Thursday, July 23, 2009

Brian Burghart Publishes Friendly Review Of The Church Service At The Reno LDS Lakeside Ward In The Reno News & Review

Recently, Brian Burghart, a reporter with the Reno News & Review, an alternative newspaper, decided to attend a service of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints held at the chapel of the Lakeside Ward on 1095 Golconda Dr. in Reno. He published his findings in a report in the Arts and Culture section of the newspaper.

And Burghart appeared to be quite impressed, particularly with the uniformly friendly attitude displayed by church members. Here's the pertinent part of his article:

...The sacrament service begins at 9 a.m. The Lakeside Ward is a beautiful and simple medium-sized meetinghouse in a cute little central neighborhood off Plumb Lane. I’d estimate the sanctuary would hold around 220 comfortably on the blue padded pews, which are divided into three sections aligned toward the chancel. The chancel has an organ and a piano on it, with a lectern in the center and the sacrament table to the right. There were probably 50 chairs available for choir members, elders and other service participants.

The congregation has two distinguishing characteristics: Members are uniformly friendly and well-dressed. (Note to self: Wear a tie the next time I attend a Mormon service.) This, like other LDS services I’ve attended, was simple: announcements, invocation, sacrament (sharing of bread and water), speakers and benediction, with some traditional songs mixed in. This, also like other LDS services I’ve attended, began with a large percentage of the congregation introducing themselves to me, curious about my purpose of writing a review, working to ensure my comfort and establish my welcome.

Immediately before the service began, I was approached by two 20-year-old missionaries, Elder Dallas Ausmus and Elder Jordan Dunkley. They took some time to talk about how they were called to Nevada from Canada and Utah. I hope to talk to them one day at greater length, but suffice it to say, they were among the most hospitable representatives of the congregation, even inviting me to join them at their seats.

Apparently, Burghart was unable to stay for the entire three-hour block of services, witnessing only the sacrament meeting held during the first hour. He hopes to be able to attend only the priesthood session and the Sunday School session in the future. I'm sure the ward will be pleased to accommodate him, particularly after reading his article.

Obviously, I'm pleased that Burghart came away with such a favorable attitude towards the church, and reported on it candidly. But just as impressively, the congregation is to be commended for exemplifying the spirit of Jesus Christ and welcoming Burghart so sincerely into their midst. Not only does the membership exemplify the spirit of Jesus Christ, but it also reflects favorably upon the ward and the stake leadership.

While not every ward is as well-led and motivated as the Reno Lakeside Ward, Burghart's experience is representative of the experience you can expect at nearly every LDS ward. Don't let the rare bad apple shape your image of the entire church.

You can find out more about what to expect at an LDS service HERE. Then you can find the location of the nearest LDS ward to your home HERE.

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