Monday, March 12, 2007

Mormon Fun

This Sunday the Stake announced a special meeting for all members of the stake to discuss a change in ward boundries. For all you non LDS-ers, Mormon congregations are divided into "wards" with about 300 or so people who meet together on Sundays and for youth groups and all that stuff. Each ward has a Bishop who leads the ward and other leaders to guide the members. A ward has geographic boundries, so your ward is assigned to you based on where you live. You are discourged to go to a ward that isn't your own, or to choose your own bishop based on hurt feelings or friendships. A Stake is a group of wards, lead by a Stake President who provides leadership to Bishops and members in an area.

There was a bit of a buzz at church about what the change would be. So we went to the meeting last night, and the Stake President read a letter from President Hinckley giving the stake permission to re-align ward boundries. Our stake will now have one new ward, and the other wards in the stake gained or lost members to make room for the new ward.

The Stake President said that some wards had more than 600 members, and some wards had less than 300 members, but reguardless, all the wards have had about the same attendance on Sundays. This change will give each ward in the stake an average of 400 members, and will give more opportunities for leadership, and encourage wards to reach out to those who are not attending to come again to serve together.

Our family stays in our same ward, with our same Bishop. In our ward, we lost members, and no new neighborhoods were added into our boundries. A big chunck of housing on base that was in our ward is now in a different ward, and other members out in town were affected, too. We will be losing a counselor in the Bishopric, a counselor in the RS presidency, the YW president and one of her counselors, and more... It is kind of exciting and scary, too.

One thing we have loved about this ward, is that it hasn't seemed as stressed for members to serve. I have a feeling that will be changing, now. An LDS congregation does not have a paid ministry, so all activities and classes and support come from the members of the ward and the service that they give, so with fewer active members it will be tricky to make sure that all positions are filled and funtioning.

One thing that I think is good about the change, is that the new ward takes part of the military members from the base. Now the military members in our area are spread over 3 wards. Military members here need a lot of support with the heavy deployment cycle. Husbands are gone (often for a year at a time) and cannot serve in the ward, and wives at home with their children often have more needs than usual. Also, military members come and go quickly. We are willing to serve, but we won't be here forever, and that affects how the ward works, too.

Interesting stuff. I hope your Sunday was a little less eventful!


Mary said...

Big changes! I love how well laid out the planning is at the stake and ward level.

Our ward is tiny compared to those you are talking about. I believe we have like 100-150 that attend regularly. But, last year, our ward was moved from a very strong stake with big wards like you mentioned, into a stake with wards closer to D.C. that are even smaller in attendance than ours. Wards with primary presidencies that have only 2 people in them, etc. So, evidently, ours is one of the bigger wards.

However, in this past year, something like 10 or so families moved out of our ward for jobs or to buy houses and they weren't replaced by very many new families moving in. Almost all of those couples held leadership callings (the entire Young Women's presidency moved, a member of the bishoprick, some of the Young Men's leaders, etc.) So now our ward is stretched for finding people to serve too. It is very interesting!

Sorry about my novel!

Elizabeth-W said...

I spent my teenage years in a town in New Mexico that had an Air Force base nearby, Holloman--a big F15 training base (14? 13? something like that-it's been 20 years). There were two wards in the town, and i was in the one with the military base. It was so fun because there was constant turnover. We met so many people who had lived in Turkey, the Azores, Germany, and on and on. This was throughout the 80s so not much was going on. I can only imagine how a military ward would change during times like these. It gives people lots of opportunities to truly be a ward 'family', I'd imagine.

nikko said...

Yup. Our Sunday was a lot less eventful. Ward changes are always exciting and scarey. Good luck with whatever the future may hold!

Laurie said...

Hi Wendy! Just caught up with the blogs. I LOVED the "mom my ride" video. Too true!

Thoroughly Mormon Millie said...

We had a ward boundary change back in 2002 that still affects some people. :) It's amazing how emotionally tied you can get to a certain group of people - take some out, put new ones in, and the dynamics change completely. Our bishop has been serving for almost five years so I imagine we're due for some kind of mini-shakeup soon. Good luck!