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CYPRESS, Texas – Visitors discovered what’s inside a Mormon chapel on Saturday, April 13, as they toured the newest meetinghouse of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Fairfield.
“This experience was very interesting,” said Marion Wilson, a resident of Towne Lake. “The tour was wonderful. We have been driving by this building for months and watched as the property was cleared and the church was built. They put to good use every inch of this building!”
Guided tours took visitors to every part of the facility. First-time visitors to a Mormon meetinghouse are often surprised to see many rooms instead of one large interior space. The sanctuary, called a chapel, is used for Sunday worship services. Although it is the largest space within the building, it only takes up about a
fourth of the square footage. Around the perimeter of the building are classrooms, offices and a kitchen. The second largest room is a gymnasium, called the “cultural hall.” It can be quickly transformed into a dance floor, a banquet hall, a wedding reception or a basketball court.
The highlight of the tour for many visitors, however, was learning about how these spaces are actually used by church members. Room hosts explained the activities for adults, youth and children that will take place each week in different parts of the building. In several rooms, Latter-day Saint teens and children were on hand to explain the Church’s youth programs, including a weekday early morning Bible study class for high school youth.
Christie Smith, a visitor to the open house, said, “The program for high school students was awesome. I like how they start each school day thinking about God.”
Kal Jariwala, a Fairfield resident who is Hindu, said it was the first time he had ever been inside a Christian church. “I was particularly impressed with the emphasis on families,” said Jariwala. “Family is very important to us in our religion as well. Everything starts with family.”
“I liked hearing about the youth activities, especially a 16-mile pioneer hike and basketball,” said his son, Arnar Jariwala.
Corina Luu said she didn’t know at first what to expect of the tour. “I found it very interesting to learn about the church’s structure and how it works,” she said. “I was impressed by the focus on the youth, which is so important since they are tomorrow’s leaders.” She also enjoyed learning about the Church’s family history resources and how they are available to the public.
Smith said she was most impressed about how patient the Latter-day Saints have been in waiting for the construction of this new church. “I loved hearing about how they planned this building for a long time,” Smith said. “They purchased the property nine years ago and waited until they could afford to build it.”
President David Lauck, an ecclesiastical leader for 12 Latter-day Saint congregations in the Cypress area, said, “It was such a pleasure to greet our friends and neighbors as they entered our new building. In the future, visitors will always be welcome to attend Sunday worship services at 9 or 11 a.m., weekday early morning Bible study for high school students and Wednesday night youth activities. We look forward to partnering with many other faiths and community organizations as we work together to benefit the Fairfield community.”