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LDS Manteca stake marks 30 years
Open house on March 19
The Manteca Stake Center for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is at 6060 Northland Road. - photo by HIME ROMERO


• WHAT: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is marking the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the Manteca Stake with an open house
• WHEN: Saturday, March 19, 10 a.m. until moon
• WHERE: Manteca Stake Center, 6060 Northland Road
• MEMBERS: There are 14,300 members in the Manteca Stake boundaries that include Manteca, Ripon, Lathrop and Tracy.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be celebrating the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the Manteca Stake, in Manteca, on March 19, from 10 a.m. until noon.  

The community is invited to attend an open house at the Manteca Stake Center, 6060 Northland Road, Manteca.  There will be a display of the New Hope settlement and displays of the various church auxiliaries.

There were scarcely 80 known Latter-day Saints in all of Northern California in 1892.  There were only four branches of the Church in all of California – San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento. The first major missionary effort in the greater Stanislaus area began in May 1909 in Modesto and the surrounding towns.  The Modesto and Stockton Branch were among the earliest organized in California in the post World War I era.   Latter-day Saints from Manteca attended church in Stockton.

 In January 1947, thirty-two Saints gathered at the home of T.A. Chalk in Manteca where they were organized as a Sunday school separate from Stockton Ward.  Within one month the enthusiastic members organized a primary.  Within another month they organized a Relief Society, and the small Sunday school began holding meetings in the Legion Hall on Yosemite Ave.  Before the year was out they had established a building fund for a future chapel.

In July, 1950, the Manteca Branch was established, with slightly more than one hundred members.  Donald D. Nicolaysen was the new Branch President with Alfred Gillingwater and Harrison Kent as his counselors.

 The construction costs for a chapel meant a heavy financial obligation for the local members, yet in every case it was accepted and met.  The Manteca Branch raised funds by growing 12 acres of tomatoes on land provided by Laurie & Don Nicolaysen, and from renting 80 acres of land on French Camp road where they raised beans. The Relief Society Sisters made and sold hundreds of pounds of candy.  The small branch was required to raise 30 percent of the cost, which was $50,000.00, with Salt Lake assuming seventy percent of the balance.

Manteca dedicated their first chapel on Pine Street in 1957 and became a Ward in January 1959.  The new bishop was D. Leon Ward.

The Latter-day Saint population in Manteca tripled in the 1950s, and tripled again the 1960s.  In August 1973, a second ward was established, with David P. Crockett Jr. named as their bishop.   In the late 1970s & early 1980s a new migration of Saints from the Bay area caused the creation of a third ward in Manteca and Robbie R. Bennett was installed as their new bishop.

The three wards (congregations) were overcrowding the Pine Street chapel so land was purchased for a new building on the corner of Union and Northgate prior to the organization of the new Manteca Stake.  The Manteca Stake which was established in March of 1981, with three wards from Manteca and two wards from Tracy with a membership of 1800 members.  D. Leon Ward was called as the new Stake President.  A new building was constructed and the Manteca Stake Center was dedicated in November 1984.  Its membership had increased by 50 percent in its first three years.

The Manteca Fourth Ward was created in Sept. 1984 with Robert Spellman sustained as Bishop.

By November 1991, a new 26,000 square foot stake center was built and dedicated and is located Northland Road. It presently houses Northland and Ripon Ward and the Young Single Adult Branch.  The Union chapel houses the Lathrop Ward and Union Ward.   There are an additional 5 wards in Tracy which is part of the Manteca Stake.  The membership of the Manteca Stake is 14,300 members.

Auxiliaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Primary is the organization of the Church for children from age’s three to twelve. Beginning at three years of age, children receive two hours of religious instruction each Sunday. One hour is spent with a teacher who provides a lesson for an age-specific group, and a second hour is spent in a combined group of children in instruction and singing.  How better can we teach these children than by following the Savior’s example ourselves?   He loved them; He took them in His arms and blessed them.  Children today need to be taught as Jesus taught—with love, understanding, compassion and patience.  

Young Men and Young Women organization is a comprehensive program for youth, ages 12 through 17.  They meet in classes on Sundays for religious instruction and several times during the month for social activities including service projects, sports, camping and dances. Young men and women are also given leadership positions within the organization in which they learn leadership skills such as setting goals, planning group activities and solving problems.

 Relief Society is for female Church members ages 18 and older.  The Relief Society was organized on March 17, 1842, in Nauvoo, Illinois.  In the days of its founding, it had two main purposes: to provide relief for the poor and needy and to bring people to Christ. The organization continues today, staying true to those original guiding principles as women in the Relief Society meet together on Sunday and in other settings as needed.  The RS motto is “Charity Never Faileth”.