Preston was the place that the church was officially established on British soil in 1837 & where this year (2011) a huge 400th Bible Anniversary Celebration is to take place which includes a 400-voice choir!
Elder Heber C. Kimball and Orson Hyde went on the first England Mission and served from JULY 1837- APRIL 1838. When they arrived in Preston it was election day. Her Majesty, Queen Victoria, had ordered a general election for members of Parliament. As they exited the coach they saw a flag flying that had on it the following motto: ‘TRUTH WILL PREVAIL.’ They decided to take make this the theme of their mission.
On July 30, 1837 (Sunday), in the River Ribble, nine souls were initiated into the kingdom of God. They were the first fruits of the Gospel in a foreign land. Starting out with only 9 members, Preston caught on fire and the gospel continued to spread, igniting city after city. The Preston Ward holds the honor of being the oldest continuously functioning LDS Church unit in the world.
In 1840, all the Apostles where called to serve as a quorum on a second mission to England. During that time, they held several council meetings in Preston of which they set apart Willard Richards as an Apostle, agreed to choose and ordain a patriarch (Peter Melling, a native of Preston), made important decisions regarding Church publications, and discussed in some detail the all-important subject of emigration.
For more information visit our England Tour Page. Learn about the 400th Anniversary Bible Translation Commemoration!