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!