Growing in faith
It used to be when members of Dayton’s Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints met on Sunday, they had to get there early to set up their own chairs.
But when they return to their newly renovated building next week, there will be pews awaiting them – 24 wooden benches with plush blue seats.
“We had a nice facility before, but this is just beautiful,” said Bishop Dennis Wheeler. “We’ve heard a lot of reports that people can hardly wait to get their building back.”
Renovations began in June 2004. Since then, members have been driving into Carson City to meet at 2 p.m. for their three-hour services.
So anxious are they to get the new chapel ready for regular meetings, members have volunteered hours of their time and services for cleaning and other preparations.
On Tuesday, young children helped dig earthen holes then placed purple flowers inside. Youths wiped down chairs and stacked them in closets and helped adults with various tasks, ranging from dusting and window cleaning to sweeping out the parking lot.
Howard “Skip” Glancey, 76, was among those pruning trees.
“I want the place to look nice and presentable to the public,” he said.
It’s an attitude that trickles down to the youngest members. From 14-year-old Devin Galloway – who explained his service simply, “I believe that this church is true and I want to help it” – to the Fowler sisters.
“We want to help the church so it would look good,” began Hannah Fowler, 8. “… so it can be a spiritual place,” finished her older sister, Kaleigh, 11.
Glancey moved to Dayton from Orem, Utah, 10 years ago. At the time, he said, about 50 people attended the church there.
Now, about 700 members live in the Dayton area with more than 250 attending regularly.
He is heartened by the growth.
“We’re all God’s children, and we all need to follow what he asks us to do,” he said. “To do that, we need to know what that is he asks of us. This church has the answers – what we need to do to return to live with Jesus Christ.”
But with growth also comes complications. The new building is not the only change members will see over the next week.
At a special meeting Sunday evening, the membership – called a ward – will be divided into two wards, to meet at different times in the same building.
The news has been met with a mixed reaction.
“I’m kind of sad because I know I won’t be with some of my friends,” said Riley Fraser, 14. “But it’s a lot better, because we were really crowded before.”
Before the first services are held, the church will be open to the public for open houses tonight and Saturday.
“We welcome people from all faiths,” Bishop Wheeler said. “You will see examples of the programs we implement for children, youths and adults. And you will get a feel for how we worship.”
n Contact Teri Vance at email@example.com or at 881-1272.