9.4 Ward Relief Society Meetings
Sunday Relief Society Meetings
Relief Society helps prepare women for the blessings of eternal life as they increase faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and His Atonement; strengthen individuals, families, and homes through ordinances and covenants; and work in unity to help those in need. Leaders prayerfully plan Sunday meetings to accomplish these purposes.
A member of the Relief Society presidency conducts Sunday meetings. Each meeting begins with a hymn and prayer; announcements; and the introduction of new members, investigators, and visitors. During the meeting, sisters conduct business, study the gospel of Jesus Christ, counsel together, and organize to meet local needs. The meeting closes with a hymn and a prayer.
Each month, the Relief Society presidency plans Sunday meetings according to the information in the annual Instructions for Curriculum.
Additional Relief Society Meetings
To supplement the instruction in Sunday meetings, Relief Society sisters may participate in additional meetings. These may include service, classes, projects, conferences, and workshops. In these meetings, sisters learn and accomplish the charitable and practical responsibilities of the Relief Society. They learn and practice skills that will help them increase their faith and personal righteousness, strengthen their families and make their homes centers of spiritual strength, and help those in need. They learn and apply principles of provident living and spiritual and temporal self-reliance. They also increase in sisterhood and unity as they teach one another and serve together.
All Relief Society sisters, including those who serve in Young Women and Primary and those who do not actively participate in the Church, are invited to attend. Sisters may also invite their friends of other faiths.
Sisters should not be made to feel that attendance at these meetings is mandatory.
The Relief Society president oversees all Relief Society meetings. As part of this responsibility, she counsels regularly with the bishop about how the meetings can help meet the needs of individuals and families in the ward.
Although the Relief Society president oversees the meetings, she does not need to attend all of them. However, at least one member of the Relief Society presidency should be in attendance at every meeting.
Frequency and Location of the Meetings
The Relief Society presidency prayerfully considers how often they should hold additional Relief Society meetings and where they should hold them. When they have made a decision, the Relief Society president seeks approval from the bishop.
These meetings are usually held at a time other than on Sunday or on Monday evening. They are generally held monthly, but the Relief Society presidency may recommend that they be held more often or less often. Efforts should be made to meet at least quarterly.
In determining the frequency, location, and length of additional meetings, the bishop and Relief Society presidency consider time commitments of sisters, family circumstances, travel distance and cost, financial cost to the ward, safety, and other local circumstances.
Planning the Meetings
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 plans for all Relief Society meetings are approved by the bishop. She also ensures that all plans are in accordance with the guidelines in chapter 13.
Although the Relief Society president oversees these meetings, she may ask one of her counselors to assume the responsibility for planning them and carrying them out. She may also recommend that another sister be called as Relief Society meeting coordinator to fulfill this responsibility (see 9.2.5).
Meetings may focus on one topic or be divided into more than one class or activity. Generally, teachers should be members of the ward or stake. Each year, one meeting may commemorate the founding of the Relief Society and focus on its history and purposes.
In planning these meetings, Relief Society leaders give special attention to topics that the bishop has asked them to address to help meet local needs. Leaders also give priority to the following topics:
A children’s class may be held to allow mothers of young children to attend meetings held on days other than Sunday. With the approval of the bishopric, the Relief Society presidency asks Relief Society sisters or other ward members to supervise and teach this class. If Relief Society sisters teach the class, the Relief Society presidency rotates this responsibility so all the sisters can have the opportunity to attend the meetings. If men teach the class, the Relief Society presidency follows the guidelines in 11.8.1.
Teachers for the children’s class plan age-appropriate activities that teach children about Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. They may use Primary manuals and other Primary materials to teach the children.
If food is provided in the children’s class, leaders first consult with the parents of each child about any dietary restrictions due to conditions such as diabetes or allergies.