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NORMAN — New leadership has been assigned for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints congregations in Norman and surrounding areas.
Shad Satterthwaite, Lyle Nelson and Gabe Nabors are volunteering to serve in the stake presidency after being interviewed by Church general authorities Robert C. Rhien and Craig A. Cardon.
The stake, a grouping of several congregations called wards in a given geographical area, covers the cities of Norman, Noble, Blanchard, Ada, Ardmore, Chickasha, Pauls Valley and Seminole.
Satterthwaite is serving as the stake president with Nelson, a Blanchard resident, as his first counselor and Nabors, a Norman resident, as his second counselor. The stake presidency members are lay ministers, overseeing programs, and are responsible in helping members in their efforts to follow Jesus Christ. A stake president typically serves for about nine years.
Satterthwaite, a Norman resident, works full time as a political science professor and equal opportunities officer at the University of Oklahoma. He also is a lieutenant colonel in the Oklahoma National Guard.
Previously, Satterthwaite taught seminary (early morning Bible class) to Norman youth and as a service member leader while deployed in Afghanistan. He also served a two-year proselyting mission from 1985 to 1987 in the Belgium Brussels Mission.
Satterthwaite and his wife, Valerie, have two sons and a daughter and son-in-law.
For Satterthwaite, serving in the Church is no sacrifice and is something that brings him joy.
“I hope that through my service, others can feel God’s love for them,” he said.
Nelson, a Blanchard resident, is retired after working 28 years for Bridgestone/
Firestone. The Army veteran fills his days by working at Havenbrook Funeral Home as an ambassador.
Previously, Nelson volunteered as a bishop, head lay minister of a ward, for more than 17 years.
He also served a two-year proselyting mission in the Northern States Mission from 1968 to 1970. Nelson and his wife, Gale, have four children and 11 grandchildren.
“My hope is to help strengthen or deepen discipleship of my brothers and sisters in the Norman Oklahoma Stake, to love them, to do what the Savior would do if he were here,” he said about his upcoming service in the stake presidency.
Nabors, a Norman resident, is a dentist and owner of The Dental Lodge in Norman and Noble. He has previously served in the Church in various capacities, including as a bishop and seminary teacher.
He also served a two-year proselyting mission from 1997 to 1999 in Argentina, Bahia Blanca Mission. Nabors and his wife, Sonya, have six children under the age of 8.
“Something I would love people to know is that there is hope in the Savior, and there is nothing that our Savior hasn’t or can’t help us overcome. That’s the most wonderful thing,” he said. “Our Savior can help us overcome and endure hardships and trials.
“If I can help people feel that they’re loved by their Heavenly Father and help them feel the love of the Savior when I’m around them, then I feel like I’ve been of service.”
The former stake presidency consisted of stake president Robert Keyes, first counselor Walter Hobbs and second counselor David Tucker.
Keyes, a Noble resident, served for 16 years and has been president for nine and a half years. He is the owner of Associated Environmental Industries Corp.
Hobbs, a Norman resident, served in the presidency for seven years and is the vice president of Power Costs Inc.
Tucker, a Norman resident, served in the presidency for two years. He is a building contractor.
The Church functions in large measure because of the unpaid volunteer ministry of its members. Members in congregations around the world voluntarily participate in “callings,” or assignments that provide opportunities to serve one another. Some callings, such as in the stake presidency, may require 15 to 30 hours per week.
Callings in the Church are not sought after or campaigned for. Members are asked to be willing to accept assignments that come to them through leaders. These leaders seek inspiration through prayer about whom to call. Service is viewed as contributing to the well-being of fellow congregants and the broader community.
For more information on church lay ministry, visit mormonnewsroom.org/article/mormon-lay-ministry.
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