The youngest church-goers play with play-doh and have fun while the adults visit at the Stettler Church of Jesus of Latter-day Saints on Saturday

The youngest church-goers play with play-doh and have fun while the adults visit at the Stettler Church of Jesus of Latter-day Saints on Saturday

Family, friends, and community gather to celebrate church history

It was a full day for the congregation at Stettler's branch of the Church of Jesus of Latter-day Saints as they hosted a public barbecue.

It was a full day for the congregation at Stettler’s branch of the Church of Jesus of Latter-day Saints (LDS) as they hosted a public barbecue and open house in the morning at the church and a full afternoon and evening of reunion events in Linda Hall.

The event was held to dispel myths and misconceptions about the LDS faith as well as to bring people of the church and community together, Don Seale, president of the Stettler branch, explained.

Many of the congregation have scattered over the more than 50 years since the church was founded in Stettler, he explained, and the gathering was meant to help bring them back together, to celebrate life and the place of Jesus in it.

The church came together to plan, decorate, and execute the open house with friendly smiles, as the nursery, primary classes, and groups for young men and women were explained and shown to those of the community and the faith who came through for the open house.

The event involved everyone who attended the church, Rob Spencer, a member of the church, said as he led tours. He would deliver tour-goers to an area of a church, and let the people within explain the exhibits that had, in many cases, been put together specifically for the event.

Outside, under gloomy and sometimes raining skies, members of the faith barbecued hotdogs for event goers, offering up the yummy summer treat with a side of potato chips, salad, and other munchies.

In the young men’s room, boys demonstrated how to tie knots, one of the things they learn through the Boy Scouts program adapted for the LDS church. The church is one of the largest supporters of Boy Scouts in North America.

Down the hall, young women spoke about their projects, which they complete over a series of years. These projects are a demonstration of the different aspects they study over the years, including faith, divine nature, individual worth, knowledge, choice and accountability, good works, virtue, and integrity.

One young woman was building a book of quotes that she felt best described integrity, so she would have it to help keep her actions befitting the quotes she had gathered. Several young women had made books for their family, so they could have pre-made lessons that include scripture reading, music, discussion topics, and games at hand, combating the busy lives they live.

The women’s relief society showed the works they undertake as part of their study. The group for adult women work to support the church’s congregation and the local community.

In another room, the men talked about the importance of the church’s history, both of the congregation as a whole and of the individuals within. Stations were set up to help with genealogy tasks, as a large aspect of the faith is the ability to perform sacraments via proxy.

By being able to locate the past family of its worshippers and baptize them into the faith, the LDS contends it is giving the spirits of its members’ deceased ancestors the ability to learn about God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, and make the choice to believe and thus join God in heaven.

Later in the afternoon, after the open house, the reunion in Linda Hall brought together people from far and wide for a dinner and dance, a general evening of socializing where friends who had not seen each other in years could do so again.