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General Conference request: please speak about updating ward and stake boundaries


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39 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

We are a worldwide church and need to see ourselves as a worldwide family.

As I see it, make the changes just to break up cliques and add diversity.

Sounds good to me.

Ward changes don't mean you have to divorce your old buddies, you just get chances for new buddies!

When they leave a ward alone long enough to make new buddies, I agree.  :) 

I've appreciated how the handbook now has a caveat about leaving people in a calling long enough that they actually have time to figure out how to work with the people they are serving with and how to do the calling well.  And likewise, I love when ministering brothers and sisters are left in place long enough to build actual trust and friendship.  Time is almost always an essential part of solid relationships and growth. 

Sometimes changing things up is a necessity that can't be helped (and that can produce good), but there is a downside to doing it too often to wards and stakes (or a downside for individual members) that there is no harm in acknowledging.  Acknowledging when someone is asked to do or go through a hard thing can actually be really helpful.

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5 minutes ago, bluebell said:

Sometimes changing things up is a necessity that can't be helped (and that can produce good), but there is a downside to doing it too often to wards and stakes (or a downside for individual members) that there is no harm in acknowledging.  Acknowledging when someone is asked to do or go through a hard thing can actually be really helpful.

I suspect much of if not virtually all of the problem is either the area in question is booming with new folks (i.e., Herriman) and/or an area is 'dying' and must be collapsed and absorbed by another ward entity. Back in CA several years ago the Coachella Valley (greater Palm Springs area) was divvied up such that the PS Ward was transferred to another stake not even in the valley (up the mountain pass to Yucca Valley - the high desert). Geographically and 'culturally' this did not make sense were it not for the fact the high desert desperately needed people power in order to function. Lot's of frustration ensued though it needed to be done. I suspect the leadership tries to avoid these types of transfers and with as little frequency as possible though I suspect nothing much can be done to avoid it. Change is part n' parcel with being a Latter-Day Saint and I suspect that too will never change. ; ) 

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On 9/25/2022 at 1:53 PM, rpn said:

I'm sorry Nuclearfuels.  I know how hard it is because we've experienced the same 3 ward in six years without moving.   Having had an intimate view of process,  I've learned the following things about it:

1.   It starts with preserving the required priesthood in each unit.   Then they look at natural boundaries (the way people get to church, school zoning, where the buildings are (and how many any building can accommodate, making sure to even out the demographics (well-off/poor, white/blue color work, ) as much as possible so that the eventual wards can each be self-sufficient for staffing youth programs, for ministering to all, young and old, and to not get wards that can do whatever they want, and wards that cannot be financially or practically self-sufficient).   Other considerations might be youth membership activity, music skills. 

When the committee has figured out a plan that works logistically, that has considered all the local concerns/issues, and meets the list of criterion required and the committee feels it consistent with Their will and the SP and high council agree with the committee, it gets submitted to Salt Lake, which may send it back telling the committee to try again, with advice or sometimes without feedback.   SLC may keep it for a very long time before sending it back.  When SLC approves a proposal, THEN the SP decides timing and starts the calling process for all the new callings required.  At some point in that process, the SP decides on the timing of the meeting.

2.   While I understand completely the need for not disclosing who is on the committee nor the details or the various considered options (you probably cannot believe how hard it is to deal with the few who have to know and want to be sure  X, Y or Z happens, and the pressure from various ward members, and they are pretty persistent and even awful to any known committee members, and tend to start rumors and instigate lobbying groups), I DO NOT AGREE with not telling members that the new boundaries will be announced  for the disclosure meeting.   I suppose one could argue about going to all invited meetings willingly when asked is part of our membership duties and to some extent our personal faithfulness, I just don't see the point of trying to prove that in these circumstances when people are juggling multiple important ways to use their time.

3.   The fact that we no longer worship every week with those we have learned to know, IMHE enriches the real relationships we have.  We can many more friends, just have to put some extra effort in to meeting up or talking together.   I guess it makes us real friends rather than church sunday people we call friends.   Instead of mourning the regular church contact, maybe we spread our influence and time further.

Sounds like the whole "counseling in councils" thing is integrated into this process.  Splitting/merging church units seems like a quintessential Too Many Cooks sort of thing.

Thanks,

-Smac

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10 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Sounds like the whole "counseling in councils" thing is integrated into this process.  Splitting/merging church units seems like a quintessential Too Many Cooks sort of thing.

I see it more as trying to get a small group with wide enough local experience to figure out the appropriate thing to do.  You do need multiple people to get a full picture.

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On 9/24/2022 at 9:01 PM, bluebell said:

I think it’s standard practice to spring these kinds of things on stakes, and I think it’s another example of secrecy for the sake of being secret.

It's not.  Discussions can be going on with stake presidents and bishops up to 6 months before changes are made, in my experience.

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12 minutes ago, ksfisher said:

It's not.  Discussions can be going on with stake presidents and bishops up to 6 months before changes are made, in my experience.

I'm sorry if I was confusing but I didn't mean that no one in the stake knew about them beforehand.  What I'm talking about is the information that is shared with the general stake membership and not just a handful in upper leadership positions.

As an aside and completely anecdotal, my husband is the first counselor in our bishopric and the number one 'rumor' going around all the wards in our stake is that ward boundaries are going to be redrawn again, probably announced at our stake conference in 2 weeks.  However, if our bishop knows (and he probably does) he has not told anyone else in the ward, including his counselors.  And that's completely fine. 

But if that's the case it does go to show that it's common for these things to be sprung on almost all members of the stake without advanced notice.  Especially since this would be the second time in three years that the ward boundaries were redrawn, and that time it came completely out of the blue (much more so than this year with all the rumors--which stem from the increase in construction in our area that everyone has noticed).

So discussions among bishops and the SP and maybe some high council members (though not all as our good friend was on the high council the last time they split our wards and he had no idea it was going to happen), don't negate my previous post about these kinds of things being kept secret in general.

Edited by bluebell
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46 minutes ago, rpn said:

I see it more as trying to get a small group with wide enough local experience to figure out the appropriate thing to do.  You do need multiple people to get a full picture.

I've found the counseling with our councils widely varies. I've seen this with our last 2 stake presidencies.  One SP didn't meet with our stake relief society president  and didn't have stake council.  The other had both. That wasn't all, but with just that much it was a lot of difference.

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1 hour ago, bluebell said:

I'm sorry if I was confusing but I didn't mean that no one in the stake knew about them beforehand.  What I'm talking about is the information that is shared with the general stake membership and not just a handful in upper leadership positions.

As an aside and completely anecdotal, my husband is the first counselor in our bishopric and the number one 'rumor' going around all the wards in our stake is that ward boundaries are going to be redrawn again, probably announced at our stake conference in 2 weeks.  However, if our bishop knows (and he probably does) he has not told anyone else in the ward, including his counselors.  And that's completely fine. 

But if that's the case it does go to show that it's common for these things to be sprung on almost all members of the stake without advanced notice.  Especially since this would be the second time in three years that the ward boundaries were redrawn, and that time it came completely out of the blue (much more so than this year with all the rumors--which stem from the increase in construction in our area that everyone has noticed).

So discussions among bishops and the SP and maybe some high council members (though not all as our good friend was on the high council the last time they split our wards and he had no idea it was going to happen), don't negate my previous post about these kinds of things being kept secret in general.

What would be the point of telling people before the official announcement?

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29 minutes ago, ksfisher said:

What would be the point of telling people before the official announcement?

What's the point of not telling people?  That it's less annoying for leadership?

Change is hard and a heads up and time to adjust is a normal way that people mitigate the stress on others.  Just think about the difference between telling your high schooler that the family is moving out of state the day the moving van shows up verses telling them a few weeks in advance.  One way is a lot harder on the kid, emotionally and mentally, than the other.

 

Edited by bluebell
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7 minutes ago, bluebell said:

What's the point of not telling people?  That it's less annoying for leadership?

Change is hard and a heads up and time to adjust is a normal way that people mitigate the stress on others.  Just think about the difference between telling your high schooler that the family is moving out of state the day the moving van shows up verses telling them a few weeks in advance.  One way is a lot harder on the kid, emotionally and mentally, than the other.

 

I think the dynamics are a lot different for a ward or stake than for a family.

Letting things out just gets people talking.

 

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4 minutes ago, ksfisher said:

I think the dynamics are a lot different for a ward or stake than for a family.

The dynamics sure, but the mental and emotional toll of sudden change (especially one that the person sees as making their live worse)?  I don't think so.

Quote

Letting things out just gets people talking.

So what though?  What does it matter if people talk?  

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21 minutes ago, bluebell said:

What's the point of not telling people?  That it's less annoying for leadership?

Change is hard and a heads up and time to adjust is a normal way that people mitigate the stress on others.  Just think about the difference between telling your high schooler that the family is moving out of state the day the moving van shows up verses telling them a few weeks in advance.  One way is a lot harder on the kid, emotionally and mentally, than the other.

 

This.

I find out people deal with change varies as well.  And it also depends on what it is.  When something changes with refugee apartment setups I can just roll with it.  When book club changes from its normal day it really bothers me.  There are reasons I feel differently, but I still very much feel different about them.  

When I change wards it is not a big deal to me, but it really is for other people.  For me I have a hard time deeply connecting with anyone.  I can be happy pretty much anywhere as long as I have my husband.  But other people feel those connections much deeper than I do (even with me!) so I get why it is hard.

But it isn't just connections.  For some people change is just hard.  I have a volunteer that almost always talks with one of our people for the things he needs to do.  When she is out of town or busy and I do what she normally does he doesn't deal with it well.

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46 minutes ago, Rain said:

This.

I find out people deal with change varies as well.  And it also depends on what it is.  When something changes with refugee apartment setups I can just roll with it.  When book club changes from its normal day it really bothers me.  There are reasons I feel differently, but I still very much feel different about them.  

When I change wards it is not a big deal to me, but it really is for other people.  For me I have a hard time deeply connecting with anyone.  I can be happy pretty much anywhere as long as I have my husband.  But other people feel those connections much deeper than I do (even with me!) so I get why it is hard.

But it isn't just connections.  For some people change is just hard.  I have a volunteer that almost always talks with one of our people for the things he needs to do.  When she is out of town or busy and I do what she normally does he doesn't deal with it well.

And it can be hard to be confronted with such a drastic and perceived negative change in a public place as well.  

The last time our boundaries were changed one of the YW in my ward (I was the president at the time) ended up being one of only two YW who were transferred to another ward (and she wasn't friends with the other one-who was younger than her and not in the same school).  This was a huge deal for her, as it was her senior year and her best friend and all the YM they hung out with would be in a different ward than her now.  When the announcement came at the meeting, I turned around and saw her and she was just sobbing.  I felt so bad for her.  She was inconsolable in that moment.

Finding out about the change a little earlier wouldn't have lessened her initial heartache, but maybe she would have been able to deal with it in a more private place.  

 

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On 9/25/2022 at 1:04 AM, Scott Lloyd said:

 

The term “ward family” is a catch phrase that, as far as I can tell, crept into widespread use without having any official imprimatur from the high leadership of the Church (I could be wrong on that point, and if I am, I’m sure someone here will waste no time in proving me so). I’m not saying they object to it, but I just don’t see it as having the institutional gravitas that many seem to assume it does. 
 

The fact is that any of us are prone at any time to having our local unit affiliation changed without our having any say in the matter. I’m not convinced that’s altogether a bad thing, but when it happens, whence goeth the “ward family”? Was it ever intended to have any permanence? I wonder. 
 

I think we need to become more expansive and less provincial, to accustom ourselves to regarding the entire body of the Church, the covenant people of God, as being our “family” and not limit our affinity to a couple hundred folks who reside in a geographic district to which we happen to be assigned for the time being, such that we suffer distress when something occurs to change that status quo. 

The way I try to think of it is this....there are no Ward or Stake boundaries.  I strive to do what I can whereever I can.  There will be no Stake or Ward boundaries in the Celestial Kingdom, so if I'm blessed to get there....I will have a leg up on things!  :)

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