9.2 Ward Relief Society Leadership
This chapter focuses on administering the Relief Society in a way that will strengthen individuals, families, and homes. Relief Society leaders frequently review chapter 3, which outlines general principles of leadership. These principles include preparing spiritually, participating in councils, ministering to others, and teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The bishop and his counselors provide priesthood leadership for the Relief Society.
The bishop calls and sets apart a sister to serve as Relief Society president. He oversees the calling and setting apart of counselors in the ward Relief Society presidency, the ward Relief Society secretary, and other sisters who serve in Relief Society callings. He may assign his counselors to call and set apart these sisters.
The bishop meets with the Relief Society president regularly to discuss Relief Society and welfare matters.
Ward Relief Society Presidency
The Relief Society presidency consists of a president and two counselors. They are spiritual leaders in the effort to strengthen sisters and their families. They work under the direction of the bishopric. They also receive orientation and ongoing support from the stake Relief Society presidency.
Ward Relief Society President
The Relief Society president has the following responsibilities:
She serves as a member of the ward council. As a member of this council, she participates in efforts to build faith and strengthen individuals and families (see chapter 4).
She meets regularly with the bishop to report on and discuss Relief Society and welfare matters.
At the bishop’s request, she visits homes of members to evaluate welfare needs and suggest ways to respond to them (see 9.6.1). In the absence of the Relief Society president, the bishop may assign a counselor in the Relief Society presidency to respond to an urgent need.
She submits recommendations to the bishopric for sisters to be called to serve as leaders and teachers and to fulfill other callings in the Relief Society. In making these recommendations, she follows the guidelines in 19.1.1 and 19.1.2.
She coordinates ward Relief Society welfare efforts during emergencies.
She teaches other Relief Society leaders and teachers their duties, using this handbook as a resource.
She oversees the records, reports, budget, and finances of the ward Relief Society. The Relief Society secretary helps with this responsibility.
Ward Relief Society President and Counselors
The Relief Society president and her counselors work together to fulfill the following responsibilities. The Relief Society president assigns her counselors to oversee some of these responsibilities.
They organize and oversee visiting teaching.
They oversee compassionate service in the ward.
They plan and conduct Relief Society meetings.
They hold Relief Society presidency meetings.
As needed, they visit Relief Society sisters.
The Relief Society president assigns one of her counselors to coordinate the Relief Society’s efforts to help the young single adult sisters in the ward. If the ward has a young single adult committee, this counselor serves on the committee. (See 16.3.3 and 16.3.4.)
Ward Relief Society Secretary
The Relief Society secretary has the following responsibilities:
She consults with the Relief Society president to prepare agendas for presidency meetings. She attends these meetings, takes notes, and keeps track of assignments.
Each month, she compiles a visiting teaching report for the Relief Society president to give to the bishop unless a visiting teaching coordinator has been assigned to do so (see 9.5.4). At least quarterly, she compiles attendance information, reviews it with the Relief Society president, and submits it to the ward clerk.
She ensures that the Relief Society presidency is aware of young women who will be entering Relief Society.
She assists the Relief Society presidency in preparing an annual budget and accounting for expenses.
Relief Society Teachers
Relief Society teachers teach lessons as assigned by the Relief Society presidency. They follow the principles outlined in 5.5.4.
Other Ward Relief Society Callings
The callings listed in this section are suggestions. The bishop and Relief Society president may decide not to fill every position, or they may determine that additional callings are needed.
Visiting Teaching Coordinator and Supervisors
In a ward with a large number of women, a sister may be called to help the Relief Society president coordinate visiting teaching and make sure it is done effectively. Additionally, visiting teaching supervisors may help the visiting teaching coordinator gather information and coordinate the work.
The visiting teaching coordinator receives monthly reports of visits and other contacts that visiting teachers have made. She may be assigned to help prepare a monthly visiting teaching report (see 9.5.4).
Compassionate Service Coordinator and Assistants
A sister may be called to help the Relief Society presidency identify needs and coordinate compassionate service. Assistants may also be called.
Relief Society Meeting Coordinator and Committee
A sister may be called to help the Relief Society presidency coordinate the planning of Relief Society meetings that are not held on Sunday. These meetings may include service, classes, projects, conferences, and workshops. The Relief Society presidency may request that committee members be called to assist the coordinator. Committee members may be given specific areas of responsibility.
Assistant Relief Society Secretary
An assistant secretary may be called to help the secretary with her responsibilities.
Advisers to Young Single Adult Sisters
Advisers to young single adult sisters work under the direction of the Relief Society counselor assigned to young single adults. They watch over and strengthen young single adult sisters.
An adviser may be given any of the following responsibilities:
She may serve as a visiting teaching companion to a young single adult sister.
She may help with young single adult activities.
She may encourage young single adult sisters to participate in institute classes or other religious instruction.
If the ward has a young single adult committee, she serves on the committee (see 16.3.4).
If the ward has a Relief Society class for young single adult sisters, she may attend the class.
The Relief Society presidency may form committees to accomplish ongoing work such as strengthening individuals, families, and homes; watching over young single adult sisters; welfare; emergency preparedness; temple and family history work; missionary work; convert retention; and activation. Leaders of the committees report to the Relief Society president or an assigned counselor. Committee members may be given specific areas of responsibility.
While not required, committees may be formed if they will help accomplish the work of Relief Society and give more sisters opportunities to serve.
Some committees may be temporary to fill a short-term need. Sisters on such committees do not need to be called and set apart. Sisters who lead or serve on long-term committees are called and set apart by a member of the bishopric.
Music Leaders and Pianists
Appropriate music helps invite the Spirit in Relief Society meetings. The Relief Society presidency may recommend sisters to serve as music leaders and pianists for Relief Society meetings.