MIAMI VALLEY — New leaders were named for the Dayton Ohio East Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during the Stake’s annual conference in Huber Heights on Nov. 19.
Called to preside over the Stake with its more than 4,200 members, is Robert Hancock of Beavercreek as its Stake President.
Elder Timothy J. Dyches, a General Authority in the First Quorum of Seventy, from the church’s headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Elder S. Marc Clay, Jr., Area Authority Seventy for the North America Northeast Area, came to reorganize the leadership of the Dayton Ohio East Stake during the conference.
In the church, stake presidents and their assistants, called counselors, serve without pay, generally for nine to 10 years and during that time balance work, family and their new calling.
The new Stake President is the Chief Scientist, Turbine Engine Division, Aerospace Systems Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Hancock has previously served a two-year mission preaching the Gospel for the Church in the Guatemala Quetzaltenango Mission.
“Serving and caring for one another is one of the great blessings that comes to each and every follower of Jesus Christ,” Hancock said. “I’m excited for the opportunity to serve alongside the wonderful Latter-day Saints in the Dayton area in sharing the joy and peace of the gospel of Jesus Christ with others.”
Assisting President Hancock in his position, and also newly called, are Mark Skouson, from Beavercreek, and Jeremy Lutz of Huber Heights, as first and second counselors, respectively.
Skouson, a member of the U.S. Air Force, is the associate dean at the Graduate School of Engineering and Management for the Air Force Institute of Technology. He had been serving as the Xenia Ward Bishop and served a mission in Madrid, Spain.
Lutz, moving to the position from serving as the Bishop of the Huber Heights Ward is an adjunct professor at Wright State University. Lutz served a mission in Portland, Ore.
Released were President Mike Stevens, of Xenia, who had served as the Stake’s president for nine years; Mark Zelnick, of Troy, who had been serving as the first counselor; and Hancock, as the second counselor.
Stevens praised Zelnick and Hancock as faithful counselors and said that it was an honor for them as a Stake Presidency to serve the community of Dayton.
“Our primary mission was to preach the gospel of Jesus the Christ and invite people to come to Him,” Stevens said. “With the help of other Latter-day Saints, we also helped feed the poor, comfort the lonely and cheer up the sad. Only when we are in the service of our fellowmen are we truly in the service of God.”
Stevens further elaborated on the lasting impression that the experience had on him.
“I had the opportunity for people to share their life’s experiences with me, and as a result, my life changed,” he said. “I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to serve God and His children.
“There are times in our lives when we have the opportunity to serve God with all our heart,” Stevens added. “This opportunity came to me when I was called to serve as the Stake President of the Dayton Ohio East Stake.”
Hancock also reflected on the years he served with Stevens and Zelnick in the Stake Presidency.
“I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to serve with President Stevens and President Zelnick,” Hancock said. “They are men of God who devoted their all to serve everyone around them.”
A Stake usually consists of five to twelve local units, or congregations, called wards or branches. A ward or branch has between 200 to 500 members. The term stake was used by the Bible’s Old Testament prophet Isaiah. He described the latter-day Church as a tent that would be secured by stakes.
For the Dayton Ohio East Stake, there are nine units which cover an area from Bellefontaine on the north, to Xenia on the south, and from Springfield on the east, to Huber Heights on the west.