Mormon Leaders Present Community Values Awards in British Columbia

Mormon Leaders Present Community Values Awards in British Columbia

News Story

General officers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — Sister Joy D. Jones, general president of the Primary; Sister Jean B. Bingham, general president of the Relief Society; and Sister Carol F. McConkie, first counsellor in the Young Women general presidency — joined with community members of all faiths December 2, 2017, to present community awards in Fraser Valley, British Columbia.

The awards event was held in the Vancouver, British Columbia, suburb of Langley and organized by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The awards recognized individuals or organizations that have contributed to the community in areas such as supporting families, humanitarian service and promoting faith.

 

Prior to the award presentations, attendees heard from two prominent keynote speakers: Mary Polak, a member of the legislative assembly of British Columbia, and Sister Jones, general president of the Primary, which is concerned with the spiritual and temporal welfare of over one million children under the age of 12.

Ms. Polak addressed the crowd of over 100 community members and stated that “we are the hands and feet of the Lord” and that “we have a responsibility to care for our neighbours.” She also shared her experience when as a young mother she was encouraged by a mentor to enter the world of politics and how that encouragement has been a source of inspiration to help others ever since. She also posed the question, “Why am I here?” as a means to evaluate our own efforts to help others.

Sister Jones spoke about service to fellow beings and encouraged all in attendance to seek ways to “lift others’ burdens.” She also shared experiences from her family life about the joy in serving and helping the disadvantaged, including a story from her daughter’s life about helping refugees in her community.

The Church has long espoused the importance of family to society and has issued numerous statements declaring the importance of the institution of marriage and family, including an official proclamation in 1995. Additionally, the Church holds as one of its central tenets that all humankind are children of a loving God and as such have a responsibility to care for and serve one another. Finally, one of the Articles of Faith of the Church states that all have the right to worship God according to the dictates of their own conscience. These three principles were the driving force behind the organization of the Fraser Valley Community Awards, resulting in the creation of three awards: the Family Values Award, the Humanitarian Award and the Faith Award.

The Family Values Award was presented to Focus on the Family (Canada), an organization well known to promote and support traditional family values. Gloria Storsley, a long-time employee of the organization, was present to accept the award.

The Humanitarian Award was presented to Christine Collison for her many years of volunteer service in the community helping the disadvantaged, particularly individuals with physical and mental disabilities. Ms. Collison was also recognized for her work with refugees and her support of caregivers.

The final award was the Faith Award, which was presented to Sarah Laeeq, president of the Ahmadiyya Women’s Auxiliary organization from the Baitur Rahman Mosque, one of the largest Ahmadiyya mosques in the world.

Ms. Storsley, the Family Values Award recipient on behalf of Focus on the Family, stated that she was “thrilled to see such diversity of faith and individuals at the ceremony.” She further commented that such events “show how much we all share in common. Humanitarian Award recipient Ms. Collison commented how impressed she was that [the Church] was “recognizing such a wide variety of organizations and people who are making a positive difference in our community.” Shafquat Malik, a member of the Ahmadiyya community, thanked the Church for its work in “supporting interfaith efforts and for recognizing people of all faiths” for their service and efforts in the community.

Elder Michael R. Murray of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with responsibility for the North America Northwest Area, and Tonya Engen, co-director of the Church’s British Columbia Public Affairs Council, were also in attendance to participate in presenting the awards.

Elder Murray stated, “Serving our fellow [beings] is one of the greatest ways for us to demonstrate our love of God. Events like these show that there are many good people from all faith traditions who are seeking to lift the burdens of others and that we can be a source of strength and inspiration to each other through our efforts to serve.”

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