On Monday, December 4, Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock met with Elder Thomas T. Priday, Area Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This meeting marks the coming together of two people whose aim is to serve and represent the people in their midst. Elder Priday is the highest ranking church official in the Denver area and Mayor Hancock’s $927 million bond that recently passed will fund roads, parks, libraries, health and cultural facilities
For members of the LDS church, with a belief in the gospel comes a belief in Jesus Christ, a continual effort to be good neighbors, and serve the community. It was with this very interest in doing good that Elder Priday met with Mayor Hancock. His offer, to help with Denver Days, Denver Parks and Recreation, and Metro Denver Volunteers, was very well received. The state of Colorado is home to more than 150,000 church members, approximately 70,000 of whom live in the Denver area.
Members’ involvement in the Mayor’s volunteer initiatives could mobilize a large task force. Mayor Hancock was especially enthusiastic to hear about options to recruit volunteers through the church’s web-based initiative – JustServe.org. It is anticipated that the most pressing need this winter will be the Snow Angels effort. Snow Angels is a program that helps ensure the sidewalks of the elderly and those with disabilities are shoveled after heavy snow.
Looking ahead, Elder Priday and Mayor Hancock’s common interest will reach beyond coordinating community service together. This spring, the University of Denver will be home to an annual Easter celebration, “The Lamb of God.” Members of the LDS church will give musical testimony of the divinity of Jesus Christ, and Mayor Hancock is a welcome guest of honor. In addition, Elder Priday invited Mayor Hancock and his family to Salt Lake City to see the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s Christmas concert next December. Closer to home is the pending arrival of the Dead Sea Scrolls at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. The two can join forces as Elder Priday and Mayor Hancock’s pastor at New Hope Baptist Church sponsor a presentation on the scrolls to the Mayor’s congregation.
Group efforts extend to the welfare of local refugees. Denver is being considered a pilot city for a project under consideration by a federal refugee service and the LDS church. When it comes to successful cultural integration, refugee youth between the ages of 18-23 are considered the most “at risk” age group, and Denver is home to many. Members of the LDS church and Mayor Hancock all share an interest in helping refugees assimilate in their new home.
With so many shared interests for the people of greater Denver, Mayor Hancock and Elder Priday’s meeting signified the next step towards achieving common goals. At the Mayor’s invitation, Elder Priday will appoint a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to serve on the Mayor’s faith advisory council. While a presence on the council will be a gift for all who participate, Elder Priday presented a gift of his own, a statue of Jesus Christ. May it stand as a reminder of LDS church members’ beliefs to serve as He served as they serve, sing, and learn together in the Denver area.