1982—Boston Stake Clerk
…previous Church assignment: Counselor to Mission President Bruce L Olsen
By this time, Gordon Williams was our stake president, and he was kind enough to say that this painful transition, with its associated tears on my part, was largely his fault, ’cause he wanted me to become his Stake Clerk. A position which I accepted with pleasure and enjoyed hugely through the rest of Gordon’s presidency. And when he was released in 1986w to become Regional Representative of the Twelve (as I think they still called it), his successor, Mitt Romney, retained me as his clerk until 1987, when Gordon called me to work with him as Regional Executive Secretary.

Gordon has always operated with a cast of thousands, so to speak. Sunday afternoon Stake Presidency meetings, usually in the Williams’ living room, normally included not only the President and his two counselors but also the Clerk (me), the Executive Secretary, and the chairmen of the Melchizedek and Aaronic Priesthood Committees of the High Council. During my tenure as Clerk, the group came at various times to include John Wright, Bill Ence, Lloyd Baird, Kim Clark, Mitt Romney, Tony Kimball, and others whom I’m omitting inexcusably by momentary default of memory. All friends, yokefellows, and brethren who taught me a great deal.

Bill (Don William) Ence, in particular, a former pioneering bishop in Worcester, was always a distinguished and enthusiastic leader of youth. Nobody ever doubted his affection for, nor his commitment to, the young folks, and they reciprocated his regard fully. One Sunday afternoon, we had to be amused when Gordon’s daughter Brenya, then eight years old or so, brought in a plate of DeeDee’s chocolate chip cookies for the Council, and Bill practically melted into a puddle on the floor at the sight of her double-copper-color-ponytails, pink cheeks and bright smile. Funny what we remember, out of those solemn occasions.

As the Boston Stake grew, the President and his council had to develop the people and organizations to respond to their needs. The Cambridge Ward, created back in 1963, soon became the Cambridge First and Second Wards, Weston divided in two, and Weston Second became Marlborough. At one point, as I recall, the old Cambridge Chapel housed two Cambridge Wards, a Spanish-language branch and another for speakers of Mandarin Chinese, as well as the Mission offices.

When the Belmont chapel was built, a major reorganization was clearly in order, and our Sunday-afternoon councils prayed and debated at length over its complexities. As clerk, I had to draft maps and lists for successive configurations which eventually crystallized into a wonderful array of opportunities and conundrums. I despair of rendering a satisfactory account of the miracles that ended us up with what I still only semi-jokingly call the “One True” Arlington Ward. Nobody could ever be mad at Bob Chandler, its first bishop, and his spiritual sweetness prevailed over the hard feelings, for example, of some Lexington people at being ripped suddenly from their prestigious pews in prosperous Weston and assigned to worship in the same congregation with others from working-class Waltham. Pieces of the old Cambridge, Weston, and Lynnfield units morphed into A, B, C: Arlington, Belmont, and Cambridge.
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