Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Your Bishop - receiving Priesthood direction about your Ward RS Meetings

We were touched as we visited recently with Jeanne Maw, president of the 3rd Ward, about the specific inspiration their Bishop - Bishop Porter - has received for the sisters of their ward.  It is exactly the type of relationship that was described by Sister Julie Beck in the September 2009 General RS Meeting (see specific references at the end of this post...)  Since they have followed his counsel, the attendance at their meetings has been amazing, and sisters are participating that rarely attended before.

Jeanne shared this with us...

"Bishop Porter told me he attended the training meeting with Sister Sweat right after last General Conference and during that he said he felt very inspired that our sisters in our ward needed to connect and uplift, edify and instruct each other.  So he said he thought a simple dinner each month would be great.  (this is the part where he messed up, our sisters never do anything "simple"!!!)  He also had the idea that each cul de sac within our ward boundaries would take a turn at furnishing the dinner.  He gave us $50/month, but later upped it to $75.  Honestly, when he told me this plan I thought he was nuts!  But now I can see how inspired he truly was."

From Sister Beck...

Under the direction of the bishop, the ward Relief Society presidency can use these meetings to address spiritual and temporal needs of individuals and families in the ward and to strengthen sisterhood and unity.

The ward Relief Society president oversees all Relief Society meetings. As part of this responsibility, she counsels regularly with the bishop regarding how these meetings can help meet the needs of individuals and families in the ward.

The Relief Society presidency prayerfully considers how often they should hold Relief Society meetings during the week and where they should hold them. They then make a recommendation to the bishop, taking into consideration the time commitments of sisters, family circumstances, travel distance and cost, financial cost to the ward, safety, and other local circumstances.

Relief Society leaders prayerfully counsel together about the topics that will strengthen sisters and their families and about the best ways to teach those topics. The Relief Society president ensures that these plans are approved by the bishop

Every bishop has the responsibility for his specific ward. Each ward Relief Society president has a calling to assist one bishop. Each bishop and Relief Society presidency have had hands laid on their heads to receive inspiration for their particular responsibilities and not for any other ward or group of Relief Society sisters.

If we work with this understanding, we will seek revelation and work in companionship with a bishop to fulfill the purposes of Relief Society in our own wards.

"Purses" - two wards using the same theme in different ways...

We've been honored as a Stake RS Presidency to be able to attend some of the birthday celebrations throughout the River Stake.  We would love to spotlight each ward, and invite you to send us an email giving us details to share with everyone who takes the time to check this site...

Two of our wards (the 3rd & the 4th) used the "Purse" theme that is so versatile.

The 4th Ward put the "Purse-onal" spin on the theme.

Each table was decorated with a large centerpiece made from cardboard die-cut purses stuffed with tissue, confetti, etc...  Each place setting included a tiny die-cut purse with a treat inside.  (Look closely at the background of the photos below for the decorations...)

A dinner of chicken croissants & salad was served - with birthday cake (of course!)

For the program after dinner, sisters spoke on different types of purses.  A diaper bag, backpack, prom purse, and temple bag.

They related their purse to times in their lives when values were developed  relating to Relief Society and how it helped influence them at that particular age.

Before the evening ended, sisters cleaned out their purses to compete in some purse-related games.

The 3rd Ward's theme was "Purse-suit of Happiness"  I asked Jeanne Maw, their president, to describe what went on at their Birthday Party.  She will be getting me photos and additional information that I will add in the next few days.  They had a delicious meal, and had over seventy sisters attend - a record!  (Check the next post for Bishop Porter's inspired direction in the planning of their midweek RS meetings)

"There were, as you know, purses on each table beautifully decorated.  

The three sisters who spoke were Valerie Broadbent, who talked of the things in her purse that remind her of how she should act.  She also talked about her three small children and her diaper bag and how that is her purse-suit of happiness right now.  

Next was Maggie Wilde, who is not a member of the Church.  She is a dear friend and neighbor who has been suffering with cancer for the past few years.  She is cancer-free at the moment, though!  She talked about the things in her purse that make her happy, such as photos of her twin grandbabies and her children.  

Last was Robyn Smith who talked about the happiness she finds as she fulfills her service mission in the county jail teaching the female inmates gospel principles.  

I felt like the messages were beautifully planned to reach every sister and from the comments I've heard since I think everyone had a fabulous time!"

Friday, March 12, 2010

Ten Virgins, Ten Stories - 10th Ward RS Birthday

The 10th ward presented a wonderful musical parable (written by Emily Freeman) on Tuesday, March 9th in the Stake Center.  Evelyn Stallings & her presidency & board - what a spiritual night.

Patti Davies was the director, with many others in the ward assisting.  When we walked into the chapel that night, the spirit was reverent and quiet - a perfect setting for such a spiritual feast.  Costumes, stage setup, lighting, etc... were just amazing.  The entire ward appeared to be involved - from the High Priests in charge of the Nursery to all those who decorated - it was so well done!

The cast included Sandy Clifford (narrator), Marialice Nielson (Eliana), Angella Hutchings (Ashira), Val Schilling (Dina), Nedra Sproul (Nava), Karen Lonsdale (Gabriella), Patti Davies (Adi), Emma Hutchings (Liraz), Amanda Richmond (Malka), Kris Quinn (Leora), and Pattie Briggs (Jessa).

Following the presentation in the chapel was a wedding feast in the cultural hall.

(For more information - the BYU Bookstore carries the CD, script, etc...  Here is a brief description:)

Based on Emily Freeman's bestselling book of the same title, this stirring album is a musical journey through the ever-relevant parable of the ten virgins. Featuring various artists, including Hilary Weeks, Jenny Phillips, and Cherie Call, The Ten Virgins presents songs and narration inspired by the individual stories of each virgin. Listeners will relate to the characters and their lives and will find encouragement to fill their own lamps daily. With a script, performance tracks, and sheet music available, The Ten Virgins can easily be presented at group activities and programs.

Includes the following tracks:

The Shopkeeper on the Hill by April Meservy
What I Need (Eliana's Song) by Emily Castleton
Nothing Matters More (Ashira's Song) by Jenny Phillips
Until (Dina's Song) by Hilary Weeks
Easy to Forget (Nava's Song) by Krista Q. Maurer
More (Gabriella's & Adi's Song) by Kathryn Tuttle & Kerilyn Johnson
Time Goes By (Liraz's Song) by Cherie Call
Magnificent Work of Art (Malka's Song) by Tamara McFadden
Lantern Light (Leora's Song) by Mindy Gledhill
Only One (Jessa's Song) by Jessie Clark Funk
The Coming of the Bridegroom by April Meservy
When He Comes for Me by The Ten Virgins Ensemble