“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.” (Handbook 2-9.4.2)
Additional Relief Society Meetings are an organized means to help us accomplish and perform the purposes of Relief Society. We all agree we should be in the process of perfecting ourselves, and helping others, around us. The Three-fold Mission of the Church is a good guide to remind us where we should aim our efforts: Those who have not met the church yet, or accepted its teachings, Those of us who want to move forward and be perfected, and Those who never got a chance and need our help. And service, always service.It helps to put someone “in charge” of the activity or group to see that learning occurs. A person with a personal interest needs little motivation to see it to the end.
Activities can be a one time, a few times, or an indefinite time activity. It has to do with interest level, reaching the goal set, or offering it enough times so all interested can participate. It is my experience that a one-time activity seldom accomplishes the full objective. In order to allow all to participate, you might want to repeat the series, or offer multiple opportunities to participate: your objective is to reach as many people as possible through involvement and/or participation.
With additional RS meetings being held monthly or quarterly, less sisters have been participating in “Relief Society” involvement. Their time is being replaced with other things that eat time and are offering more “worldly” or “empty” achievements. Relief Society Activities provide a re-focusing of what is important to Latter-Day Saints and what our purpose is. But, if monthly and quarterly suits your meeting schedule best, don’t discount Internet correspondence, personal goal setting (with occasional group evaluation and discussion), or a few sisters gathering together for various interest groups.
Activities are very casual in that friends can get together (“when two or more are gathered…”). Groups should adapt to anyone who wants to join at any time. Friends, family, neighbors, members, non-members, ward members or not, children, spouses, large groups, etc., can be involved in any given activity.
Every ward has great talent. Use your ward members. Use non-members in your neighborhood. Team people together so it’s not quite so overwhelming. If you have more than one specialist in a certain area, use them both or take turns using them. The more the merrier. This is an opportunity to make all ward members feel needed and valued, or invite non-members to participate in a non-threatening “Mormon activity”.
Remember, the purpose is to keep the focus on everyone accomplishing the work of the Lord.
The following links give you many ideas I’ve put together that you can incorporate according to the needs of your sisters. I would be interested to see how these ideas work for your sisters. Please come back and let me know how these ideas have worked for you. Even better, feel free to modify any of the suggestions and still let me know how they help your sisters.