Women Auxiliary Leaders Present Community Awards in British Columbia

Contributed By Marianne Holman Prescott, Church News staff writer

  • 14 December 2017

Tonya Engen, co-director of the Church’s public affairs council for British Columbia, presents Goria Storsley, representing Focus on the Family (Canada), with the Family Values Award.

Article Highlights

  • Fraser Valley Community Awards are a way for the Church to honor people and groups who are caring for others in their community.
  • We can find joy in lifting others’ burdens, serving, and helping people who are disadvantaged.

“Serving our fellow [beings] is one of the greatest ways for us to demonstrate our love of God.” —Elder Michael R. Murray, Area Seventy

Three women auxiliary leaders of the Church—Sister Jean B. Bingham, Sister Joy D. Jones, and Sister Carol F. McConkie—met on December 2 with community members of all faiths living in Fraser Valley, British Columbia, to honor individuals and organizations that have made positive contributions to the area.

Meant to be a way to honor people and groups that help promote faith and support families and humanitarian service in the community, the event—sponsored by the Church—brought more than 100 people together in an LDS Church building in Langley, British Columbia.

The event honored three award recipients and included speeches from two keynote speakers, Mary Polak, a member of the legislative assembly of British Columbia, and Sister Jones, who serves as the Primary General President. Sister Bingham, Relief Society General President, and Sister McConkie, First Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency, also attended.

“We are the hands and feet of the Lord,” Polak said, according to a news release on MormonNewsroom.org. “We have a responsibility to care for our neighbors.”

Her remarks included a personal experience when she, as a young mother, was encouraged by a mentor to become involved in politics. She spoke of how that encouragement has been a source of inspiration to her to help others. She referred to the question “Why am I here?” and invited listeners to ask themselves that same question as a way to evaluate their own efforts in helping others.

Sister Carol F. McConkie, First Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency, speaks with an attendee at the Fraser Valley Community Awards event on December 2 in Langley, British Columbia.

Sister Jones encouraged others to seek ways to “lift others’ burdens” and shared personal experiences of finding joy in serving and helping people who are disadvantaged.

“Serving our fellow [beings] is one of the greatest ways for us to demonstrate our love of God,” Elder Michael R. Murray, an Area Seventy, said in the release. “Events like these show that there are many good people from all faith traditions who are seeking to lift the burdens of others and that we can be a source of strength and inspiration to each other through our efforts to serve.”

The Fraser Valley Community Awards are a way for the Church to honor people and groups who are caring for others in their community. There are three awards: the Family Values Award, the Humanitarian Award, and the Faith Award.

This year the Family Values Award was given to Focus on the Family (Canada), an organization known for promoting and supporting traditional family values. Gloria Storsley accepted the award in behalf of the organization.

The Humanitarian Award was presented to Christine Collison for her work with refugees, support of caregivers, and many years of service volunteering to help disadvantaged—especially individuals with physical and mental disabilities—in her community.

The Faith Award was presented to Sarah Laeeg, who is the president of the Ahmadiyya Women’s Auxiliary organization from the Baitur Rahman Mosque.

Award recipient Storsley said she was “thrilled to see such diversity of faith and individuals at the ceremony” and commented on the unifying nature of such events, adding that they “show how much we all share in common.”

Collison said she was impressed that the Church honored a variety of organizations and people “who are making a positive difference in our community.”

Mary Polak, member of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, delivered a keynote speech at the Fraser Valley Community Awards event.

Tonya Engen, co-director of the Church’s British Columbia Public Affairs Council, speaks with attendees at the Fraser Valley Community Awards event.

Sister Joy D. Jones, General President of the Primary, speaks with attendees at the Fraser Valley Community Awards event on December 2 in Langley, British Columbia.

Auxiliary leaders with Mary Polak (front right), a member of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, at the Fraser Valley Community Awards on December 2 in Langley, British Columbia.

Christine Collison receives the Humanitarian Award for her many years of voluntary service in the community helping the disadvantaged. With her to receive the award is Liz Dechenes from Semiahmoo House Society, which is one of the organizations where Ms. Collison volunteers.

Women auxiliary leaders for the Church, joined by Mary Polak (fifth from left), present Gloria Storsley, (second from left), representing Focus on the Family (Canada), with the Family Values Award.

Sarah Laeeq, president of the Ahmadiyya Women’s Auxiliary organization from the Baitur Rahman Mosque, addresses the audience upon receiving the Faith Award.

Sister Jean B. Bingham, Relief Society General President, speaks with an attendee at the Fraser Valley Community Awards event on December 2 in Langley, British Columbia.