News Release

Sydney Couple to Oversee Service Mission Leaders Throughout Oceania


Sydney couple Elder and Sister Terence and Kay Vinson have accepted the call to serve as Area Service Mission Specialists in the Pacific Area to work with leaders of young service missionaries.  

This volunteer opportunity will include supporting all Service Mission Leaders from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Australia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and the island nations and territories of the South Pacific.  

Elder Terence M. Vinson is an emeritus General Authority Seventy and is the first man from the Pacific Area to serve in the Presidency of the Seventy. Over the years, he and Sister Vinson have served in West Africa, the United States and the Pacific in leadership assignments in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The Vinsons will facilitate the vital link between local Service Mission Leaders, Latter-day Saint mission presidents, stake presidents, service missionary candidates, young service missionaries, parents, community and charitable partners, temple presidencies, and Church operations in finding service opportunities uniquely suited to these missionaries.

Born in Sydney on 12 March 1951, Terence Michael Vinson married Kay Anne Carden in May 1974. They are the parents of six children.  

The two met while working at a local McDonald’s when they were young university students. Kay introduced her future husband to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and he had the opportunity to be taught by several sets of missionaries. Feeling that he needed to be totally convinced intellectually, he had many questions.  

As he was sitting in a Church meeting one day, Elder Vinson said he felt a clear message from the Holy Ghost saying that all his questions had answers, but it was not important for him to know them all right then. His studying and pondering led to the personal revelation he needed to be baptized. Eventually, all his questions were answered as he continued to study the scriptures. He acknowledges, however, that even more important than knowledge are relationships with God and others.

The Vinsons have served in many positions over the years. Elder Vinson has served twice as bishop, three times as counselor in a stake presidency, as regional representative, counselor in a mission presidency, temple ordinance worker, temple sealer, Area Seventy, and early-morning Seminary teacher. After being sustained as a General Authority Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 6, 2013, he served for five years in the Africa West Area Presidency, the final two years as Area President. Elder Vinson was named a member of the Presidency of the Seventy in 2018 with supervisory responsibilities in Africa and North America. He was given emeritus status on 1 August 2021.

Elder and Sister Marcus Nash, Elder and Sister Terence Vinson, and Elder and Sister Larry Katcher (former Africa West Area Presidency) at a cultural performance to celebrate the creation of the 100th stake in West Africa© 2024 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Sister Vinson has served in all the Church auxiliaries and loved aspects of each one—Young Women’s, Relief Society, Sunday School and early morning Seminary—as a teacher and in presidencies. She graduated with a teaching degree and has always enjoyed the opportunity to teach in the Church.

“My favourite calling,” she says, “has been beside my husband as he served in the Area Presidency in Africa West. All previous callings provided me with the skills and experiences to be called on with little notice, to speak to congregations. They were great testimony building opportunities.”

The Vinsons greeting YSAs with Elder Christofferson in West Africa© 2024 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

With a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and statistics from Sydney University and a master’s degree in applied finance in 1996 from Macquarie University, Elder Vinson’s career involved teaching high school and university mathematics, followed by 23 years as a financial adviser and funds manager. He retired in 2011 as joint CEO and chairperson of a business he began, called Northhaven Wealth Management, and continued to consult for that firm until he was called as a General Authority Seventy.

Elder Vinson says, “Missions have two purposes: to provide each missionary with experiences with the Spirit, and to help others to come closer to Christ. Those who are called to teaching missions and those called to service missions grow equally and bless lives similarly. The Lord has opened this vision to the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in recent years and His wisdom in this aspect of the work has become apparent to us all.”

“We have been blessed ourselves to personally witness the growth and strength that service missionaries receive through their missions,” he continues. “And we are seeing a continuing increase in the numbers of missionaries, both teaching and service. The Lord’s hand is clearly in this work.”


In setting the record straight, Elder Vinson emphasizes, “All missions are an acknowledgement to the Saviour of our commitment to Him. Unfortunately, there are some, often beyond the years of youth, who view service missions as somehow of less value than teaching missions. They are wrong. A mission is a mission is a mission! We should all understand that truth.  


“With the integration of young service missionaries into all missions and their serving under the keys of their mission president, we are seeing increasing opportunities for these young service missionaries to accompany the teaching missionaries more regularly and assist them in their section of the work. They also attend zone conferences and district meetings with all missionaries in their mission.”  


The Vinsons with one of their service missionaries at the Sydney Temple.© 2024 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Of their most recent calling, Sister Vinson says, “We have loved being service missionary leaders for the young service missionaries in New South Wales. These fine young people are giving great service in many ways. We’ve seen wonderful individual growth in testimony, skills and courage. We hope to see the programme expand throughout the Pacific Area.”


Sister Vinson approaches this new assignment with a mix of excited and sad feelings.  


“Sad,” she admits, “because we will be handing our wonderful young service missionaries over to whomever is called to take our place. These past 12 months we have come to know and love them as we have seen them serve and grow in confidence. We will miss them.”


“At the same time,” she continues, there is an excitement to see what we can do in this brand-new assignment. We are looking forward to promoting this very important work of service missionaries for those who are unable to serve a teaching mission. We hope to see a gradual and significant increase in the number of service missionaries in the Pacific Area, who are serving as the Saviour did with heart and hands.”


Elder Vinson concludes, “Our responsibility is to train, mentor and provide support to all Service Mission Leaders (SML) in the Pacific Area. We will counsel regularly with the Area Presidency and the Missionary Department at Church Headquarters and want to ensure that every SML has a joyful, productive, and meaningful experience in their role. Most of the missions in the Pacific already have a SML couple serving and we expect there will be a SML couple called to every mission in the next months.”


With trust in the Lord, the Vinsons look forward with joy as they begin to carry out their new responsibilities and demonstrate love and care for service missionaries through day-to-day supervision and support.

Elder Vinson being greeted by President Nelson after the 2018 First Presidency Christmas Devotional (President Oaks and Elder Stevenson in the background)© 2024 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.


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