The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced dates for a public open house prior to the dedication of the new Vancouver British Columbia Temple. The public will be invited to visit the temple during an open house that will run from Friday, 9 April 2010, through Saturday, 24 April 2010 (except for Sundays). The temple will be formally dedicated on Sunday, 2 May 2010. A total of three dedicatory sessions will be held (see official invitation card).
“We have looked forward to having a temple in our area for many years and are thrilled that we can now invite our friends and neighbors to see this place that holds so much meaning to us as followers of Jesus Christ,” said Paul D. M. Christensen, president of the Abbotsford Stake (similar to a diocese) and the local temple committee coordinator.
Temples are considered "houses of the Lord" where Christ's teachings are reaffirmed through marriage, baptism and other ordinances that unite families for eternity. In the temple, Church members learn more about the purpose of life and strengthen their commitment to serve Jesus Christ and their fellow man.
It is customary for Latter-day Saints to open the doors of their temples to the public before they are dedicated. It is expected that tens of thousands of visitors will come to this temple open house to tour the temple and learn about the highest sacraments of the faith that take place there.
When the temple is formally dedicated, it will be open to members of the Church who are actively engaged in the faith — unlike the thousands of ordinary church buildings that are open to everyone for regular Sunday services, regardless of religious affiliation (see Newsroom article explaining difference between chapels and temples).
The Vancouver British Columbia Temple will serve approximately 22,000 members of the Church living in British Columbia and northern Washington state. Nearly 180,000 Church members live in Canada.
Speaking to the entire Church in October, President Thomas S. Monson said: “We continue to build temples. We desire that as many members as possible have an opportunity to attend the temple without having to travel inordinate distances. Worldwide, 83 percent of our members live within 200 miles (320 km) of a temple. That percentage will continue to increase as we construct new temples around the world.”
The Vancouver British Columbia Temple was announced by President Gordon B. Hinckley, former worldwide leader of the Church, 25 May 2006. Ground was broken for the temple’s construction on 4 August 2007. When completed it will be the 131st operating temple in the world and the seventh in Canada.
Formal temple work will commence at the Vancouver British Columbia Temple on Monday, 3 May 2010.