Cameron M. Fernandez, an attorney in Santa Maria, has been selected as the new Santa Maria Stake president for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
As stake president, Fernandez, 42, will preside over seven wards, or congregations, in Santa Maria and the Five Cities area of southern San Luis Obispo County. Church membership in this region is close to 2,800. Fernandez is a member of the Santa Maria 3rd Ward of the Church.
Called to assist Fernandez in his duties were Kenneth Dalebout, 53, of Arroyo Grande, as 1st counselor in the stake presidency; and Tim Papworth, 58, of Santa Maria, as 2nd counselor. Dalebout works as a hospital administrator for Dignity Health, and Papworth is employed as an elementary school educator.
Local leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ are not paid for their service, so the new stake presidency will continue working in their chosen careers.
Reflecting on his call to lead the church in the Santa Maria Stake, Fernandez said, “I am both honored and humbled that the Lord has given me the opportunity to serve Him and the people of this area.
“I have come to cherish my relationship with the Savior and invite all, both members of our church and all others, to join with us in worshipping God and discovering the power of the Savior’s atonement in our individual lives.”
He added that “especially today, when there is so much discord and fear in the world, it’s a great blessing to know we can turn to the Lord for peace and joy.”
Fernandez succeeds Darren Hulstine, who served as the Santa Maria stake president for the last nine years. Fernandez’s most recent church assignment was bishop of the Santa Maria 3rd Ward.
At the time of his call to the stake presidency, Dalebout was serving as a counselor to the bishop of the Arroyo Grande ward. Papworth was serving as a member of the Santa Maria Stake High Council, with oversight of the church’s missionary work in the area and a liaison to the stake’s Spanish-language congregation.
Selection of the new presidency was approved by church members at the semi-annual Santa Maria Stake conference. Visiting church officials who oversaw the change were Elder Mark A. Bragg of Salt Lake City, Utah, and Elder James E. Slaughter of Bakersfield, California.
Fernandez, a native of Southern California, has lived in Santa Maria for 18 years. He and his wife Rachael have five children.
Dalebout was raised in Southern California and moved to the Central Coast eight years ago. He is married to Angela Dalebout; they have four children. Papworth and his wife Lara have lived in Santa Maria for 30 years. They have four sons.