From Ketchikan, Alaska, to Sydney, Australia, Relief Society sisters are tapping the powerful flexibility of homemaking meeting and reaping great benefits. When leaders assess local needs, the result is an amazing variety of classes. For example, young mothers can learn to cut their children’s hair, women with a desire to study the Book of Mormon can meet and discuss the scriptures, widows can study estate planning, another group can exchange patterns for family home evening visual aids, and women who love to sew can make a quilt for the local homeless shelter.
On one designated day or evening each month (not a Sunday or Monday), women gather in sisterhood at homemaking meetings. Here, during the sixty- to ninety-minute activity segment of the meeting, they teach one another practical skills and develop latent talents. Homemaking meetings also include a ten-minute visiting teaching segment and a fifteen-minute Home Management lesson. A luncheon or light dinner often rounds out the meeting and teaches Relief Society sisters cooking and budgeting skills. Relaxing while they eat together, sisters build friendships. It is a place where sisters can just visit and talk.
“Every woman makes a home, and that’s what homemaking is all about—quite literally making a home,” says Relief Society general president Elaine L. Jack. “Maybe you live with a husband and children. You may live with a friend, or you may live alone. Married, single, older, younger, mothering or childless, you make a home, even if you live in someone else’s house.” (“The Door of Home,” address given at Relief Society open house, Salt Lake City, Oct. 1992.)
“When we link this purpose of strengthening homes with the flexibility of homemaking meeting, we have accomplished its design,” says President Jack.
“A change of heart toward homemaking meeting can enable us to see more opportunities in it,” says second counselor Aileen H. Clyde. “Include all sisters. Welcome occasions to listen to each other’s creative thinking. Take time to recognize and celebrate individuals. Remember, a diverse sisterhood is a rich sisterhood.”
And a diverse homemaking program is a rich homemaking program. “In our homes, many of the issues of the world are addressed—whether they are spiritual, social, emotional, or financial,” says President Jack. “We need all the knowledge we can gain and all the support we can get. Homemaking meeting can be the place for us to acquire both.”
These photographs offer a look at some of the kinds of homemaking meeting activities that occur throughout the Church.
Planning with a Purpose
Prepare. Assess the sisters’ needs and decide on the purpose of the activity. This purpose should help accomplish the mission of the Church and the purpose and goals of Relief Society. Make plans that put these objectives into action.
Do. Once a plan has been prayerfully developed, take the steps to carry it out.
Report. Evaluate efforts and report progress and results to leaders. (Relief Society Handbook, p. 29.)