Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Birthday Celebration ideas...

Sisters - there are many websites out there containing ideas for Relief Society meetings - formerly "Enrichment".  We are not suggesting you use any of these - we are including them simply as a vehicle to "prime your pump" for ideas.   Each of our wards is unique - it's not necessary to use a "cookie cutter" approach to planning meetings.  

Elder Uchtdorf's talk entitled "Happiness, Your Heritage" in 2008 includes a statement to keep in mind as we plan meaningful, uplifting Relief Society Meetings...  (for his talk in it's entirety - click HERE)

"The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul. No matter our talents, education, backgrounds, or abilities, we each have an inherent wish to create something that did not exist before".

We wish you success as you plan meetings that are as unique as your ward!

Included below are a few ideas found on the LDS Living website...

Relief Society Birthday
by Kate Ensign-Lewis

On March 17th, the Relief Society celebrates its 166th birthday, making it one of the world’s oldest women’s organizations. It is also the world’s largest women’s organization, with five and a half million sisters in 170 countries. If you’re planning a Relief Society celebration in your ward or branch, we’re got some great ideas to help strengthen testimonies as well as strengthen bonds between Relief Society sisters.

A Night of Relief Society History

Relief Society Jeopardy
Teach your sisters more about the mission of Relief Society by reviewing its roots. A fun way to teach the sisters the history of the organization is to play Relief Society Jeopardy. Depending on how competitive your sisters are, divide the group into teams, or allow sisters to yell out their answers freely. Create questions that bear some significance to Relief Society––questions concerning scriptures that are significant to Relief Society, hymns that have significant Relief Society history, trivia about Relief Society leaders, or other general trivia. Use this game in conjunction with a dinner and message about the growing mission of Relief Society through time.
Video of the General Relief Society Meeting of 2005
Another way to highlight Relief Society history is to share the video that was shown during the General Relief Society Meeting of 2005. This video beautifully explains the reason for organizing the Relief Society and the power behind the organization. After watching the video, invite a priesthood leader to share some statements Joseph Smith made about the purpose and potential of the Relief Society. Gather some statements from the brethren in the ward on how the Relief Society contributes to the purposes of the gospel. Share them and lead a discussion exploring what the sisters can do to help the Relief Society live up to this great potential.

Service Projects

Service projects are not just for the ward’s youth. After all, the Relief Society’s motto is “Charity Never Faileth,” and what better way can you celebrate the anniversary of its organization than by answering its call to serve?
Habitat for Humanity
One of the best-known service organizations specializing in large service projects is Habitat for Humanity, an organization that builds homes for families in need. Habitat for Humanity even has a specialized program for girls and women, called Women Build. With this specialized program, crews of women and girls build the homes, so you can even involve the ward’s Young Women in the celebration event. If you would rather not call on the women of your ward to put in labor alone, involve the entire ward in a Relief-Society–sponsored Habitat for Humanity project, and everyone can participate in the legacy of Relief Society. Go to to find other specialized programs, local affiliates, and service opportunities.
Deseret Industries Projects
You can also find ideas for individual service projects from a local Deseret Industries; each DI should have an office dedicated to humanitarian aid. In these offices, you can find examples of needed items, like knitted bandages for lepers, home-made picture books for children around the world, and colorful wall hangings to give visual stimulation to children in orphanages. You can also schedule evenings for sisters to come in and work on on-site projects, such as assembling school kits.
Church Humanitarian Aid
The Church’s website has several ideas for service under Humanitarian Service and the “How Can I help?” link. Ideas include smaller and larger projects.
After the big event, or on the day you have set for sisters to turn in their contributions, have a luncheon, followed by birthday cake, and share your experiences of the event. Combining your ward’s birthday celebration with a special service event truly is a wonderful opportunity to illustrate the mission of the Relief Society.

Themed Birthday Parties and Programs

The Relief Society Birthday celebration can also be just that: a party. But include in your celebration more than birthday cakes; create a theme that inspires discussion and reflection. Here are some thoughts:
Months of the year
Celebrate the birthdays of your sisters. Decorate each table with a centerpiece that represents a certain month of the year. Ask sisters to sit at the table that represents the month they were born in. Serve dinner and have a speaker deliver a message on how to remember the Relief Society mission all year long by serving the sisters around us. This gives sisters a great opportunity to learn more about sisters they don’t normally spend time with; it can also be a good occasion to discuss the blessings of visiting teaching.
Of Royal Birth
Emphasize the value of each Relief Society sister by organizing a program that reminds them of their royal heritage as daughters of God. Remind them of their divine purpose as members of Relief Society, as women, and as individuals. Ask a leader or sister to speak on divine purpose, or organize a skit that highlights milestones of life and the guidance Heavenly Father promises. You might even include daughters as part of the program. You can find an already-compiled program at—complete with script and music to use.
Celebrate Femininity and Nurturing
Brainstorm topics for four classes, two on femininity and two on nurturing. On a Sunday leading up to the celebration, ask the sisters to sign up for two classes; schedule the classes in such a way that the sisters attend one class on each subject. Possible class subjects for nurturing classes include: first aid/CPR training or building relationships with friends and family. Possible topics for femininity classes are: creating time for self-improvement (physical, educational, etc.) or a basic art class (drawing, watercolor, or sculpture). Make these classes twenty minutes each, and then come back together for dinner. This makes for roughly a two-hour evening.
A Worldwide Sisterhood
Plan a potluck dinner where everyone brings an international dish or family recipe to share. Decorate each table with flags and souvenirs from different countries. For the program, organize a gala where people from different countries perform traditional ceremonies or tell folk tales from that country. After dinner and the program, ask the Relief Society president or bishop to address the sisters on how our differences bless our lives and further the work of the Relief Society. Break a piƱata filled with handouts at the end!
Remember, we celebrate the organization of the Relief Society to remind the sisters of the divine mission of the Relief Society, and to remind them of the divine mission of each sister. Whether you use these suggestions or not, be sure that each sister leaves your celebration with a renewed sense of purpose as a sister in this inspired organization and as a daughter of God.

Relief Society Quiz - fun icebreaker idea for RS Birthday...

It's nice to have an activity for your sisters to work on together as they begin to gather at an event.  This is a quiz that may be fun to have on the tables as sisters sit down for the evening.

*Forgive the crazy "formatting"  - as it was taken off another RS blog/website and I couldn't adjust it...  The questions are in bold italic, and the answers are in bold (no italic).

(I have this saved as a word document as well as a PDF - please leave a comment, or send me an email and I'll send it to you so you can adjust it to what you need...)

1.  What was the first auxillary organization in the Church?
Priesthood    Relief Society
2.  What is the Relief Society Motto?
Home, Family & Personal Enrichment   Charity Never Faileth    Cleanliness is Next to Godliness
3.  Who was the longest serving General RS President?
Belle S. Spafford  Eliza R. Snow  Emma Smith
4.  The Relief Society is the oldest and largest women’s organization in the world.  What date was it officially organized?
Mar 20, 1832   Mar 17, 1840  Mar 17, 1842  Mar 20, 1842
5.  Who was the first General Relief Society President?
Emma Smith   Barbara B. Smith   Eliza R. Snow
6.  The RS was organized under the direction of which President of the Church?
Joseph Smith  Brigham Young  Wilford Woodruff
7.  Who was the General RS President in the Susquicentennial Year?
Amy Brown Lyman    Barbara B. Smith    Elaine L. Jack
8.  Who was the General RS President during the centennial celebration in 1942?
Amy Brown Lyman    Belle Spafford    Barbara B. Smith
9.  During the drought of 1879 the RS made an interest free loan to the church.  What was it they loaned interest free?
$20,000 cash    Garden seed for the next spring’s planting   30,000 bushels of wheat
10.  During World War 1 (1917-1919) the Red Cross had an approximate membership of 50,000 women in the US.  Of that number, approximately how many were also members of the RS?
35,000    42,000    47,000
11.  Who is the current General RS President?
Julie B. Beck    Amy Brown Lyman    Bonnie D. Parkin
12.  How many hymns did Eliza R. Snow write in the current hymn book?
10     12     14
13.  Select three of the hymns written by Eliza R. Snow.
How Great the Wisdom and the Love; Truth Reflects Upon Our Senses; O My Father
In Our Lovely Deseret; Hold to the Rod; Silent Night
I am a Child of God; Count Your Blessings; Choose the Right

14.  Who was the mother of Eliza R. Snow?
Emma Smith
Rosetta Leonora Pettibone (Snow)
Barbara B. Smith
15.  How long did it take to write the Relief Society Declaration?
3 hours
3 days
3 months
3 years
16.  Which General Relief Society President threatened to leave her husband because he had a bar in the house?
Belle S. Spafford
Amy Brown Lyman
Emma Smith
17.  On June 3, 1918, why did the President of the United States, Heber Hoover, write a letter of appreciation to the church?
For the copper donated from the Salt Lake copper mine for the war effort
For the contribution by the Church and Relief Society in the purchase of war bonds
For the contribution of wheat and flour for war use
18.  How many sisters were admitted as members when the Relief Society was founded?
19.  Which Relief Society President was also the president of the National Council of Women?
Rosetta Leonora Pettibone (Snow)
Belle Spafford
Elaine L. Jack
20.  What General Relief Society President was also the chairman of the Childhood and Family Committee of the National Council of Women?
Barbara B. Smith
Amy Brown Lyman
Bonnie D. Parkin
21.  When did the Visiting Teaching program begin?
22.  When was the Relief Society Building dedicated?
23.  How long after the establishment of the church did Emma Smith make a selection of hymns for the church?
3 hours
3 days
3 months
3 years
24.  Which General Relief Society president enjoyed cruising on the steamer "Maid of the Iowa" with her husband?
Emma Smith
Eliza R. Snow
Barbara B. Smith
25.  Who are the "Singing Mothers"?
Emma Smith and her two Counselors
Eliza R. Snow and her two Counselors
Combined Relief Society Choirs
26.  Which of the following is a program from which the Relief Society has never been responsible for:
Church Compassionate and Welfare Services
Educational Program
Nurse Training
Church Building and Construction
Temple and Burial Clothing Departments
27.  What was the actual official name of the Relief Society when it was first organized in 1842?
The Benevolent Society of Nauvoo
The Female Relief Society of Nauvoo
The Benevolent Relief Society Sisterhood of Nauvoo
28.  What circumstances initiated the organization of the Relief Society? A desire of the sisters to:
Unite in building work clothes for those working on the temple
Unite and bring to the attention of the brethren the mess left after Church and Priesthood meetings
Get out of the house and have a social club for activities
29.  Which General Relief Society President postponed and eventually canceled the grand centennial Relief Society Celebration titled "Woman’s Century of Light"?
Belle S. Spafford
Amy Lyman
Eliza R. Snow

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sewing Night with Young Women...

I thought this idea had great possibilities...  One of our responsibilities in the Relief Society is to provide opportunities for the Young Women to feel comfortable being with us in a Relief Society meeting setting.   In many wards, the Young Women are invited in monthly for opening exercises.

Mother/Daughter nights aren't uncommon, but it can be awkward with the young women whose mothers aren't available, or not very willing to come with their daughters.

If you have "transition" in your radar as a ward RS presidency, you might consider combining a Young Women activity with a Relief Society meeting one evening.  It may require you to change your night to THEIR night - but good things can result.

Young women would be encircled into Relief Society for just one evening - participating in an activity that all women (not just their mothers) are there to enjoy with them.

Aprons - especially "retro" aprons - are everywhere right now.  There are many free patterns available online, and you may have sisters in your ward who have patterns they would be willing to share.

What about the fabric you ask?  Think of how many of us have fabric stashed away from years ago - probably a lot of it would fit into the "retro" category!  Instead of donating it to charity, it would save on the cost of a project for yourself or one of these young women.

Here is a link that has just a few of the free online patterns out there.

free online pattern link

Click on the links at the bottom of their site for even more ideas.  Aprons can be made from a myriad of inexpensive items - dish towels, dinner napkins, old tablecloths, pillowcases - you won't believe the possibilities.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Time For Surveys... (Thanks 5th Ward!)

Jennie Bennett brought this to our attention, as the 5th Ward (Laurie Reeve's presidency) has distributed a similar survey (via their RS email list - great idea!) to their sisters.   Using email doesn't capture everyone, but it is an increasingly efficient way to communicate (and save paper)

For a "sample" survey (that I tinkered around with for fun)  - click on the link at the right column... or HERE.

It is easy to use this service ( to formulate your own survey at no charge...

What a great time of year to survey your sisters and turn over a new leaf (so-to-speak!).

With the new directives from our RS General Board - we are counseled to receive inspiration as a RS presidency, working together with the Priesthood (our good Bishops).

There are countless ways to get input from your sisters (surveys, visiting teachers, personal conversations, utilizing your meeting "committee", etc...)

Once you have this feedback, it's time to "go to our knees, go to the temple, and go to the Lord" - as Sister Beck has advised us.

Chicken Soup for River 8th Ward - terrific start for a New Year...

Thanks to Myrl Breinholt for sharing this idea for their January kick-off to the New Year.
Let us know how it went Myrl!

"Conversation Cafe" - fun idea from the 3rd Ward...

At the beginning of a new year - we are all looking for ideas to bring the sisters together to enjoy each other's company after the hectic holidays.   This was passed on to us by Jeanne Maw - 3rd Ward RS President.  
Thanks Jeanne!

We had a really great RS Meeting on the 13th.  As you know, we did a Conversation Cafe.  As you came in, you were seated at a table for four.  Each table was numbered.  Each place setting had a menu of things to talk about and a list of the dinner courses for the evening.

The first was the "Whine List" and we talked about things that are our pet peeves. Sparkling cranberry juice was served along with chips and salsa.   Each table also had a vase of brightly colored flowers in the middle and each flower had a number.   After about 10 or 15 minutes each person selected a flower which had on it a number and then moved to the table with that number - they didn't keep the flower, just checked the number on it)

The second course was soup and we talked about things that others did for us that touched our hearts and made us feel the warmth of the spirit.

The next course was the main course, chicken, beef or cheese enchiladas.  And the last course was dessert which was cookies.

I can't remember the topic of conversation for the last two courses!  I guess it can be whatever you want it to be!

Anyway, we moved from table to table for each course so we were able to mingle with a lot of different people.  We had two non-member neighbors in attendance, who also helped with the food!!

At the end, our cute leader talked about our connection with each other and left us with a cute quote,: "Let us remember thqt our earthly activities have a spiritual base and a celestial  conclusion."

We had a lot of really good comments and felt like it was very successful!  Hope others will enjoy it too!

Jeanne Maw