News Story

Riverina Stake Created at Historic Meeting

More than 500 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints descended on the small town of Finley on Sunday, 20 October 2019. They came from towns across northern Victoria and southern New South Wales to celebrate the creation of a new regional Stake (group of congregations) which will known as the Riverina Stake.


The Riverina Stake encompasses nine church congregations from across the region with meetinghouses located in Bendigo, Wangaratta, Echuca, Shepparton, Albury, Swan Hill, Finley, Griffith and Wagga Wagga. This historic meeting was a significant step for the Church in the area and was evidence of the steady growth of the Church in these key regional centres over recent years. The new Stake was organised under the direction of Senior Church leaders Elder Kazuhiko Yamashita and Elder Daniel G. Hamilton.

President Craig Williams was called to preside over the new stake, replacing Peter Orro who has served for the past five years as the District President for the previously called Wangaratta District. During the meeting, outgoing President Peter Orro expressed his love and gratitude for the opportunity to serve as district president. He spoke of his deep and abiding testimony of the Saviour Jesus Christ and His great atoning sacrifice.

New President Craig Williams, a 35 year convert to the church, expressed that he had felt the love and peace of the Saviour Jesus Christ throughout his life since he was a little boy. He encouraged the congregation to continue to have willing hearts and minds as they all worked together to grow the newly created Stake.


Elder Hamilton affirmed that this was a new dawning for the Stake, an historic moment in the history of the area that was a “great line in the sand."  He provided three suggestions for all of the families: to meet together as families every week in Family Home Evening, to engage in daily family scripture reading, and to pray together as families every day.

Elder Kazuhiko Yamashita, who presided over the conference and is a member of the Pacific Area Presidency, also spoke of the historic nature of the conference. He offered words of encouragement to those who may have personal struggles in their lives. “I know some of you are struggling with some things and some of you have questions."  He recommended three things that could help. First to act in faith. "Know that when you have a question that you can act in faith and turn to God."  Second, to examine concepts and questions from a Gospel perspective.  He noted that as you do, you can “begin to see things in the way God sees them."  Elder Yamashita’s final point was to “seek understanding through divinely appointed sources."  He spoke of the power of the Holy Ghost and scriptures as a guide for important decisions.

The Church, which has had a presence in Australia since the early 1840's, has nearly 153,000 members in Australia in 42 Stakes, comprised of 303 congregations.  

Meeting times and locations of the Riverina Stake’s congregations can be found at:,145.109822,14

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