The Chattanooga stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be reorganized this weekend.
According to officials, a stake is a geographic subdivision “composed of individual congregations called wards and branches.” There are 13 congregations in the greater Chattanooga area, which includes members from Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia.
The stake president “is the lay leader of a stake.” He is assisted by two counselors. Together, they constitute a stake presidency. A stake president usually serves for about nine years. Chattanooga stake president John Griffey, an engineer and Bowater consultant, has served for 10 years. Brian Silvenis, an IT specialist, and Jim Barrot, Executive Vice President for Chattanooga State Community College, have served as first and second counselors, respectively. Each will be released this weekend with a vote of thanks.
By inspiration, Elder James B.
Martino, a General Authority Seventy who serves as Area President for North America Southeast for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Elder Richard G. Youngblood, an Area Seventy from Signal Mountain, Tennessee, will extend a “calling” to a new stake president.
A “calling” is a position of responsibility extended by one in authority. It is a call to service or an assignment to serve. Members neither seek nor decline a calling. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is mostly a lay clergy of volunteers who do not receive pay for their service.
Callings in the Church are explained in 1 Corinthians 12:14-18:
14 For the body is not one member, but many.
15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?
18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
All callings are important, as the purpose of any calling is to support everyone in their efforts to come unto Christ. Stake presidents proclaim the doctrine of Christ and love the people they serve. President Griffey and his counselors are very much appreciated for the service they have rendered “according to the will and pattern of The Lord,” as President Gordon B. Hinckley taught.
“President Griffey and his counselors have done a tremendous job in serving The Lord in this area,” said Phil Smartt, communications director and former stake president of the Chattanooga Stake. “They’ve given their all, just like the missionaries who first came to Tennessee in 1834. The Church now has 2 temples in Tennessee – one in Nashville, another in Memphis. And we have more than 110 congregations throughout the State. We also have two missions. I attribute this, in part, to the tireless efforts of all those, including President Griffey, who do their best. I also attribute this growth to the people of Tennessee and throughout the South who are just naturally inclined to follow Jesus Christ. They, like us, know that Jesus lives. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). As President David O. McKay said, “Jesus Christ desires to guide and direct all who serve Him…. He is our head. With Him, we cannot fail.”
In accordance with COVID-19 guidelines, stake conference will be broadcast to members via Youtube and Zoom links, and in-person attendance will be limited.