Mormon Newsroom
News Release

Slovak Branch formed in Sheffield

A Slovak branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized Sunday 24th March 2013, in Sheffield, England. The branch, with worship services in the Slovak language, will serve as the fourth congregation in Sheffield.

The meeting was attended by the English and Slovak members of the Sheffield 1st Ward, from which the congregation of the new Sheffield 4th Branch was formed. The English speaking members provided transport for all of the Slovak members who, before they found a closer place to meet each Sunday, were known at one point to have taken multiple trams or walked five to six miles to get to Church.

Slovak Sheffield Branch 1
The meeting, attended by well over 200 Church members from Sheffield, was said to have been a day of faith, miracles and spiritual power. Fero Dunka, from Slovakia, has been called to serve as Branch president to approximately 60 regularly attending members. Three English-speaking missionary couples are among those providing liaison and assistance as the new branch gets underway.

Mission President Jerel D. Lindley spoke on the historic formation of the branch.  He said, “The Lord’s hand directs this work,” and he commended the efforts of localChurch leaders, and Ward mission leaders, particularly Greg Nettleship and Bishop Robert McEwen. He mentioned the faithful work of local missionaries, and the generous labour of the members of the Sheffield 1st Ward.

Stake President Mark Dundon, who previously served as bishop in the Sheffield 1st Ward, also addressed the congregation. He said, “This event is a miracle in itself, and a culmination of many miracles both in individuals’ lives who have served and in the lives of those who have been served.”

The formation of this branch is an historical achievement, and is officially only the third ethnic minority Mormon congregation in the UK, the others being Spanish and Portuguese wards in London. Missionary work amongst the Slovak people in Sheffield has become a focus as numbers of Slovak migrants have increased significantly over the past three years.

In 2010 Ludovit Kandrač, a Slovak immigrant who settled near the suburb of Darnall, Sheffield, was baptized. He shared the message of the gospel amongst friends and family in Darnall, and missionary work increased in that area. President Dundon, bishop of the Sheffield 1st Ward at the time, recounted, “One sacrament meeting a huge influx of Slovakians poured in and my joy was full. They were led by a missionary who had walked with and directed them. [He] was like a little version of a modern day Moses.”

In the last year alone there have been over 75 baptisms. On one remarkable occasion in December 2011, a Sabbath day congregation had as many as 26 people investigating the Church. President Dundon said the miracles in the Sheffield area have been a cause for much gratitude and rejoicing.

In 2011, as Slovak baptisms increased, President Lindley requested that a Slovak speaking missionary companionship serve in Sheffield. Elders Juráń and Šindýlek, both from the Czech Republic, have served their entire missions in this area. They will be replaced by two more full time Slovak-trained missionaries later this summer.

The branch will shortly receive the very first Slovak copies of the Book of Mormon, which President Lindley says will “greatly contribute to the strength of the branch and its people.”

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