Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Greater Portland area, gathered online (due to pandemic restrictions), to sustain a new area Stake President (spiritual local leader) and two counselors to preside over 11 ward and branch congregations. The stake is home to nearly 4,000 members from Arundel to Damariscotta, as far north as Augusta, Livermore and Rumford, over to Bethel and into some areas of New Hampshire.
President Richard J. Taylor of Bowdoinham was called and sustained on Aug. 23 to lead the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Augusta Maine Stake, succeeding President Jeff Thomas, who served in the position for the past nine years. President Thomas’ two counselors, Alan Barker and Bryce Cropper, were also released after nine years of service and replaced by Glenn Davis of Windham and Steve Bryant of Saco. Biographies to follow.
Elder John A. McCune, General Authority Seventy accompanied by Elder David G. LaFrance Area Seventy presided online for the special meeting. After President Taylor and his two counselors were called to these new volunteer positions, President Taylor expressed his love and appreciation to the outgoing stake presidency. “These are leaders of great faith and capacity. The best expression of gratitude I could provide is to say to them: We as a stake are closer to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ as a result of their many efforts.”
President Taylor also said, “While these are unique and challenging times, I have recently been reminded of the fact that ‘unique and challenging times’, aren’t unique to us! Generations before us have dealt with unique challenges, met them, and overcome them. I am optimistic that we will meet the challenges of our day. I trust our Heavenly Father is in charge. I know that as we focus our minds towards a spirit of gratitude, we can better see Heavenly Father’s blessings in our lives.”
President Richard J. Taylor lives in Bowdoinham with his wife Heidi and is the vice president of payments at Tyler Technologies, having been there for 18 years. President Taylor received a bachelor’s degree in computer information systems from Idaho State University and a master’s in business administration from the University of Maine. Previous to this new calling, President Taylor served in many capacities in the Church including bishop of the Topsham Ward for 5 years, stake executive secretary, bishopric counselor and a variety of other positions. President Taylor and his wife Heidi have been married for 22 years and have five boys. In his free time, he enjoys playing the guitar, boating and coaching youth sports. In this calling President Taylor will be traveling throughout Maine and parts of New Hampshire to instruct church members in 11 different wards and branches, and to direct day-to-day affairs of the worldwide church in this area. Their son Nathan left in July to begin serving a two-year mission for the Church in the Arcadia California Mission.
President Glenn Davis is the newly called first counselor. He lives in Windham with his wife Janet and is employed by the Maine State Ballet in Falmouth as the school director, a position he has held since 1997. President Davis received his bachelor’s degree in history with a certification in education from the University of Maine in Orono, and is currently studying for his MBA.
President Davis recently served as bishop in the Windham Ward. Prior to that, he served as the Young Men’s president and the elder’s quorum president. President Davis and his wife Janet have been married for 23 years and have a daughter, Emma. In his free time, he enjoys cycling, hiking, cooking, skiing and traveling. President Davis said “I am grateful for the opportunity to serve in this capacity. I am a true Mainer at heart, having been born and raised here, and love the people of Maine. I am especially thankful for the interdenominational ties created with the Windham Area Clergy Association and strive to be a builder of bridges among all of us. I have great faith in God and humanity, which gives me optimism and hope, even in these stressful times. I strive to be a light and invite all of us to love and treat our neighbor as ourselves - with dignity and respect.”
President Steve Bryant is the newly called second counselor. He lives in Saco with his wife Shannon, and works as a sales representative at Stryker Medical. President Bryant received his bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Southern Maine and received his doctor of chiropractic degree from Logan College of Chiropractic in Chesterfield, Missouri.
President Bryant recently served as high council member for the Augusta Maine Stake. Prior to that, he served as bishop in the Saco Ward and ward clerk among other callings. President Bryant and his wife Shannon have been married for 23 years and have two children. In his free time, he enjoys cycling, skiing and climbing.
The Church is divided into area territories called stakes. Each stake, is headed by a president (President Richard J. Taylor) and two counselors (Glenn Davis of Windham and Steve Bryant of Saco). They are assisted in their responsibilities by a 12-member stake high council, a stake relief society presidency (women’s organization), stake Young Women’s and Young Men’s presidencies, and a stake Sunday School presidency.
“Local assignments within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, such as stake presidencies are lay appointments, meaning that they are unpaid, volunteer positions. The new members of the stake presidency are often expected to serve for approximately nine years while still managing their employment and family obligations.” (ChurchofJesusChrist.org)
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