Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Skyline Ward
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Skyline Ward1095 Golconda Dr.
Reno, NV 89509
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Skyline Ward, is a stately building in a quiet neighborhood. Cars neatly fill the parking lot and line the street as the attendants of the 11 o’clock service gradually trickle into the church. The parishioners, modestly dressed in their Sunday best, greet each other warmly as the congregation splits into three groups before the start of church.
There are three different wards, or groups of churchgoers, that attend the Skyline church at the same time. Each ward separately participates in an alternate part of the service for an hour. The first part is the sacrament, then Sunday school, and finally the relief society for women or the priesthood for men.
Since it is the first Sunday of the month, the entire congregation has fasted for the first two meals of the day. The food from their fast will be donated to the needy families in the church, locally or nationally. Fast Sunday provides church members with the opportunity to bear their testimony of faith and share their feelings to the church.
People fill the modestly sized and well-lit worship hall for the sacrament service, as a lone organ plays. Twenty-seven cushioned pews face a raised stage, which is the length of the room with an enclosed pulpit at the center. The walls are unadorned with religious symbols, and most of character in the room comes from the architecture of a sloping ceiling and the people inhabiting the pews.
Bishop Ken Lynn begins the service by wishing good morning to the attendees and welcoming all visitors to the church. Well-used hymnal books are opened, and a brief song is sung by the congregation in a low murmur while the organ is played. Heads bow in prayer at the conclusion, and Lynn expresses gratitude to God for life, after which a solemn “amen” is answered by those present. Following a second prayer, the sacrament, or communion is brought from the head of the church and passed down each pew for everyone to participate. After the Eucharist, Lynn offers his own testimonial.
“The only way we can be saved is through our Lord and savior Jesus Christ,” Lynn concludes, before opening the pulpit for anyone to speak. Members of the church walk to the pulpit and offer statements about their own struggles with faith.
“The Father lives, the Son died, and in spite of all that I have done, I know he loves me,” one church member tearfully confesses to the entire room.
One woman stood before the church with her toddler in her arms and expressed her happiness to be in such a diverse ward family. “We are on this Earth to be in families,” she said smiling while keeping the child from claiming the microphone for himself.
Elder Shay, from Alberta, Canada, stated sadly that this was to be his last Sunday with the congregation. He had completed his two-year term as a missionary. Shay spoke proudly of his time spent with the church, how he had saved enough of his own money to pay the $400 a month required to be a missionary. The program required that he give up TV, dating and certain forms of exercise to further devote his time to God. Even communication with his family was limited to one email a month and two phone calls a year.
“The experience has been irreplaceable,” Shay said. “I’ve learned how to talk and deal with people … and I know the message is true.”
The service concluded with a final hymn and prayer before the congregation went on to Sunday school.