News Story

LDS Church Recognizes Community Leaders for Their Commitment to Family

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints honored a Catholic archbishop for his work to protect traditional marriage and an adoption agency for their efforts to help abused, neglected and abandoned children.

Archbishop Charles Chaput of the Catholic Archdiocese of Denver and The Adoption Exchange received the 2007 Colorado Family Values Award at a ceremony earlier this week.

The Family Values Award, which originated in 1991 and was inspired by the renewed emphasis on family issues in the United States, acknowledges community leaders who are "striving to advance standards and values that are consistent with the Church position on the family."

Elder Steven E. Snow, a Church leader from Salt Lake City, presented the awards to the Colorado recipients and expressed gratitude for "their voices of counsel and warning and for their courage to protect and secure families."

Archbishop Chaput, in accepting the award, noted: "This award is important to me and to the community because the family is important. It is the foundation stone of society. The stronger a nation's family life, the stronger a nation's public life."

In June 2007 the archbishop launched the Denver "For Your Marriage" campaign in an effort to "help couples deepen and preserve their marriages whether they are Catholic or not."

"Catholics and Mormons have the same concerns and similar values rooted in our belief of a loving God. It makes sense to work together and support each other whenever we can, and the Catholics warmly welcome that," said Archbishop Chaput.

Also honored was The Adoption Exchange. Founded in 1983 by child advocates and social workers, the agency works to find families for abused, neglected and abandoned children placed in foster care. Their commitment extends beyond just placing children in homes - to working with families throughout the entire adoption process.

"It's all about family!" noted Dixie van de Flier Davis, president and executive director of The Adoption Exchange, in receipt of the award. "Someone to believe in, to love you, discipline you, keep you safe and coach you to success. The LDS Church and The Adoption Exchange share a commitment to families."

Members of the LDS Church have presented the Family Values Award both internationally and in the United States. Recent awards were given in California and Australia.

Mormons in California honored John Zickefoose and Kathy Azevado. Zickefoose is the founder of United Neighbors Involving Today's Youth - a nonprofit organization that gets young people involved in positive activities. He is also on the Corona-Norco YMCA Alternative to Domestic Violence board a group that helps battered women. Azevado serves on the board of directors for the Foundation of Community and Family Health, as well as the local American Cancer Society.

In Australia, Sue Gordon and Gerard and Madeline Gorian were acknowledged for their work in the Western Australian community. Gordon is the Chairperson of the Prime Minister's National Indigenous Council and is a magistrate in the Perth Children's Court. The Gorians, originally from France, are members of the Reform Church and advocate that all laws should be measured for the impact they can have on the family. Mr. Gorian is the Western Australia state director of the Christian Democratic Party, with his wife serving as the party secretary.

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