News Release

New Website Promotes Church History Virtual Tours in the UK and Ireland

Gadfield Elm Chapel
Gadfield Elm Chapel
Gadfield Elm Chapel© 2023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

One of the beneficial results that grew out of the Covid-19 pandemic is a new webpage devoted to sharing the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the UK and Ireland

It started in 2020 when Regional Church History Specialist, Arnold Jones, began searching for a way to continue to bring guests to the Gadfield Elm chapel in Worcestershire, England. Since people were no longer travelling, the doors of this iconic historic site remained closed. But people could still learn from their homes and view compelling online content. He and the UK/Ireland History Council of the Church thought a Virtual Tour of this site might just be what they needed. Several attempts were made as the project was difficult to get off the ground.

As borders reopened, new missionaries began arriving.  One fulltime volunteer missionary couple, Elder Martin Andersen and Sister Eva Andersen were tasked with managing the Records Preservation Centre (RPC) in Sutton Coldfield.  This couple also came with a filmmaking background, so they were assigned to create the Gadfield Elm Virtual Tour. By this time, Michael Rigby had been assigned as Arnold Jones’ successor in the Church History Specialist role, and he reiterated the need for the Gadfield Elm Virtual Tour.

In November 2022, Elder and Sister Andersen assembled volunteers from the Cheltenham Stake (diocese), used costumes from the Church’ British Pageant production, and filled the Gadfield Elm chapel with guests in period costume and appropriate hairstyling and makeup for the period. The Gadfield Elm Virtual Tour thereby became a reality.

Encouraged by the result, they moved forward with several additional Virtual Tours. Elder Andersen said, “Knowing of the many significant Church history sites in the UK and Ireland, it seemed a shame to not feature them in similar Virtual Tours.”

In May they filmed the story of the Herefordshire Beacon Conference atop the Malvern Hills that teaches the importance of the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. In June they filmed a Virtual Tour to promote the history of the Church in Ireland, including both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. They next filmed a Virtual Tour telling the history of the English Bible. “The Bible is as important to our faith as it is to any other Christian denomination,” Elder Andersen said. “Let’s teach people of our love for it and thank those who sacrificed so much to make its words available.”  For this Virtual Tour, they filmed around Oxford, Coventry and Lutterworth where John Wycliffe preached.   

In July they filmed the Virtual Tour of the dramatic missionary events surrounding Preston and Downham. They then filmed a Virtual Tour of Liverpool including information on Manchester and the Isle of Man and followed that with one filmed in Scotland to tell the story of the Church there. They finished the month with a Virtual Tour of Wales, which includes a powerful witness of faith by Dan Jones, an early missionary, sharing his love for the martyred Prophet, Joseph Smith.

The eight Virtual Tours are each linked via a single website. For additional browsing, they have also created six additional sites that highlight information about other historic locations such as London’s Hyde Park Chapel, the role Birmingham and London played in UK history, and of the special village of Downham which was a favourite of Church pioneers Heber C Kimball and Joseph Fielding. Included too are links to tours and information on the London England Temple and the Preston England Temple. A page is included with current images of commemorative plaques at several other significant historical sites.

Perhaps the most outstanding aspect of these professionally filmed Virtual Tour presentations is that each features narration from a variety of young adults, who share their spiritual convictions and invite others to discover the gospel truths that have enriched their lives.


More UK and Ireland Church History articles can be found here:

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