A recent geographical boundary realignment governing area Churches of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints could bring changes to the Talladega branch of the church.
According to Branch President Jeff Cote, members from the Church Office Building, headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints based in Salt Lake City, made the decision to shift the Talladega branch’s boundary north and east into Oxford, which will result in an influx of church members attending services in Talladega.
“This represents a fundamental change in the dynamic of our branch because we’ve never had the kinds of numbers sitting in the pews that we anticipate having over the next few weeks,” Cote said. “It changes the nature of the congregation, and it changes the way we do business as a ward administratively in terms of the way we minister and who we minister to.”
The new boundaries represent one of what Cote called three avenues for growth for the Talladega branch. Church members moving into the area and a new group of individuals for those of the Mormon faith to spread their message to constituted the second and third avenues for growth.
“People who are members of the church who move into our area naturally associate with the church,” Cote said. “We’re seeing that phenomena here, and it contributes to our growth. The third avenue of growth comes from people who are introduced to the church and its teachings by friends, family, neighbors or missionaries – and they embrace those teachings. When these three avenues of growth come together, it constitutes a significant dynamic for growth in the area, and it is growth that we welcome.”
Cote said the increased membership may lead to some logistical changes to the church’s meeting house.
“This building can accommodate only so many people,” Cote said. “As the anticipated growth over the next few months comes into full force, we’re going to be faced with a challenge that is a welcome challenge and that’s simply seating everyone in the meeting house. It’s been said that the day will come where it’ll be standing room only here. We think that day is fast approaching.”
Possible options Cote said could be considered by the church include either adding on to the existing building or building an new meeting house somewhere in town.
“We hope that perhaps in the next year or two, we may see the beginning of that process taking shape,” Cote said.
The current meeting house at 190 Shocco Springs Road in Talladega accommodates more than 70 churchgoers.
“We estimate sometime in the next two or three months when all these growth areas come together, we anticipate doubling our numbers in terms of meeting attendants on a given Sunday,” Cote said. “When we outgrow this building, we’ll build a new building or add on significantly.”
Cote discussed how the increase in church members will impact the church’s mission.
“We intend to put these people to work in this area, and they’re waiting to go to work,” he said. “That’s what we do. We minister to each other and the people who are around us. There are lots of ways to serve in the church. We will get to know our brothers and sisters in Oxford, and they’ll get to know us. We’ll work together, serve together, socialize together and worship together.”
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