News Release

Belfast Stake Relief Society Day of Service

Sister Reyna I. Aburto and Sister Michelle D. Craig, visit Northern Ireland to celebrate through service the 180th anniversary of Relief Society

The sun was shining over the Holywood Road Stake Centre this weekend, where Young Women and Relief Society sisters gathered for the Belfast Stake Day of Service, commemorating 180 years of Relief Society. President Janet Mullan, along with her counsellors and others, worked diligently to bring together a variety of local charitable causes that the sisters could pool their talents and resources to support.

Sisters crocheting at the service project© 2022 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

The sisters from Northern Ireland welcomed some special guests: Sister Aburto, Sister Craig and Sister De Marco, who arrived as the activities were in full swing, greeting everyone individually as they joined the activities. The chapel was filled and buzzing with productivity and order; every station was regimented with purpose and precision.

Collections had been arranged for items ranging from nappies, deodorants, and sanitary products to a variety of children’s clothing. Sisters came prepared with sewing machines, knitting needles and fabric ready to sew, knit, sort and pack for the various causes supported throughout the day.  All had a place and purpose and were quickly underway producing and sorting items with love and attention.

The sisters were fuelled not only with love in their hearts but with an incredible variety of home-made soups and Northern Irish wheaten bread as many kind sisters had prepared their specialties.

The Homeless Period Belfast was one of the charities that the sisters and young women in Belfast work with frequently.  Donated items were sorted into packs to be distributed to those sleeping rough within the community. Some of these packs were also set aside to be sent to support the refugee efforts around those fleeing Ukraine.

Through the tragedy of her granddaughter’s battle with Cancer, Nickie Beattie spent many days at the Children’s Cancer unit of The Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children.  She saw first-hand the great work being performed by caring staff, as well as their heartbreak and anguish, as they rode the emotional rollercoaster of caring for such precious patients.  Seeing a need, the sisters decided to put together booster packs containing pampering items, treat snacks and notes of support and appreciation for both staff and children.  The aim was to bring hope and let them know how truly special and appreciated they are. 

In the reception area of the chapel, keen sewers were making bandanas while others were busy knitting beanie hats and headbands for premature babies.  They only paused when Sister Aburto of the General Relief Society Presidency visited their station, offering the sisters a warm embrace and a listening ear as she learned about the causes they were working to support.

Later, volunteers from Support Ukraine arrived, having been invited to collect donated clothing and sanitary items for refugees.  When they walked through the doors of the cultural hall, they were blown away by the magnitude of the operation.  Volunteer, Edna, said “I can’t believe this!  I had no idea this was what to expect when we were invited. We need something like this in our warehouse!” The connection with the charity had been made by several sisters from the Cavehill Ward who discovered it on Facebook and volunteered with them, sorting and packing donations bound for Poland to support orphans and others displaced by the conflict in Ukraine.  

The representatives collecting the donations were able to meet Sister Aburto and members of their local Relief Societies; they came away with a truck loaded with clothing for children, sanitary packs, baby supplies and even a bassinette.  All items had been carefully sorted and labelled for distribution.

Loading the lorry items collected at the service project© 2022 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

The Young Women were smiling and happy to join in the service and seemed especially delighted to be able to meet and chat with Sister Craig of the General Young Women Presidency.  Alana, a young woman from Bangor 1st Ward, who talked about making hats for cancer patients, said “Yesterday I met Sister Craig.  She is so kind and I got a few pictures with her. This weekend has strengthened my testimony.”

Sister Craig laughing with the young women© 2022 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

The Belfast Stake sister missionaries also had an impromptu photo opportunity when they posed for a group picture and Sister Aburto bombed it at the last minute, much to everyone’s delight!

After an uplifting and productive afternoon, the activity finally drew to a close.  Sister Craig and Sister Aburto said a few words, expressing their love and appreciation for the sisters. Sister De Marco suggested everyone sing “As Sisters in Zion”.  The spirit was present in abundance.  One sister commented, “It was wonderful to serve, but I think it has also made us all feel very loved to be remembered in our wee neck of the woods.  It made me feel that the Lord remembers us here too.”

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.