Last spring a new Area Presidency for Europe was announced. On 1 August 2012, Elder José A. Teixeira began his service as Area President, with Elder Patrick Kearon as First Counsellor and Elder Kent F. Richards as Second Counsellor. These Brethren bring diverse backgrounds and a wealth of experience to their new assignments.
Elder José Teixeira
Elder José Teixeira was sustained a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy on 5 April 2008. At the time of his call, he was presiding over the Brazil Sao Paulo South Mission.
Elder Teixeira’s professional training was in business, having received a degree in accounting and business management. Before his calling to full-time Church service, he was an international controller for the Church with responsibility for Europe and Africa. In this capacity he managed the Europe/Africa processing centre in Solihull, England, and supervised the controllers in the Europe East, Europe Central, Europe West, Africa Southeast, and Africa West areas.
Previous Church callings include full-time missionary in the Portugal Lisbon Mission, elders quorum president, high priests group leader, bishop’s counsellor, high councillor, district president, stake president, and Area Seventy in the Europe West Area from 1997-2005. In his most recent assignment he was serving as the Second Counsellor in the Europe Area Presidency.
Elder Teixeira was born in Vila Real, Portugal, on 24 February 1961. He married Maria Filomena Lopes Teles Grilo in June 1984. They are the parents of three children.
Elder Patrick Kearon
Elder Patrick Kearon was sustained a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy on 3 April 2010. At the time of his call, he had been serving as a member of the Third Quorum of the Seventy in the Europe Area.
Elder Kearon was educated in the Middle East and the United Kingdom. He has lived and worked in the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, and the United States in various industries, including health care, food, automotive, and transport. He also ran his own communications consultancy. Civic and community involvement has included service on the boards of charities, a school, an enterprise agency, and a college.
After joining the Church on Christmas Eve, 1987, Elder Kearon served in numerous Church callings, including assistant ward clerk, Young Men’s president, bishop’s counsellor, branch president, stake president, and Area Seventy from 2005-2010. As a General Authority, Elder Kearon has served as an Assistant Executive Director of the Priesthood Department and the Media Services Department.
Elder Kearon was born in Carlisle, Cumberland, England, on 18 July 1961. He married Jennifer Carole Hulme in 1991. They are the parents of four children, one of whom is deceased.
Elder Kent F. Richards
Elder Kent F. Richards was sustained a member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy on 4 April 2009. Prior to his assignment to the Europe Area, he served as the Second Counsellor in the Chile Area Presidency.
As to his professional background, in 1969 Elder Richards received a bachelor of science degree and in 1972 a medical degree, both from the University of Utah. He worked as a surgeon and was chairman of the department of surgery at LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah. He also served as senior vice-president for four years at Intermountain Health Care and was a member of their board and executive committee. Elder Richards was also a clinical professor of surgery at the University of Utah.
Elder Richards has served in many Church callings, including full-time missionary in the Southern Mexican Mission, elders quorum president, bishop, scoutmaster, high councillor, stake president, and president of the Texas San Antonio Mission.
Elder Richards was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, on 25 February 1946. He married Marsha Gurr in August 1968. They are the parents of eight children.
Exciting Times in Europe
In 2009 the Europe Area Presidency, of which Elder Teixeira was a part, stated in the Area Committee Report: “As we retain our convert baptisms, save our youth, and continue to reactivate the less-active, we will be able to double the active membership of the Europe Area within ten years.” The current Area Presidency is committed to continuing this effort that began three years ago, with the goal to reach the stated objective by 2020.
Wonderful things are happening in the Europe Area as members strengthen themselves and their families, seek to rescue those who are lost, and invite their family members and friends to attend sacrament meeting. The rising generation is growing in faith and testimony as they attend daily seminary and institute classes, participate in Special Multi-stake Youth Conferences and activities for young single adults, and apply in their lives the principles outlined in For the Strength of Youth and Duty to God. The number of young people being called as full-time missionaries is increasing each year. Temple attendance is on the rise, as is the number of convert baptisms.
The members of this Area Presidency love the Lord, and they love the members of the Church in Europe. They know the Lord can work miracles here as the Saints show their love for Him by following His Prophet and chosen leaders, increasing their personal faith and testimony, and dedicating themselves to reaching out to others in a spirit of invitation and love. This is a great time to be a member of the Church in Europe!