again available to all adults if they stick to certain standards, and pass interviews. A problem which the Lerwick Branch has had, along with Mormon branches and wards elsewhere is that they manage to baptise a reasonable number of people, but that they do not stay on long enough to receive the Melchizedek priesthood. In other words, retention rates are somewhat low.
Mormons tend to refer to their buildings as "meetinghouses" or "chapels". Unlike the Jehovah's Witnesses though, members do sometimes refer to the buildings themselves as "churches" and there is no prohibition on doing so. (JWs consider the word "church" to be a pagan term, and insist on calling their buildings "kingdom halls".)
- Lerwick Branch
- 44 Prince Alfred Street
- ZE1 0EP
Telephone: 01595 695 732
- Sacrament Meeting: 10:00 - 11:10
- Sunday School: 11:10 - 11:50
- Relief Society / Priesthood Meeting: 12:00 - 12:50
- Mormonism for a general discussion of the history of the LDS church in Shetland.