Most Viewed Stories
Tours set for new LDS meetinghouse in Foothills
Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who live east of Yuma have long dreamed of having a church in their neighborhood.
That dream is now a reality with the completion of Yuma County's newest meetinghouse in the Foothills.
Open houses will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday or the same time on Oct. 13. People of all ages, faiths and backgrounds are welcome to tour the new meetinghouse and learn more about the various auxiliary organizations within the church, including the Relief Society (the church's organization for women) and the Primary program for children.
Dedication will be at 9 a.m. Oct. 14.
The Foothills meetinghouse is home to the Yuma 7th Ward, Yuma Foothills Ward and Gila Ridge Branch, a new branch formed for winter visitors who reside east of Avenue 4E. It also has capacity for a fourth congregation.
The very first worship service is at 9 a.m. today, with Bishop Roger Nelson of the Yuma 7th Ward presiding.
His message? “Things change and people have to change, too.” Not that he expects any complaints from members of his ward to this change.
“Our congregation is excited to have a church close to their homes. We look forward to meeting our new neighbors and invite them to come see our new chapel.”
Added Christopher Averett, bishop of the Yuma Foothills Ward, “We are thrilled to have a meetinghouse in our neighborhood. We have waited for a chapel in the Foothills area for years.”
Until now, the closest meetinghouse was the one at 8th Avenue and 28th Street.
“People in the Foothills have had quite a drive to church,” Nelson said. “And we have activities throughout the week.”
There's been talk of a new building in the eastern part of Yuma for some time, and land was even purchased off Fortuna Road, he said. But it was determined to be too small, so a new site was selected just east of the Foothills Walmart off Avenue 8-1/2E and 36th Street. With more than 4-1/2 acres, that leaves room to expand.
With 135 children from infant to age 18 in 7th Ward and some members in the area promising to start attending more faithfully with a closer church, that need may not be far off, Nelson said.
The 19,400-square-foot building is a new design for LDS and only the third in Arizona to use it, noted Mike Jarvis of Yuma Valley Contractors Inc., the general contractor for the new church.
The new design provides a more modern look with an attractive brick exterior, he said. The building also has a more efficiently laid-out interior with classrooms and offices in a “U” shape around the chapel and the cultural center that also serves as a recreational area.
Jarvis said 16 local subcontractors and suppliers were used on the project, with 70 percent of the dollars spent staying in Yuma.
As he gazed around the chapel, Nelson observed that the new building has state-of-the-art technology, including sound system and video capabilities in rooms throughout the building for overflow crowds.
“It is more user-friendly. I think members will find it more comfortable and our services more enjoyable.”
The Yuma Stake is comprised of 15 congregational units — both wards and branches — in seven sites that stretch from Hyder to San Luis, Ariz. It has 4,254 permanent resident members of the Latter-day Saints.