By Kathi Ogden
The Mesa Arizona Kimball East Stake recently marked its 25th anniversary, with current and past stake members and their friends coming together for a celebration called “Shindig 25.”
In early 1990, due to rapidly increasing membership growth and new construction in the area, the Mesa Arizona Kimball East Stake was created from the Mesa Arizona Kimball Stake at a stake conference presided over by Elder L. Tom Perry. The new Kimball East Stake consisted of six wards: Edgewood, Fairfield, Sunland, Sunny Mesa, Taylor Park and Windsor. Wayne Crismon was called as the first stake president, with Vern Allred and Paul Ellsworth as his counselors. Delbert Nelson, a member of the Kimball Stake high council at the time, was asked to continue his service on the high council of the Kimball East Stake.
The stake has witnessed a number of changes over the course of its 25 years. Several wards have been split and five new wards created. In June 1998, after 17 years in existence, the Sunland Ward was dissolved, while Holmes Park and Aspen wards were created. Later, at a conference with Elder David Sorenson, of the Presidency of the Seventy presiding, the Taylor Park Ward was moved into the Kimball Stake.
Holmes Park and Fairfield wards were both eventually dissolved. Then, in May 2005, after identifying the needs of the growing population of Spanish-speaking members in that area, the Tierra Rica Spanish Branch was formed.
Today, there are nine wards and one Spanish-speaking branch in the Kimball East Stake.
In 1999, Bishop Richard Raymond was called as the stake’s second president. Then, in 2004, President Raymond and his wife, Nancy, were called to the California Los Angeles Mission, where he served as mission president. At that time, Mark Bradshaw became stake president and he was followed by Bishop Lynn Westergard, who was called early 2013 and continues in that calling today.
“This stake is known for its spirit of cooperation and getting things done,” says Vern Allred, former first counselor in the stake presidency.
Stake members demonstrated that cooperation as they planned and executed “Shindig 25,” which was held on March 7.
The event featured a BBQ dinner, games and activities for all ages, including an “open call” Pinewood Derby. Inside, pictures of past and present ward presidencies and various activities presented an interactive “memory walk.” A display in the north foyer honored the law enforcement officers, firefighters and military veterans who lived within the stake during its 25-year history. Special musical performances showcased the talents of various stake members.
Debbie MacKinlay, former stake Relief Society president, says, “Shingdig 25 was an absolutely amazing experience. The whole stake came in throngs, and each of us experienced something very, very special. I truly loved our stake already, and I love it even more after our 25th anniversary celebration. “