News Release

Berri Tongan Group Provides Spiritual Blessings to Foreign Workers


A decision to ‘bring church to the people when the people can’t get to church’ is proving popular with a large group of seasonal fruit pickers in South Australia’s Riverland.

The overseas workers from Tonga are enjoying services in their native language and close to their current work site, thanks to an initiative underway in the Firle Stake (diocese) of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

The Berri Tongan Group was created within the Berri Branch of the Church to serve the needs of Tongan workers on a fruit property at Bookpurnong, between the towns of Berri and Loxton.

Group meetings began on Sunday 29 October 2017, with an evening sacrament service attended by 80 people.

The fruit workers typically spend six to eight months away from home and family. Many speak little English and their numbers were too great to organise sufficient transport that would enable them to attend the local branch (congregation) in Berri. Many had not had the opportunity to attend a church service and take the sacrament for up to six months.

Visiting leaders at the special event were Rainer Korte, Adelaide Firle Stake President and Ian McKay, Berri Branch President.

“Having the opportunity to partake of the sacrament each week will be a wonderful blessing to group members,” said President McKay in recognition of their sacrifices to provide for their families.

President Korte welcomed all those in attendance as part of the Firle Stake and referred to the words of the Apostle Paul to the Ephesians, “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19).

He invited God’s blessings to be upon the congregation and their families back in Tonga “as they live according to their faith."

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.