Members Participate in UK Day of Service
During April 2011 general conference, President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, issued a challenge to every Church member to participate in a day of service this year. Saints in the United Kingdom have been meeting that challenge ever since.
On Monday, September 5, 2011, members from 11 stakes around England, along with Area President Erich Willi Kopischke, met for a Helping Hands project in the Tottenham Marshes.
The event marked both the 75th anniversary of the Church’s welfare program and the official re-launch of London’s 2011 Capital Clean-Up Campaign, which stake leaders were initially unaware of.
For five hours, nearly 250 members—in conjunction with the Mayor’s office—weeded, built flowerbeds, chipped wood, cut down overgrown vegetation, tidied up, and removed litter from the Lee Valley Park.
Nathan Gatten, project manager of the service completed at Tottenham said it was gratifying to hear the Mayor’s team express their appreciation for the service provided by the members of these local London congregations.
“The spirit of our members was on full display, and all who were present walked away feeling impressed with their sense of community and their eagerness to improve one of the few green spaces within an area that was very recently affected by the riots,” he continued.
On the same day, members in other areas of London joined in Helping Hands projects at Haven House Children's Hospice and Richard House Children’s Hospice.
“Everyone was eager, willing, and enthusiastic, and this showed to all those working at the hospice,” said Vanessa Theed, project manager for the service project at Haven. “It was remarked on and therefore I do believe we let our light shine and glorified our Father in Heaven.”
Mike Palfreman, CEO of Haven House Children’s Hospice, spent time circling with the 34 volunteers at Haven House and remarked that he looks forward to working with the Church again in the future.
At Richard House, 18 members of the Stratford Ward painted an office space, weeded, cut plants, swept the grounds, and fixed tools. This was the hospice’s first contact with the Church, said Charlotte Illera, project manager for the service project at Richard House.
“I was touched with the way the volunteers took on their tasks with enthusiasm and joy,” she said. “Even a simple task such as sweeping a path was done to its best. … Knowing the difference these small tasks will make in the lives of young people living with life-limiting conditions makes me feel grateful for the opportunity to serve.”
Over the past several months, Church members in Great Britain and Northern Ireland have been organizing and participating in dozens of service projects throughout the nation.
Saints in the Liverpool England Stake alone have contributed in five or six separate activities during 2011.
“There’s all sorts of service going on all over the place,” said Paul Oliver, a correspondent with Church News and Events.