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New LDS branch created in Wadena

A new branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was created Dec. 5 in Wadena.

Robb Oyster, of Hewitt, was called to serve as the branch president. Nearly 100 people attended the meeting where Randal G. Baker, president of the St. Cloud Stake of the Church organized the independent branch.

The branch, centered in Wadena, will serve members of the church who live in Wadena and the surrounding communities including Verndale, Staples, Motley, Hewitt, New York Mills, Sebeka, Nimrod and Menahga. Members in these communities previously attended congregations in Brainerd or Alexandria.

Leadership from the Alexandria Ward of the Church organized a Sunday School class to support the members who lived one to two hours away from the Alexandria meetinghouse. A few families began attending and the number of people continued to grow. The group had been meeting in the community center. After the tornado destroyed the building in June, they began meeting in the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

Becoming an independent branch of the church brings local leadership and strength to the congregation. Oyster, a dairy farmer, will be assisted in his responsibilities by two counselors, a clerk and other leaders. All are invited to local worship services, which are held Sundays at 10 a.m. at 14711 125th Avenue.