Each Sunday, the parking lots are packed full at three different meetinghouses of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the greater Des Moines area: the Evergreen Ward of Des Moines, the Beaver Creek Ward of West Des Moines, and the Waukee Ward of Waukee. Sunday morning is when these wards come to their meetinghouses not only to worship but also to study, learn, and fellowship.
Each service begins with a song and a prayer. During the first hour of service everybody worships together and takes part in the sacrament, which involves eating holy bread and drinking holy water. After the first hour of service, the members of the community split up into groups by gender, each of which discusses how they can become closer to God. During the last hour of Sunday service, the members of the community split up again, this time by age, to discuss how scripture applies to their particular ages and contexts. The three-hour Sunday service then concludes with a closing prayer and another song.
Although the Waukee Ward has only been open for a few years, it is already bustling with members and is still continuing to grow. The meetinghouse is large, with abundant rooms for the Ward’s various youth groups, adult gatherings, and other sessions held each Sunday and throughout the week. On Sunday, each of three congregations in the Ward will spend three hours in the meetinghouse (staggered from one another), first, attending a church service for one hour, then, participating in small-group learning according to age and gender for the next two hours. Continual learning regardless of age or title are of key importance to each and every ward.
Although continual learning is a major component of each ward, family is at the heart of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For every home, there is an evening meal, prayer, and a scripture lesson from the Book of Mormon and the Bible. Members of the Church do not get caught up in private belief systems, but focus on the faith of the family.
Early each weekday morning at the Waukee Ward, there are roughly 50 high school students who attend a “seminary,” where they learn and talk about their faith and assist one another with their struggles. After these students graduate high-school, they will have the opportunity to spend up to two years serving the Church as a missionary.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has no one permanent leader during services, although there are levels of priesthood that any member of the community may attain if called upon by the president of each stake (district).
By Molly Johannsen and Gaby Wagler
Places of Worship in the Des Moines metro region
- Beaver Creek Ward: 3301 Ashworth Rd, West Des Moines
- Telephone: (515) 987-1039
- Evergreen Ward: 2101 Evergreen Ave, Des Moines
- Waukee Ward: 400 SE Pleasant View Dr, Waukee
Meetings at the Waukee Ward
- Sunday services are staggered throughout the day for the three congregations that meet in the ward’s meetinghouse. Typically, one begins at 9am and runs until noon; the second begins at 11am and runs until 2pm; and the third begins at 1pm and runs until 4pm.
- Morning seminaries for high school students are held at 6am Monday through Friday
- Youth group gatherings for young men and young women are held at the ward’s meetinghouse or at family households each Wednesday night at 7:30pm
- Stake gatherings are held every 6 months at the Beavercreek Ward in West Des Moines
Contact Information for the Waukee Ward
- Susan Sims: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Hillary Nielsen: email@example.com
- Church number: 515.987.1039
- No alcohol
- No caffeine
- No swearing
- Dress modestly