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What It's Like to Attend Church on Tiny Catalina Island

Every Sunday morning for the last two years, Elder Robert Thomas and his wife, Sister Carol Thomas, have caught a boat from their home in Long Beach, California, to Catalina Island at 10 a.m. At 11:30 a.m., they set up the chairs and tables required for a sacrament meeting in an upstairs conference room in the U.S. Bank in Avalon. They bring their own bottled water since the building has no drinking fountains. They also bring a couple slices of bread — more than enough for the typical attendance of seven or eight people, including themselves.

The few members who live on Catalina Island are part of the Catalina group of the Long Beach 1st Ward, Long Beach California Stake. They come from a variety of walks of life. One sister is a high school P.E. teacher; another sister is a mother of three boys and runs a health spa; a young couple with a new baby run a scuba shop and drive nearly an hour and a half to come to church; a mother of three recently moved to the island from Hawaii, bringing the total adult attendance to five.

“All of our five adult island members participate in our meetings every week in giving prayers, teaching lessons and speaking in sacrament meeting,” said Sister Thomas.

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