Presiding Bishop Dedicates Bishops’ Storehouse in Cradle of the Restoration

Contributed By R. Scott Lloyd, Church News staff writer

  • 16 April 2016

The new bishops’ storehouse in Manchester, New York, at sunset. The 8,000-square-foot facility was dedicated on Saturday, April 16, 2016.  Photo by D. Brent Walton.

MANCHESTER, NEW YORK

In this cradle of the Restoration, where Joseph Smith received his vision of the Father and the Son, where the Book of Mormon plates were delivered to him by the angel Moroni for translation, and where Joseph eventually published that book of scripture, the Palmyra Bishops’ Storehouse was dedicated April 16 by Bishop Gérald Caussé.

The 8,000-square-foot warehouse, located at 790 State Route 21, across from the annual Hill Cumorah Pageant site, replaces an outdated facility located farther south near Canandaigua. Like other such facilities connected with the Church’s welfare program, it facilitates caring for the poor and needy, fostering self-reliance, and encouraging service to others.

Consistent with the historic import of the locale, Bishop Caussé referred to the Prophet Joseph Smith in the context of his remarks about caring for the needy.

Before giving the dedicatory prayer, Bishop Caussé outlined Joseph’s history, saying that exactly 200 years ago, in 1816, the Prophet’s parents moved their family from Norwich, Vermont, to western New York State, and that four years later, young Joseph was visited by the Father and the Son.

The new 8,000-square-foot Palmyra Bishops' Storehouse was dedicated April 16 by Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé. It is in the area where Joseph Smith received his First Vision and translated the Book of Mormon.

“For members of the Church, this is sacred ground,” Bishop Caussé said to the gathering that included local civic, religious, and town leaders specially invited for the occasion. “We cherish Palmyra. We speak of it with reverence and awe. We stand with you in your desire to preserve the beauty, peace, and character of this wonderful place.”

The Presiding Bishop said that to understand the purpose of the storehouse, it is helpful to understand the mind and heart of Joseph. “I love and admire Joseph Smith for many reasons, not the least of which is his compassion for others and his concern for those in distress,” he said.

He related an incident that occurred while Joseph was mayor of Nauvoo, Illinois. One day, he sat in judgment of an African-American named Anthony, who was accused of selling liquor illegally. Anthony pleaded for mercy, saying he needed the money to buy the freedom of his child who was held as a slave in a southern state. Joseph replied that the law must be observed and that a fine must be imposed.

The next day, Joseph gave a fine horse to Anthony and told him to sell the animal to obtain the money to buy the freedom of his child.

The new bishops' storehouse in the Palmyra area can be seen from the historic Hill Cumorah in New York. Photo by D. Brent Walton.

“Joseph’s heart was always extended to others,” Bishop Caussé commented. “He taught that ‘to be justified before God we must love one another.’”

A thread of compassion and caring for others permeates the Prophet’s teachings and actions, the Presiding Bishop said.

“Joseph, though prophet and leader of a growing church, extended himself personally to others, building cabins for widows and welcoming refugees,” he said, “providing them healing, food, and shelter until they could find a way to support themselves. He instituted a day of fasting, encouraging members to go without eating two meals and bring the food they would have eaten to the bishop who could then provide for those who were hungry.”

Bishop Caussé spoke of the calling in 1831 of Edward Partridge to be the first bishop of the Church with responsibility to keep the Lord’s storehouse, receive the funds of the Church, and administer to the wants of the people.

Inside the new bishops’ storehouse in Manchester, New York. Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé dedicated the 8,000-square-foot facility April 16. Photo by D. Brent Walton.

“Later, this calling would evolve and become the Presiding Bishop of the Church—the office I am honored to hold today,” he said.

He noted that the devotion and compassion instilled within the Mormon people by Joseph Smith is exemplified today by President Thomas S. Monson.

“Whenever he has a free moment—and often when he doesn’t—he visits those who are suffering, lonely, or discouraged,” Bishop Caussé said.

Inside the new bishops’ storehouse in Manchester, New York. Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé dedicated the 8,000-square-foot facility April 16. Photo by D. Brent Walton.

“One time, a well-meaning individual told President Monson that it was useless to spend so much time with the elderly people he often visited because they didn’t even know who he was. President Monson replied, ‘I don't talk to them because they know me. I talk to them because I know them.’”

Bishop Caussé spoke of the modern-day welfare program of the Church, noting that it grows food on more than 100,000 acres of land and the food is sent to plants where it is packaged, canned, or processed.

“From there, these goods are shipped to over 100 bishops’ storehouses, such as the one we have the opportunity to dedicate this morning,” he said.

“In every community, local bishops who know each individual personally meet and work with families—assessing their needs and identifying available resources. They help them to help themselves and reach their goals of becoming self-reliant. For those unable to meet basic needs, the bishop can provide food and other household goods from the bishops’ storehouse. There is no cost for these needed, life-sustaining supplies.”

Food on the shelves inside the bishops’ storehouse in Manchester, New York. The new facility was dedicated Saturday, April 16, 2016.

Additional resources in the welfare program include vocational training programs, employment resources, counseling centers, adoption support services, and addiction recovery programs, he noted. He said the Church also provides resources to those in need throughout the world.

“We give because the Savior gave,” he said. “We love others because God loves us. We lift others because it is an essential and integral part of our faith.”

The new storehouse features roughly 50 percent more square footage, food storage capacity of four to six months, and new freezers and coolers with four times the cold storage compared to the previous facility.

On average, local Church members and service missionaries have donated around 9,600 volunteer hours annually at the storehouse in Palmyra.

An area of great significance in the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the location of the new Palmyra Bishops’ Storehouse in Manchester, New York. Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé dedicated the 8,000-square-foot facility Saturday, April 16, 2016. Photo by D. Brent Walton.

“Our local storehouses help lift people up,” said Dwight Garrow, who manages the facility with his wife, Sue. “Its purpose here is to provide local Church leaders with available food to provide temporary assistance to members, to encourage self-reliance through home food storage, to assist in times of natural disaster, and to support area service organizations through humanitarian donations.”

To accommodate interest among local Church members, the dedication service was telecast at the Palmyra Stake Center.

The dedication was preceded the day before by an open house for about 200 invited guests. An open house for the general public followed the dedication.

A Book of Mormon monument is located near the new bishops' storehouse in the Palmyra, New York, area. Photo by D. Brent Walton.

The Church has built a new bishops’ storehouse in Manchester, New York. The 8,000-square-foot facility is located near important Church historic sites such as the Hill Cumorah and Joseph Smith's boyhood home. Here, Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé toured the storehouse before dedicating it on Saturday, April 16, 2016. Photo by D. Brent Walton.

This group of Latter-day Saint missionaries and volunteers will help people in need obtain food from the newest bishops’ storehouse in Manchester, New York. Photo by D. Brent Walton.