Almost 1,000 people gathered on Sunday, December 5, in the Kirkland Washington Stake Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a new stake presidency was installed. The new president of the Kirkland Stake is Richard L. Dudley. He selected David S. Badger and David A. McKay as his counselors in the stake presidency.
President Dudley, 56, born in Salt Lake City, has lived in Kirkland for 12 years and in the Seattle area for 33 years. He attended Brigham Young University and the University of Utah. He has previously served as bishop of the church’s Totem Lake Ward and in a variety of other church leadership positions. As a young man, he served a two-year mission for the church in Sweden. He and his wife Joanne have five children, and live in the North Rose Hill neighborhood.
Asked about his feelings regarding his new responsibilities, President Dudley said "I feel very grateful for the opportunity to serve the members of the Church and community here in Kirkland.”
The former stake president, D. Jeffrey Burnham, was released after nearly ten years of service, along with his counselors, R. Jordan Gates and Michael W. Elison.
The local congregations of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are called wards (or branches for smaller congregations). They are organized geographically, and members usually attend a ward or branch near their home. A group of wards form a stake, and the leader of a stake is the stake president. “Stake” is a term taken from the Old Testament tent imagery in which the “tent,” or church, is held up by supporting stakes (see Isaiah 54:2).
The Kirkland Stake has six wards, including the Kirkland 1st Ward (South Rose Hill, Bridle Trails, Houghton), Rose Hill Ward (North Rose Hill, central Kirkland), Totem Lake Ward (Totem Lake, Kingsgate), Juanita Ward, Kirkland 4th Ward (Finn Hill), and the Lake Washington Ward which conducts services in Spanish and draws members from throughout north King and south Snohomish counties.
The stake president, with the assistance of his counselors, administers the programs and affairs of the Church within the stake, including providing spiritual leadership and guidance to strengthen individuals and families, assisting the poor and needy, and nominating, training, and overseeing other local leaders.
“I want every person to know how valued of God they are,” Dudley said. “By devoting ourselves to our Father in Heaven through kindness and service to our fellow beings, we will experience the peace that living the gospel of Jesus Christ brings into our lives. This will be a great strength to each of us individually and to our families and by extension to our community. I hope to help every person feel God’s love and concern for them and be lifted by that love to be what He wants us to be.”
Members of the stake presidency, bishops, and other local leaders in the Church serve voluntarily and aren't paid for their church service; they have day jobs in addition to their church duties. Dudley works in the home improvement industry. Badger, 53, is an orthopedic surgeon. McKay, 62, is an insurance agent. Outgoing stake president Burnham is an attorney; Gates is a business executive, and Elison is a commercial airplane project manager.
The process by which Dudley was selected to serve as the new stake president was overseen by Elder Claudio R.M. Costa, a member of the presidency of the Seventy, one of the governing councils of the Church headquartered in Salt Lake City. Costa was accompanied for the stake reorganization by Elder Marvin T. Brinkerhoff, an Area Authority Seventy of the Church from Beaverton, Oregon. The title “Seventy” is a reference to the seventy men appointed by Jesus Christ in Chapter 10 of the Gospel of Luke, whom he sent "two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come."
Costa and Brinkerhoff interviewed more than two dozen local priesthood leaders in the Kirkland Stake on December 4, then prayed for and received guidance in selecting the new stake president. The new presidency received a unanimous sustaining vote of stake members at the general session of the Kirkland stake conference on December 5.
Stake presidents generally serve for about ten years. Burnham had served as president of the Kirkland Stake since 2001. The previous Kirkland stake president, Robert Condie, is currently serving a three-year term as president of the church's Germany Munich/Austria Mission.