News Release

Hundreds Gather at Women’s Church Leadership Meeting in Sydney, Australia

Women leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints met in Sydney yesterday to discuss ways women are strengthening individuals, families and communities by learning, living and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Speakers at the meeting were Sister Susan Bednar, wife of Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church; Sister Jan Robbins, wife of Elder Lynn G. Robbins of the Presidency of the Seventy; and Sister June Pearson, who is married to Elder Kevin W. Pearson, Pacific Area President.

Elder and Sister Bednar, and Elder and Sister Robbins — from the United States — are visiting Australia and New Zealand this week. Elder and Sister Pearson live in Auckland, New Zealand.

Women who volunteer in Latter-day Saint congregations as leaders in Primary (for children), Young Women and Relief Society organisations were invited to attend the meeting. Many of the women drove long distances to attend. 

Joanna Denley, from Canberra, said prior to the meeting, “It is so exciting to be here with so many lovely women. I look forward to what we’re going to hear, to better help us help others.”

Sister Bednar told the women in attendance that they had been given a gift basket when they arrived in Australia that contained vegemite. “So we’re really Aussies now,” she said.

She thanked the women for coming to the meeting, for who they were, and how they were helping others. “It is our prayer this morning that we can all be one as sisters in the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Sister Bednar shared a story about two girls who attended Young Women meetings with her when she was younger. The girls came from a family of 14 children and they had all been taught the gospel of Jesus Christ in their home.

“Today,” she said, “the parents of those 14 children have 96 grandchildren and 248 grandchildren. The decisions we make to stay close to the Lord affect those who come after us.”

“The decisions we make as leaders are important. They aren’t just about us, but all those who will come after us.”

Sister Robbins said she has been a Primary teacher for the last two years. “We often have expectations of our class,” she said. “But how often do we let them know when they meet those expectations?”

She talked with the sisters about how important it is for teachers and leaders to praise young people when they are doing well and to praise them as much for what they are as for what they have done.

“It’s good to praise a child for sweeping the floor,” she said. “But we should also praise them for being obedient or diligent – for what they are.”

Sister June Pearson talked about how important it is for sisters in the Church to be converted to the Lord. 

“Do we seek to do His will?” she asked. “The general conference talks are scripture. Do we know what they say? Do we know what they’re asking us to do today? If we are, that will help us become what the Lord wants us to be.”

Sister Bednar told the women at the meeting that they are deeply appreciated and highly valued.

“If we’ll pray for eyes to see and ears to hear, and keep our eyes in the book (the scriptures), He will help us do hard things,” she said. “We can do hard things through Jesus Christ, who strengthens us.”

Penrith woman, Irina Cummings, said of the meeting: “I learned that we need to treasure the experiences that Heavenly Father has blessed us with, so we can draw strength from Him in our time of need, so we will be able to do those hard things.”

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