Tuesday, July 19, 2011

just to spice things up

Join me in a round of make believe. Drumrollllllll....

If I ever became bishop, the first three things I'd do would be:

(1) call a female Sunday School president.
(2) call a male Primary President.
(3) in addition to (not in place of) regular classes, create a Choose Your Own Adventure Sunday School class where every week you sit in a circle and talk about whatever you want.

Your turn.


Andrew said...

1) Ask a guitarist (acoustic for now; we'd build up to electric) to play something lovely and spiritually uplifting, and totally not Mormon-y as a Sacrament Meeting musical number. Like Bach's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring."
2)Have the theme of every single sacrament meeting of the year be directly tied to the life, death, and/or resurrection of Jesus. No more talks about gossip or the pioneers, at least not if they don't distinctly touch on the ministry and atonement of Christ.
3) Do away with talks on talks and lessons on talks. Seriously. Is there a worse trend in the church than having people rehash entire conference talks? Ok...Don't answer that.

Amy said...

Let the Beehives pass the sacrament.

AlliSMiles said...

I would *gasp* eliminate Sunday School altogether and go home after 2 hours. Then my baby could be happy on a Sunday for once.

Holly C M said...

Some of the ideas here sound kinda good.

But I would:
1) cry, fall to my knees and say "Oh, Lord, help me, I pray!"
2) get off my knees and get going
3)ask the ward to forgive me, pray for me, and help me

I know, I was supposed to be kinda funny and make-believe, but having sat in the congregation for 13 years as my husband has served as Bishop, I have a little sense of the load he carries and what God asks of him.

Mhana said...

1) I would have a windowless closet for the high council room and turn the spacious wood panelled be-windowed room into the mother's lounge. Or I'd make a utility closet the father's lounge where men could hide their babies, just like the women folk.

2) I would install padding on the back of the pews.

3) I would put up actual art in the building. It could be prints, but it would not be just another illustration with no deeper levels of meaning. Maybe we'd have stained glass, or murals or attractive light fixtures. We could have interesting plantings, maintained on a rotation basis like the building cleaning.

gurrbonzo said...

Andrew--those ideas are great, and very you.

Amy--Haha! Amen. But, I suspect that decision may be a leeeeetle higher up than the bishop.

AlliSMiles--Bahaha! As someone whose youngest turned 18 months (TODAY!), I have to say that it IS possible to get something out of the second hour when you have small kids. Eventually.

Holly--The load a bishop carries is heavy, and noble, and overwhelming, and a thousand other adjectives that are deeper than this discussion. Those responses are great and all givens. I can get away with blog hypotheticals because they are precisely that: hypothetical. I will never be bishop. So I can joke and pretend about what would be fun to do in an imaginary world. This was inspired in part by a friend who just told me of a bishop whose first move after he was called was to remove chairs from meetings, so every meeting had to be held with everyone standing up. Having just come from a looooong meeting, it made me laugh out loud, and got me imagining. I don't intend to make light of the call. Is there anything little it might be fun to do?

Mhana--ooooh, now we're talking!

Natalia said...

From my understanding, there is no doctrine requiring the SS pres to be male nor the Primary pres to be female. It is simply the tradition of our "fathers" who have dictated the way it is done. Sadly, this is just one of several things that annoys me.

Dorothy said...

Natalia - depends on how you define doctrine. It's in the church handbook of instructions.

I would make sure that meetings were meaningful!!! I would ask everyone - even males - what they thought were some problem areas in the ward, and then work to address those problems through ward council. Yeah, I know that's what bishops are supposed to do, but it definitely didn't happen when I was RS President.

Also, I would encourage service projects that focused on getting out and meeting members of the community - like fixing up the houses of the single moms in the area.

If space in the chapel allowed, I would ensure that someone coordinated some sort of rotating babysitting or at least a room with toys for the kids old enough not to sleep through church but too young to go to nursery.

And last, I would rip off your choose your own adventure Sunday school class. And I would ensure that my schedule allowed me to attend.

I love your blog!

Ru said...

I would ask the RS President to limit RS lessons to half the meeting time or less, and have the remaining time in Relief Society devoted to planning and organizing service projects as a group. You know ... to make it more like "Relief Society." We already get one round of Sunday School and it's bad enough.

(I'd also apply this to priesthood meetings, but having no firsthand knowledge of how they run, figured I wouldn't throw out a concrete plan.)

Jes said...

1. I would tell people we are no longer to start testimonies with "I'm _______, for those of you who don't know me." That bothers me. A bunch. In my ward in Minnesota even the children said it. Yikes. It also made me wonder how people who do know them address them.

2. Have the people who teach nursery rotate every six months or so. This way they get to talk to grown ups at some point in their week. (I'm in nursery and a SAHM.)

3. Always, always end Sacrament meeting on time. And make it a goal that all the other classes end on time as well. After three hours of church another five minutes just seems so torturous. (Yes, I'm a horrible person. But I'm honest about it. Half credit?)

Motion DeSmiths said...

Unlike Jes, I would require introductions. Name tags would be great. I've been at my ward over a year and I don't know anyone's name. It's hard to make friends.

And maybe this isn't the role of the Bishop, but I would make church shorter. 3 hours is arduous. Sunday school is rarely worth it. I would tell the women in R.S. to stop making centerpieces for their lessons. I would have us sit in a circle. I would address alllll those uncomfortable questions in our history. I would also have beehives pass the sacrament. I would have nursery on rotation like others suggested. I would give each primary teacher one week per month off to join the adults. I would have a "coffee and pastries" hour right before or after my 2 hour block. It would be lovely.

Jenna said...

Other than the fantastic things already suggested:

1. Give a stern lecture to the entire congregation about the differences between testimonies and thank-imonies.

2. Outlaw EFY music as sacrament meeting musical numbers.

3. Attend the laurels' class as often as I attend the priests' class. A bishop of mine started doing this when the laurels started having serious issues. I would do this preemptively and not assume that women are intrinsically more righteous. Also, if this were in my jurisdiction, make more of the lessons in young women's about the Jesus and his gospel and less about "healthcare in the home", "attitudes about our divine roles", and "sustaining missionaries through letters" (these are all actual lessons).

Also, I currently attend a small branch in Germany. There aren't enough members to go around, so we just don't have Sunday school. Two hour church is the BOMB.

Jes said...

Clarification: I like when people introduce themselves. As I'm shut away in the Nursery I don't know any of the grownups and this may be the only way I learn names. The thing I don't like is the "for those of you who don't know me."

And also thank-imonies. Those need to go.

Mrs. Organic said...

I would okay pants, especially for nursery leaders.

~j. said...

I'd make sure that the YW budget be the same as that of the scouts.

Tara said...

I would suggest that when speaking in Sacrament meeting, ward members NOT start their talk with

a)any attempt at humor in relation to being asked to speak by a member of the Bishopric (because these are rarely funny...)

b) "I was asked to speak on _______" Just start talking already! The Congregation will likely catch on to what your topic is AS YOU TALK.