The Norman Transcript

Religion

February 14, 2014

Mormon bishops called to serve

NORMAN — JR Martin and Shad Withers have accepted assignments to serve as bishops for congregations of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Norman and Blanchard, respectively.

A bishop is the leader of a local congregation (known as a ward) with duties similar to those of a pastor, priest or rabbi. In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, this position is unpaid.

Martin resides in Norman and works as a lead systems analyst with Fiserv Inc. He has served with the Oklahoma Food Bank and the Boy Scouts of America. He and his wife, Nann, have five children and 11 grandchildren.

Martin said he is humbled and grateful for the opportunity to serve.

“I know that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ live, they know each of us personally, and love us deeply,” he said. “As we strive to follow the example of the Savior and apply the principles that he taught in our personal lives, moving forward with faith in him, we can achieve an increased measure of peace and happiness in our lives.”

Withers, a Blanchard resident, is an attorney and partner with Holden and Carr. He has served in the community as a member of the board of directors for the Oklahoma County Bar Association — Young Lawyers Division, Teen Court and the Oklahoma Food Bank.

“One thing I am absolutely certain of is that God knows each and every one of His children,” Withers said. “I am humbled by the opportunity to serve my Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. Their matchless love is available to all.”

Together with two counselors, the bishop oversees the spiritual and social needs of their ward members. The bishop helps each member of his congregation in their efforts to follow Jesus Christ.

In addition to spiritual matters, a bishop helps members who are struggling financially or in other ways to become self-reliant through a variety of assistance.

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