From a branch to a ward; president to bishop

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Bishop and Mrs. Kevin Riley of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Sandestin Ward.

Special to The Sun
Published: Thursday, March 20, 2014 at 11:20 AM.

In November 2013, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Sandestin made a change.

Once a “branch,” it is now known as a “ward,” due to an increase in the number of members residing within its local boundaries.

When the number of members in an area exceeds 300 and there are enough active members attending and serving, the Stake president submits an application to the leadership in Salt Lake City to start a congregation or change a congregation from a branch to a ward.

“A branch is the smallest independent unit of our church, where a ward is to be considered a ‘stand alone unit’ combined with other wards,” Bishop Kevin Riley of the Sandestin ward told The Sun.

Riley explained that the headquarters of the church with the first presidency and a “quorum of 12 apostles” is in Salt Lake City. The next level is the “stake,” normally made up of six to 12 wards (congregations) in a geographical area.

“Our Stake boundaries compose all of Okaloosa and Walton Counties, here in Florida and extending up to Opp Ala.,” Riley said. “In our Fort Walton Beach Stake, we have two wards that meet in Fort Walton Beach, one in Niceville, two wards and one branch that meet in Crestview, one ward in DeFuniak and now a ward in Sandestin.”

Boundaries for the Sandestin ward run from the Destin Bridge west to Inlet Bridge, east and from the bay on the north and the beach on the south. Members are encouraged to attend the ward or branch in their area.



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