In the Spotlight
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“In the Spotlight,” Ensign, Feb. 2002, 79

In the Spotlight

First Czech Meetinghouse Dedicated

The first Church meetinghouse to be built in the Czech Republic was dedicated in November and is now serving the 280 members of the Brno Branch. The building, dedicated by Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Seventy, First Counselor in the Europe Central Area Presidency, also houses the country’s first Family History Center.

A two-day open house for the facility was held in October, hosted by Gâd Vojkuvka, president of the Brno Czech District. President Vojkuvka recalled a time in the former Czechoslovakia when the mission was closed for many years and Church members could not openly live the gospel. His parents held meetings in their home once a month. Now he says he is grateful he and his family can attend church weekly in their own meetinghouse.

British Member Receives Queen’s Honor

Brian Holliday of the Blackburn Ward, Preston England Stake, was recently recognized on the Queen’s Birthday Honors List as a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE). He was invited to Buckingham Palace to receive the award for his services to people with disabilities.

Having disabilities himself, Brother Holliday, 53, trains others with disabilities to work to their capacity. He also travels the country promoting the rights of disabled workers, and he is the governor of a state-run school for youngsters with disabilities.

Organist Has Served for 80 Years

When people enter the chapel of the Highland Ward, Ogden Utah East Stake, the music that greets them is played by an organist with 80 years’ experience.

Ninety-two-year-old Vernal Johnson began playing for his ward’s priesthood meetings at the age of 12. In high school, he studied organ with Edward P. Kimball, former Salt Lake Tabernacle organist. During his mission to Germany in 1928, he played for many German congregations. Later, while serving as a U.S. army officer in a medical battalion during World War II, he used his talents in playing at church services for various denominations on base.

Today Brother Johnson continues to uplift his ward by performing an organ and piano duet with his son during a sacrament meeting each Christmas season, a tradition they’ve kept up for 30 years.

Oregon Stake Gives Annual Community Service

Hundreds of men, women, and children recently participated in the sixth annual Humanitarian Day sponsored by the Hillsboro Oregon Stake. Joining stake members in giving community service were individuals from other denominations and organizations.

Volunteer service included making toys for homeless and orphaned children; cleaning a local clinic, shelter, Boys and Girls Club, and six schools; preparing lots for Habitat for Humanity; planting shrubs and grooming trails at a park; helping senior citizens with yard work; and collecting food and other items for a food bank and homeless shelter.

Vernal Johnson. (Photo by Jerry Nelson.)

Volunteers build a fence for a home as part of the Hillsboro stake’s Humanitarian Day. (Photo by Kathleen Pfeiffer.)