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Oct. 29th, 2009 at 10:12 am
I can’t tell you how many times it has happened. It happens to me. It happens to almost all of us, I would guess. I just often don’t know about Church activities or issues that pertain to me. I didn’t hear about the Relief Society retreat, or I had no idea Sister R. had her baby, or Enrichment, er, Relief Society Meeting, is in two days, and I am just now hearing about it for the first time. Or, all the women who wanted to play basketball were supposed to have said so by last Saturday, but since no one did, there will be no team this year, and I had dearly been looking forward to playing basketball since this winter I am neither pregnant nor nursing, but I just didn’t know. Oh, and Sister C. died. You didn’t know? Yes your longtime visiting teachee was buried yesterday.
I really am quite literate, and I totally pay attention to announcements, and read all e-mails sent to me, so how am I so out of the loop? Oh yeah–I, along with most women in my ward, don’t attend Relief Society. Most of us having Primary or Young Women or Nursery (which is primary, but a very special subset of issolation) callings that prevent us from attending the meeting in which all of this stuff is announced. Sure, many an erstwhile Relief Society secretary writes a newsletter and painstakingly delivers it by hand to every women she can track down. Loads of Relief Society presidents maintain an e-mail address book of all the addresses she can collect to be able to keep us in touch. Lots of wards have elaborate binders full of announcements and sign-ups that sit in the Primary and YW rooms, and some of them even get updated from time to time. But I still miss a whole lot.
So I am jealous. Jealous of the men. All those boys from age 12 and up can attend a joint opening exercises at which they make their version these announcements. So you only have to worry about the years you might have Primary or nursery callings, and let’s face it, those are probably not very many years of your Church life (unless you play piano). My dad, in his 60s now, was just called to primary FOR THE FIRST TIME last year. No 60-year-old woman who has been a life-long member can say that, I bet. (I am sure someone in the comments will tell me how wrong I am). But the majority of men, on any given Sunday, gather together for 10 minutes. They may not listen to the announcements, but they could. I am jealous.
The Church is, I suspect, moving in that direction for women, too. They have this program (very loose term) called Transition to Womanhood that they have tried to implement for a few years, and one aspect of it is a joint YW-RS opening exercise. The main impediment, in my experience, has been 15-year-old girls who are scared of old women (like me), and some YW leaders who don’t like Relief Society themselves (don’t get me started on women who don’t like RS; I don’t understand it but there is a significant subset of adult women who maintain this attitude). Also, many units do not have a room that easily accommodates both organizations; my stake told us we should swap the Priesthood opening exercises out of the Chapel so we could use it, but I haven’t seen that happen.
Anyway, I think we are moving toward a more parallel model, and I relish the idea. It won’t solve all of my communication woes, but I hope it will help.
The poor souls in Primary and Nursery, however, will still be out of luck.