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Monday, December 14, 2009

Changes in Relief Society Enrichment Meeting

The Stake Relief Society Presidency wants to remind you of this information and we ask that you review and discuss it in your presidency and Relief Society meetings.

In the 2009 General Relief Society Meeting, Sister Beck, Relief Society General President, outlined some changes in the Relief Society Enrichment Meeting. She emphasized that Relief Society is a “faith-based work.” She reiterated the purpose of Relief Society to prepare women for the blessings of eternal life by helping them:

1. Increase their faith and personal righteousness.
2. Strengthen their families and homes.
3. Serve the Lord and His children.

These things haven’t changed and should always be our focus in planning any Relief Society meetings. Sister Beck encouraged us to “show respect for the Lord and the sisters” by using “Relief Society time in an inspired way.”

To watch a brief clip of Sister Beck’s talk, in which she announces the changes to Enrichment Meeting, click here.

For the complete text of her talk, click here.

I would like to highlight a few important changes:
  • Enrichment Meeting and Midweek Activities will now simply be called Relief Society meetings. In addition, they can simply be called what they are: Relief Society service project, Relief Society craft day, Relief Society health seminar, etc.
  • These meetings can be an extension of principles taught in Sunday meetings. They can be a powerful forum to bless sisters lives based on needs made apparent during Sunday meetings.
  • Always seek the spirit in prayer and counsel with your bishop when planning meetings.
  • Frequency:
    Relief Society meetings are generally held monthly but can be held more often or less frequently.
    Efforts should be made to meet at least quarterly.
    One meeting may commemorate the founding of the Relief Society and focus on its history and purpose.
  • One member of the ward Relief Society presidency should be in attendance at every meeting!
The Church’s website has a very helpful page dedicated to these changes. It includes the short video clip I mentioned above from Sister Beck’s talk along with concise, well-organized information and ideas on Relief Society meetings. Click on this link to go to that page.

There have been questions about what the “Enrichment Counselor” should be called and what the “Enrichment Leader” should now be called. There is a new section in the Relief Society Frequently Asked Questions on the Church’s web site regarding this.

Relief Society Meetings
  • What do we call the counselor who is responsible for additional Relief Society meetings?
    We encourage you to follow the pattern of the priesthood and call the counselors “first counselor” and “second counselor.” The Relief Society president can assess the work of Relief Society and delegate assignments and responsibilities to each counselor as needed.
  • What do we call the sister who coordinates Relief Society meetings that are held during the week?
    The Relief Society president may recommend that a sister in the ward be called to serve as the Relief Society meeting coordinator to help the presidency carry out these meetings. If a sister has been serving as the home, family, and personal enrichment leader, her title is now Relief Society meeting coordinator.
  • What do we call Relief Society meetings that are not held on Sunday?
    Individual Relief Society meetings that are held during the week can be called whatever they are, for example, Relief Society meetings, classes, projects, conferences, or workshops.

    Examples of how Relief Society meetings can be announced: "This Thursday we will have a Relief Society meeting at 7:00 p.m. Our meeting this month will include a variety of classes to help us improve homemaking skills." Or, "We will have a Relief Society workshop this next month about how to be better parents." Or, "On Saturday we will have a Relief Society conference." Or, "We will have a Relief Society service project this coming month."

There was also a very informative article in the Church News, in which Sister Beck was interviewed. That article can be seen here. A couple of things really impressed me from that article:
  • If we don’t teach the mothers, there is no place our mothers can go to learn their responsibilities. If we don’t teach the young single adults what their contribution can be in the kingdom and we don’t organize that, there is no place they can go to get it in the world. If we don’t organize the women to do the work the Lord wants them to do, then no one else in the world will do it.
  • We don’t know who is being hit in these economic times. Relief Society should not be asking sisters to do anything, to pay anything, that could be exclusive because they don’t have the money to do it. This includes asking women in a ward to eat out at a restaurant for a lunch or dinner group or to pay for other things completed at a Relief Society meeting. It doesn’t mean you can’t go out to lunch with your friends anymore, but that is not a Relief Society activity.
I would ask that you carefully and prayerfully consider the purpose of each Relief Society meeting in your ward. Is it being called a Relief Society meeting because you want to fill a certain “quota” of meetings or is it really fulfilling the purpose of Relief Society? Let me tell you there is no quota. Meetings should be carefully planned to meet the needs of your ward, and you must consider also the emphasis that Sister Beck put on having one member of the Relief Society presidency attend each meeting. Relief Society meetings are not clubs and are not simply for socializing (though that is an important part of Relief Society!). I recently heard of a ward in another state where a young sister was told that she shouldn’t attend the Relief Society book group, as the members of that group weren’t really interested in adding any new members. Please, please, please do not allow this appalling situation to happen in our stake! You must be vigilant, you must be totally aware of what is going on in all Relief Society meetings.

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