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50 Years of Dedication

Trumbull's Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on Bonnie View Drive is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its dedication with a campaign emphasizing its works in the community.

In 1960, Mormons in the Bridgeport wanted a church building of their own, so they started baking. And baking. And baking.

"They would take the fudge up to the Danbury State Fair and sell it there," said President Bruce Stratford.

The congregation finally raised enough money to build the church, but it couldn't be dedicated until it was paid off, Stratford said.

That was in 1962. Today, the (not to be confused with a temple) has been working in the community, including cleaning up storm damage and donating money to local food banks.

Trumbull Ward Mormon officials are also trying to establish an Internet presence through Facebook and Twitter but have not yet created a Website.

The roughly 330-member congregation of the church comes from Easton, Monroe, Trumbull, Shelton and Fairfield. The Bridgeport-Stratford congregation also shares the building, said Trumbull Bishop David Hogan.

That's about the right size for a Mormon church because it allows more oppportunities for members to teach each other, Hogan said. But more members are welcome, the church officials said.

Bad weather over the past few years has offered the church opportunities to pitch in, such as with storm clean up from Hurricane Irene. The work included helping people in Seaside Village in Bridgeport. Church youth also helped organize the food pantry at the Bridgeport Rescue Mission.

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A disaster isn't necessary. The church also helps non-members with genealogy, holds blood drives for the American Red Cross, has a substance abuse support group and sponsors a Boy Scout Troop. A recent performance of dancers from Brigham Young University Idaho raised money for the Alpha Community Services in Bridgeport, part of the YMCA.

"The mission is to follow Jesus Christ and serve our fellow man," Stratford said.

The church leaders' campaign includes clearing up misconceptions of the religion. They recommended two Websites, mormon.org and mormonnewsroom.org.

It's an exciting year for the church with the opening of a temple in Farmington about two years from now. Over the years, more temples have been opened near Connecticut. Right now the closest one is in New York.

Only baptized Mormons can enter the temple, except for open houses held when a temple is first opened. They try to go a temple as often as possible, the bishop said.

Mormon religious services start on Sundays with a service and scripture reading before members break up into age groups and the older members teach the younger ones. Children are not baptized until age 8, when they can choose to join the church, Stratford said.

Members usually go on missions at age 19. But community service and teaching are practiced all year round.

"It's not a religion. It's a lifestyle," Hogan said. Added his wife, Theresa Hogan, "We're really involved and we're really supportive of each other," she said.

MAC August 07, 2012 at 07:53 PM
Fascinating history "taking fudge up to the Danbury State Fair and selling it" to earn money to build their church. A worthy example of old-fashioned work and thrift, rather than the borrow and spend philosophy so prevalent in our society now. Also, many, many good works of service, true Christian "charity" are and have been done for people in and outside the church, and soup kitchens and agencies such as Alpha House! By the way, Mr. Leo, the real name of the church is not "Mormon" (which is a nickname only), but The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Aaron Leo (Editor) August 07, 2012 at 08:01 PM
Thanks for the clarification.
Teresa Hogan August 13, 2012 at 12:47 AM
Great article. Thanks Aaron.
leslie massey August 13, 2012 at 09:47 PM
50 years......that is so awesome. We worshiped as a family there 9 years ago and the people are so loving and giving. It is truly a HOUSE of GOD. Wonderful article Leslie

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