News Release

In-person Church Meetings Resume in Guam

How the Church is moving forward on the islands

Guam and its surrounding islands have a strong religious and family culture. Even amidst a pandemic the importance of religious worship remains a priority in the islands. Last summer the islanders were creative in meeting together virtually to worship while following area guidelines. Wards and branches shifted to Zoom meetings to fill the void of in-person meetings in Guam, the Northern Marianas, the Republic of Palau, and the Federated States of Micronesia.

Last November, the Barrigada Guam Stake President announced in-person meetings would resume. Zoom Sacrament Meetings came and went depending on the number of illnesses and what Ward Bishops and Brach Presidents determined best for individual units and its members while still encouraging in-person meetings.

Guam's Barriagada Ward has a member who is deaf. He is able to read lips so the ward has tried to assist him by allowing the speakers to remove their masks if they choose. February of this year this ward stopped all Zoom supplementary meetings and are attended in person now, as are most wards and branches. Since this ward is not using hymnals, the chosen hymn lyrics are printed on the back of each Sacrament Meeting program. Bishop Boss of the Barrigada Ward shared,  "Although many of us missed singing hymns, I heard some members say  that reading the lyrics brought a special spirit and understanding as compared to just singing along with a familiar tune."

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Large indoor groups can now gather while only indoor mask requirements remain in keeping with Guam guidelines. Church members now enjoy socializing, worshiping, and singing hymns together with friends and family during church meetings. Technology is a blessing in keeping our wards and branches connected while we’ve been apart, but it can’t take the place of mingling and feeling of each other’s spirits.

Koror Branch President Ozu in Palau comments, “Gathering in person has really helped our branch in so many ways. It has provided us with happy, smiling faces and warm, comforting exchanges of testimonies and support, reaffirming that we are not alone in our journey of Faith. Perhaps, most importantly, with so many part member families, and the many households without the priesthood, it has given many the opportunity to partake of the Sacrament and renew our covenants on a regular basis".

Wards and branches throughout the islands are now encouraged to attend all meetings and gatherings in person to sharing testimonies and uplift each other’s spirits. Where borders prevent travel, technology fills in this gap. The Church moves forward with added skills like Zoom, social media, and other technology to reach out and minister to others. Our difficulties have been turned into blessings and God continues to have our challenges work for our good.

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