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Provo Adventists observe 100th

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To stay in one place for 100 years is commendable. But for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Provo, this month's centennial celebration is a landmark occasion.

The congregation of just over 100 members has played a unique role in the history of the community. They intend to keep serving in a variety of ways as they expand their membership.Festivities last weekend to mark their centennial in Provo included the announcement of a new "company" of Spanish speaking members. Declaring a company is a precursor to establishing an official congregation. More than 30 Hispanic members meet every Sabbath (Saturday) at the local church with the services of traveling pastor Gustavo Orasco, and preacher Agusto Borba.

"The Spanish congregation is a real success story," said Pastor Dan Martella. The congregation began forming a little more than three years ago with a number of immigrants, and particularly with a family that came from Argentina. Their goal is to shortly become an independent congregation of the church and a member of the Ne-va-da/Utah Conference.

Likewise, the first group of Adventists in Provo numbered less than twenty. With-in two years the group grew to more than 45 members. And although the congregation has never numbered more than 150, it has continued to attract a steady group of faithful members.

"It's amazing how the church grew," Pastor Martella said. He said the centennial celebration has provided a homecoming for the numerous members who have moved to other areas of the country. It has also given members the opportunity to celebrate with the community and allowed the congregation to "praise God for the blessing of being in the valley 100 years."

Conference President Larry Moore visited local Adventist members during the celebration and addressed the congregation with a sermon entitled the "Highway to Eternity."

President Moore is directly responsible for 38 congregations in the Nevada/Utah area. "We try to be good citizens, our goal is community service," he said. The Seventh-day Adventists are known for their medical and education ministries, for their strict code of health, and for worshiping on the Sabbath or Saturday, the seventh day.

Dignitaries joined the celebration service including representatives from the governor's office, the Utah County Commission, Provo City and Brigham Young University.

Provo Mayor George Stewart offered his congratulations by sharing insights into his relationship with the Seventh-day Adventists. "My sister in-law is a Seventh-day Adventist. I have always appreciated the Adventists."

Stewart said when he was serving as an LDS missionary in Peru, he became very ill with typhoid fever. It was the staff at an Adventist hospital that nursed him back to health. Ron Clark, director of hosting at Brigham Young University, said the Adventists "are one of the longest enduring and endearing churches in our valley.

As part of the celebration, leaders announced a three-year major expansion and building program to enlarge the current facilities that also house the Seventh-day Adventist School.