Sunday, 23 November 2014

Seminary Celebrations

Tamar Ward

(Bishop Rogers)

Periodically this year in my capacity as Bishop I have had the privilege of attending Seminary. As the year started drawing to a close I felt quite strongly that our ward would be blessed by having these remarkable youth from both the Esk and Tamar Wards presenting in our sacrament meeting the experiences, challenges and highlights of their time in seminary this year.

I put the idea past Brother Dale Prebble, our fearless seminary teacher, who agreed that it would be a feasible idea and he accepted the task of putting together a presentation.

On Sunday 23rd November we had the privilege of hearing from 4 of these remarkable youth (Jaylen King, Macady Roberts, Eliza Woodward & Lizzie Prebble), one of the seminary kids parents (Sister Tammy Rowlings) and from their wonderful teacher (Brother Dale Prebble).

The messages that were shared were both heartfelt and real. There was no sugar coating that the early mornings were not hard or that at times it wasn’t a battle. What was heard from all was that the sacrifice of getting up, the sacrifice of having to fit one more thing into their busy lives was worth the reward, both as a parent, as a teacher and as a student.

I felt the spirit strongly testify to me in this meeting that we need these youth, each and every year to have the opportunity to tell us how they have done what they have done. We would all do well to follow the pattern of faith that they are providing us. We cannot simply sit in front of the fireplace of testimony and demand warmth, certainty and the spirit. We have to have the faith in the first place to make the sacrifice, to go the distance, to give up what so many others would not, to then see the rewards. Moroni, the mighty Book of Mormon prophet said it best in Ether 12:6 “I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith”.

Unbeknown to all of us was that sitting back in the congregation that day was Brother Fell who oversees seminary in this part of Australia. Divine providence, or sheer coincidence, it was a pleasure to have him attend.

The meeting was uplifting and inspired, as is the seminary program. I can testify that if our youth attend 4 years of seminary that they will not only be better missionaries and members, but that they will be better husbands and wives, and better students and workers.

These blessings are too good to turn down. With Seminary only 2 months away from recommencing, what are you waiting for? Enroll today and commit to something great, that will, without question, change your life for the better.

Burnie Branch

(Paige Triffitt)

On Sunday, November 23, Burnie Branch held its annual seminary sacrament meeting. As many of you know we have been studying the Book of Mormon this year in seminary. It has been such a wonderful experience to learn more about and ponder the lives of those prophets who are in this amazing book. We were able to share what we have learnt throughout the year and to talk about some of our favourite events and prophets that have strengthened our faith in Christ.

There were six Burnie youth that participated in the sacrament meeting. At first everyone was worried that we would not take up enough time; but amazingly we somehow managed to run overtime and had to skip our seminary teachers’ talks all together. This was a truly amazing feat for our seminary class who hardly spoke unless food or ‘Brigham Bucks’ were offered.

We were able to listen to talks about the brother of Jared and his peoples’ struggles whilst journeying to the promised land; Nephi and his peoples’ trials to the same land; Alma the Younger and his conversion to the Gospel as well as his counsel to his sons; the sons of Helaman and comparisons to our time; the Prophet Moroni and his teachings and examples; and last but not least how seminary has impacted the life of one of Burnie’s youth. Everyone spoke outstandingly! From a student’s perspective it was wonderful to see that the seminary program has been just as significant in my peers lives as it has been in mine. I know that I have come to understand and love the Book of Mormon so much more this year, both because of seminary and the challenge to read it twice in one year. Personally it is such a blessing to be able to start the day learning with other youth who hold the same standards. It has brought the Spirit into my day and has opened up so many more missionary opportunities than I ever could have imagined. Not only does seminary help us to grow spiritually but it also allows the youth to form a strong bond together. Now that seminary has finished it feels strange not seeing the other youth every day! We get to see each other at our best and our worst. I know that I have gotten to know and love my fellow youth so much more because of the opportunity of seminary.

If you ask any youth who attends early morning seminary, they will tell you that it is not easy. I often wanted to stay in my nice warm bed (especially in winter), or would start to fall asleep during class. But I know that as we fight off the natural man and attend seminary we will be blessed. It is not there to deprive us of sleep, it is there to help us prepare, grow and come unto Christ.

Seminary Graduation

(Andrew Spilling)

The Graduates
Sunday, November 23, saw the conclusion of another successful year of seminary and institute with the 2014 seminary and institute graduation and devotional evening held at the Deloraine Chapel. Attended by more than 80 people including family and friends, the evening was a celebration of student achievements throughout the year. Certificates were awarded for ‘Scripture Mastery’, ‘Scripture Reading’ and ‘Course Completion’. Three students were recognized for completing the four-year seminary program and received their ‘Seminary Graduation Diploma’. 

The 2014 graduates were – Emma Spilling (Esk Ward), Nathan Rowlings (Esk Ward) and Justine Hames (Devonport Ward).

Presiding at the meeting was President Lionel Walters, President of the Devonport Australia Stake. Brother Mark Fell, who is the seminary and institute of religion coordinator for the Melbourne West, Victoria and Tasmania regions, was also in attendance to present the certificates.

The Quote Wall
The meeting was conducted by graduating student Emma Spilling and included talks by Brother Andrew Spilling, of the Stake High Council, who provided a history of seminary in the Church along with details of the changes planned for 2015 to ‘elevate learning’. Ellie Roberts delivered a great talk from the perspective of a future student while graduating students Nathan Rowlings and Emma Spilling gave us a glimpse of how seminary has helped and motivated their lives. Brother Jason Rowlings provided a parent’s perspective while institute teacher Brother Scott Prebble shared some ‘light bulb’ moments where students just ‘get it’. President Peter Buckley, second counsellor in the Stake Presidency, gave the closing remarks and shared some inspirational messages expressing the Saviour’s qualities and love.

After the meeting a customary graduation cake was cut by the graduating students. Members and friends enjoyed a beautiful supper of cupcakes, fruit and drinks as they mingled in the hall.

Congratulations to all the students and a big thankyou to the seminary and institute teachers of the stake for a wonderful 2014.

We look forward to an exciting and successful 2015.