I’m kind of amazed at the answer I receive when I ask friends what their Relief Societies are doing. The typical answer is, “Oh, not much. We have dinner together; nothing special.”
If you understand the history of this organization, you will begin to understand the destiny and responsibility that lies at our feet. In the early days, when they had nothing, it was the sisters who rallied together to make it happen. The sisters were innovative. They checked up on each other constantly and did things together. They did not sit back and let worldly things take over their lives.
The examples those early sisters have been to us has been forgotten. They started
programs, they served constantly, they learned how to do things that had never been done before, or found a better way. These women rolled up their sleeves and got to work helping, organizing, and building the Kingdom of God. Our needs are quite different from those early days, but we still need women to roll their sleeves up and help, organize, and build the Kingdom.
When I offer some of the ideas I’ve come up with for this site, to those friends who seem to have no vision, some of the comments I get back are, “Oh, that wouldn’t work,” “Not enough sisters come,” “We like to keep things simple.” It breaks my heart to hear “the RS President won’t go for anything like that,” or worse, “the bishop just wants us to socialize and befriend some of the new sisters.” There is a vision in Relief Society that must take hold for sisters to realize we don’t have to go it alone in our own homes; we have Relief Society to help us, train us, and inspire us to do better.
Please do your sisters a favor and experiment with some of the ideas listed here. If you can get your bishop to offer some kind of solid, spiritual, guiding, goal, or direction to follow, hold a meeting that will enrich the lives of the families around that goal. Better yet, hold a series of meetings along that one goal and shape the lives of the families, so their lives are impacted for good. Dinner and socializing can be added on the side, but the main feast should be something they can take home and chew on for a while.
If you can feed your sisters the gospel in action, you will eventually be feeding an entire family, ward, neighborhood, community, and environment. Continue your good works in the name of Relief Society, which acts in the name of the Lord, Jesus Christ.
These ideas can be in a meeting setting, added to a newsletter as a challenge, performed on a personal level, enjoyed by a very small group of people. They can include non-members, singles, YW, young marrieds, the elderly, husbands, two people, or the entire ward. Surely, if these ideas don’t interest you, they may trigger better suited ideas that are usable for your situation. There is nothing listed that is expensive, hard, or one dimensional. Hopefully you will see something that will in some way involve all of your sisters, making them feel needed, productive, and spiritual.
Variety and fun are the staff of life. But spirituality causes a person’s heart to burn. Set a goal to bless the lives of your sisters on a spiritual level with just a little silliness mixed in for good measure (not the other way around).
1) Marriage Panel —Ask long-marrieds to be on a panel where any question can be asked with an honest answer. You might have to come up with your own questions at first, but if you have this activity repeated at various times in the year, maybe focusing on various topics, with various couples on your panel, people may loosen up enough to ask really good questions.
2) Finances — Ask a Financial specialist to speak on various topics: budget, debt reduction, insurance, etc.
3) Communication — Ask a coach/couple to teach healthy couple interaction.
4) Marriage Class — Invite the Marriage Relations Teacher to head up some class activities that correlate with what they’re teaching in their class.
5) Dating Ideas — Collect, from the ward, cheap or no-cost date ideas and make them all available on the ward website.
6) How To Produce A Romantic Dinner — Teach a class from cooking the meal (something modest, but special), to setting the table, to suggested music, to conversation.
7) Sports Night — Spend an evening where everyone can learn the playing rules of their husband’s favorite sport.
8) Talks on marriage — Gather talks and articles from the Ensign and discuss them.
NOTE: It is inappropriate to discuss our personal lives in a Relief Society meeting. If someone is in need of deeper, and more specific help, advise them to go to the bishop, or speak with the Relief Society President personally. Keep all discussions hopeful, helpful, and non judgmental. And ALWAYS leave on a positive, inspirational, and motivating thought.
1) Create a family Wall Hanging, Or Art Piece, that is meaningful to your family; include traditions, experiences, idiosyncrasies, etc. Share with your ward sisters and display it in your home.
2) Organize and make FHE ideas, visuals, responsibility charts, etc.
3) Invite yourselves to a YM’s activity and participate with them – even if they’re just playing basketball.
4) Using everyone in the ward, FILM MOVIES OF SCRIPTURE STORIES, with costumes, props, the whole bit, then make a copy for everyone in the ward for FHE aids.
5) Start a FHE group for Singles or Seniors.
6) Organize a support group for parents of troubled youth OR guide parents to the CHURCH SUPPORT GROUPS: Drug Rehab, LDS Social Services, Employment, etc.
7) USE CHURCH APPROVED RESOURCES! And there are many in all areas of mental health (click on LDS for a list of aids).
8) Invite a Panel Of Youth to answer your questions about how they think, what their needs are, what they wish their parents would know.
9) Meet together to discuss a specific topic and allow open discussion – Parenting skills; Support in Caring for the Elderly; Judging “Popular” Music, Video Games, and Media; Community issues – What can we do to protect our families?
10) Invite the YM and YW, and your husband, to attend a “DANCE OFF”. You dance your kind of dance, the youth dance their kind of dance. Then teach each other your dances.
11) Work with the young Women to receive YOUR Young Woman’s Recognition Award.
12) Challenge yourself and members of your family (make it a friendly competition)—a) read lessons ahead of time and participate, b) volunteer to head up an activity, c) ask for more people on your visiting teaching/home teaching route, etc.
13) Start a Mommy’s Group (not a kid’s group). For those entrenched in the world of children, let the kids play while the mommies learn something new; take an online class together or just talk (Talking will be the easiest, but learning together will be the most satisfying).
14) The Marriage Relations class has a Parenting section in it. Offer a class on Parenting. Make it so fun, people will want to go. Invite the children occasionally, to bring families together in the learning process. (Please think outside the box, the lessons are very dated.)
15) Remember Pursuit of Excellence? Get a group together, or work on your own, to achieve this goal and create a great award for it.
16) Update visual aids for home or Ward Library. Remember, you can check anything out of the Ward Library for home use.
17) Brainstorm ways your ward can protect the family, then do something about it: FHE ideas, boycott any outside activity on Monday nights, create a neighborhood garden where everyone weeds and works together, fill your home with Mormon art made by yourself or others, etc.
1) Invite sisters to share their Cultural Dress, Dance, Food, etc.
2) Arrange for groups to take trips to the Family History Library or Temple together.
3) Direct the Family History Specialist to those interested in personal help.
4) Encourage volunteering for on-line indexing.
5) Begin offering Temple Showers to reward those Young Women who have safeguarded their virtue as they prepare themselves to enter the temple for a marriage or mission.
6) Learn a language together
7) Organize a Personal History Class.
8) Pick one or two projects from my list of 101 Family History ideas, and work together to complete it.
9) Invite sisters to study up on various topics such as History of Relief Society, Suffrage, Relief Society Projects, Relief Society Presidents, etc. and create a time for them to share their findings. (Get started by looking on this site, but there is much more to learn and be in awe of.)
10) VOLUNTEER your time (2-3 of you) at your local Family History Center.
11) Attend classes together offered by the Family History Library, or your local Family History Center.
12) Help the YW visit people in a Retirement Home, interview them, and write down their history. I’ve always thought this would be a great way to keep young people connected with older people.
13) Buy a 20 Generation Pedigree Chart and fill it out with all the information your family has collected. You will have an instant visual of how much work has, or hasn’t, been done.
1) Sewing class/Quilting class for the purpose of serving the family, or others, in some way.
2) Teach DI or Garage Sale shopping basics. Have a FASHION SHOW, or show and tell, to show off your great buys. The best fun of all is to go shopping together! Keep within a budget; fix-up and repurpose together.
3) Cooking – Create an On-Line Recipe Book that all the sisters can tap into: Everyone contributes, tips on menu planning, notification on sale items, etc.
4) CREATE A LIST OF TALENT AND SKILLS in your ward and neighborhood; match them up with needs.
5) Home Industry – Offer ideas, support, and know-how.
6) Take a community class together on an agreed upon topic or Offer a class on simple home repairs.
7) HOST THE YW in lessons on cooking, housecleaning, sewing, and organizing.
8) Teach Computer Skills.
9) Gather housekeeping tips and tricks. Put it all on the ward website, or create a booklet, for all the women in the ward, including the YW. Organize it in such a way you can actually find what you need, or easily update with additional ideas.
10) Teach the YM how to sew on a button, fix a hem, plan and cook a meal, wash clothes, etc.
FOOD – EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS
1) Store or Prepare Foods Together: Go shopping, can foods, freeze meals together. Create a ward garden, maintain together. Create a dinner group where you plan a week’s or month’s worth of dinners together.
2) Get CERT trained.
3) Auto maintenance classes.
4) Organize the ward to Buy In Bulk.
5) PRACTICE Emergency Situations – climbing out of a burning house, turning off gas, setting up shelter, setting up and maintaining a porta potty, meeting at a specified location, organizing the church building as a shelter, etc. The idea is to actually practice these things before you’re forced to, but talking about, and sharing tips, is very important too.
6) Volunteer to LIVE OFF YOUR FOOD STORAGE for a period of time, or spend a weekend SURVIVING ON YOUR 72 HOUR KIT and report on what you learned.
7) Take a small group to work at the manufacturing plants or farms owned by the church (you can call to volunteer outside of your typical ward assignments): Soap, pasta, cheese, Wet Pack, apples, strawberries, etc. You often get to buy, or take home, whatever you worked on.
8) Invite a Master Gardener to offer tips on gardening.
9) If someone has a wheat grinder (and they don’t mind sharing) have a wheat grinding day. Or a bread baking day.
10) If your ward has a good mix of younger and older sisters, spend some time comparing then and nows, or try canning jam together, or create a grandma connection with the little ones. Older sisters know how to recycle, reuse and redo. Younger sisters know how to shortcut, juggle, and think outside the box. Everyone has value.
11) We live in a throwaway society, and as a result many of us suffer from financial problems. The ward should be there to help one another with ideas, advice, motivation, no cost activities; with no shame, only unconditional love.
12) Combine efforts to find sale items to build food and home storage; encourage teams, groups, or friends to shop together for the best deals and brainstorm the best ideas for organization and maintenance.
HUMANITARIAN AND SERVICE
1) Have a committee who prepares kits for sisters to complete at home – make kits available every week – baby blankets to crochet or sew around, dolls & toys, booklets, etc.
2) Invite yw and activity day girls, as often as you can, to teach them how to make these items, visit with them, and set a standard of excellence in charity work.
3) Adopt a sister ward (inner city or across the world). Share ideas, offer aids, knowledge, materials, etc. Work with them. Make needed items for them.
4) Double up on visiting teaching, so everyone gets a visit no matter what their situation is.
5) Adopt a charity organization or retirement home. Provide meals, cleaning supplies, and visits. Organize “America’s Got Talent” having your ward perform. The bad acts are almost more entertaining than the good ones.
6) If someone in the neighborhood needs help with their home, organize teams to clean, fix up, organize, reconstruct, etc.
7) Clean off Graffiti.
8) Take sack lunches to the city park, or shelter, to feed the homeless.
9) Visit a retirement home. Pamper them, read to them, hold a musical evening with them. Ask them about their lives.
10) Ask your Stake Leaders what service may be rendered to members in your stake: Form Service Groups, classes, consultations, support, etc.
11) Designate a day to do humanitarian projects; Certain hours in the daytime, certain hours in the evening.
12) In October, with the help of all the sisters, find, visit, evaluate, all who need help for Christmas—from the active to the inactive (even non-members). Use creative and inoffensive ways to help them: Secret Santa, gift cards, etc. This doesn’t just have to be the Bishop’s responsibility. It can be shared by appropriate others depending on each situation.
13) Volunteer at a church, or community, venue—tour guide, docent, host, etc.
14) Start a Knitting or crocheting group making some of our favorite projects, i.e., leper bandages, booties, hats, blankets, etc.
15) Form your own charity organization or offer to captain an existing organization in your area. You can find many worthy groups on-line.
1) FORM A COMMUNITY GROUP that studies issues locally or globally. Learn about women issues and how you can help.
2) Host An Etiquette Dinner with the YW, include a “modest dress” fashion show.
3) Invite Sisters To Teach Or Demo their hobbies or talents.
4) TEACH A PIANO, AND CONDUCTING, CLASS. Allow students to use their new skills in Sunday Relief Society, Young Womens, or Primary.
5) Exercise together.
6) Offer to HOST A PRIMARY ACTIVITY. Even though there are no more activities, we can still get our children together to do something fun.
7) Tape RS lessons so YW and Primary workers can hear them. Or hold an additional study class just for them. Always find a way to include your YW and Primary sisters. With this same idea: do all you can to help them with their calling, remember them with announcements and activities, include them as much as you can in what the RS is doing.
8) Sign up for a Welfare Assignment as a group of friends. Invite those you’re sitting next to (whether you know them well or not is the whole point) and you all go together.
9) Create a Relief Society Prayer Roll. Urge sisters to pray for one another. The reasons for these prayers may or may not be made known, but sisters will feel an instant closeness as they think and pray for one another during the day. You may even want to pick a day during the week and Fast together, as sisters, for one another.
10) Sit next to someone you don’t know and keep asking them questions until you find something you have in common.
11) Try some Networking—share concerns with one another in the likelihood that someone out there has some answers, or knows someone who does.
12) Invite yourself to sit in Nursery to help with the little ones. Or sit with a family with young children and offer a helping hand.
13) Set up a bartering system; trade goods, skills, and labor. Share what you have and bless someone else’s life. Or teach negotiation tactics to make the best possible purchases at the best possible price.
14) Why don’t we hold a Retrenchment Meeting—First Sunday of the month, or other, maybe when the Young Women join us for the entire meeting, and plan together what we will do to emphasize Christ’s teachings—projects, lessons, activities, events, goals, service, etc. The following month, report and add new. Just like they did back in the old days.
1) Start a “Church Books Only” BOOK CLUB.
2) Form a group working their way through Preach My Gospel or Institute Manuals.
3) Invite the Gospel Doctrine Teacher (or any scholar) to TEACH A RELIGION CLASS – a continuation of the Sunday lesson, or other.
4) Study RS lessons in depth after they’ve been taught.
5) Discuss Conference talks – pull out from the talks what we’ve been asked to do. Challenge and report on what you’ve done to obey.
6) Discuss and practice the principles in “A Heart Like His”.
7) Hold Testimony Meeting every Fast Sunday in Relief Society.
8) Share missionary experiences as young missionaries, part-time service missionaries, senior missionaries, neighborhood missionaries, etc.
9) Learn some new songs in the hymnbook, and their story, and sing this testimony as a group of sisters. Start a Singing Mothers group.
10) Have a “Johnny Lingo” party and be an eight cow wife. Or watch some of the great church, seminary, or scripture study videos available to us that we never have time to watch anymore.
11) Discover what the “song of redeeming love” or the “new song” is, in the scriptures. Hint: Everyone will be able to sing it at the Coming of the Lord whether you can carry a tune or not.
12) Get a group together to attend a BYU Women’s Conference or Time Out For Women.
The important thing about Relief Society is that we remember who we are. We are the female army of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We are here to do our part in building the Kingdom of God. We are preparing ourselves, our families, and the world for the Coming of the Lord. We have a work to do, so make sure your Relief Societies are working toward the Glory of the Son of God.