Thursday, February 24, 2011

LDS Second Counselor Dieter F. Uchtdorf To Preside Over Rededication Of LDS Chapel in Big Spring, Texas

On February 23rd, 2011, reports that Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, will be visiting Big Spring, Texas to preside over the rededication of the LDS chapel located on 1803 Wasson Road at 10:30 A.M. on Sunday February 27th. All members of the public regardless of religious preference are welcome to attend. The Big Spring Ward is a part of the Odessa Texas Stake, and is one of the few wards lucky enough not to have to share their chapel with any other ward or branch.

What makes this newsworthy is that the senior leadership of the LDS Church does not ordinarily show up to preside over the rededication of chapels; they tend to visit primarily to officiate over a change in a stake presidency. But there's a special reason why President Uchtdorf is showing up -- he has a personal connection to the area.

When President Uchtdorf first joined the German Air Force, they did not have their own pilot training program. So German cadets were sent to the United States to receive training. President Uchtdorf was assigned to Webb AFB, and graduated No. 1 in Class 62F. But during this time, the LDS chapel in Big Spring was first constructed, and Uchtdorf helped with the construction during his free time. The site for the chapel was chosen and paid for in 1958 and the first phase was completed in 1962. So Uchtdorf has a personal connection, and decided to return for the rededication. Necessitating the rededication was the fact that they recently added a cultural hall to the chapel, allowing more seating for worship services as well as activities such as dances and meals. Odessa Stake President Jerry Zant is impressed that President Uchtdorf would take time from his busy schedule to visit.

President Uchtdorf was born in 1940 in Ostrova, Czechoslovakia, and emigrated to Germany as a young boy. He was baptized into the LDS Church as a child and went on to serve a couple of stints as a stake president. He became a General Authority in 1994 when called to the Second Quorum of the Seventy. In 2004, President Uchtdorf was called to the Quorum of the Twelve, and set apart as Second Counselor to President Thomas S. Monson in 2008.

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