Hello 8th Ward Families!

What an interesting time this is. With temporary school closures, event cancellations, and travel restrictions, I am sure you are feeling the affects. As you are aware, the Church has also announced similar changes. You surely have questions around how these announcements that the Church has made will affect your families.

My dear friends, our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ know us, love us, and are watching over us. Of that we can be certain.
- President Nelson

I appreciate your patience as we counsel with the Stake Presidency and other bishops to know what our actions should be. We are listening to civic and church leaders to determine the best ways to help short-circuit the spread of the COVID19 virus and protect those that are susceptible.

I was on a conference call last night with the Stake President, counselors, and the other bishops in the stake. While we do not have all the answers at this time, I know that the Lord will bless us as we as leaders, and you as families, prayerfully seek for and heed inspiration.

Local Battle Creek 8th Ward Changes:

  • The bishopric will be meeting virtually.
  • Presidency meetings can still be held virtually via phone, Skype, etc as appropriate.
  • Ward council will be held virtually. The schedule and method is still to be determined.
  • Sacrament will be administered in the homes every other week starting Sunday, March 22. See more information about this below.

Sacrament Ordinance - Who, Where, When

It is important to remember that the Sacrament is a sacred ordinance. Bishops and stake presidents hold keys that authorize the performance of ordinances. As an Aaronic priesthood ordinance the sacrament needs to be authorized by the Bishop. This includes both who performs it, where it's performed, for whom it's performed, and when it is performed.

I am authorizing all worthy Melchizedek Priesthood (who) holders to administer the Sacrament Ordinance in their own homes (where) to their own families (for whom), every other week starting March 22 (when).

All of the wards in the stake should be receiving similar authorization. Why every other week? As the bishops and Stake Presidency counseled together yesterday, we determined that we wanted to make sure we had the opportunity to get this right rather than rushing in. There is wisdom in slowing down and getting something right rather than rushing in and making mistakes.

Note: Priests can also administer the ordinance after talking with and receiving approval from me. Teachers and deacons can participate in the ordinance in their own homes in the way they normally would, preparing and passing to their family.

Maintaining the Sacred Nature of the Ordinance

For those priesthood holders administering the sacrament, please read the following requests:

  1. Priesthood holders should dress appropriately. Sunday dress if possible.
  2. Do not replicate an entire sacrament meeting. I suggest simply starting with a prayer, perform the ordinance, have someone share a short spiritual thought and close with a prayer.
  3. Any cup can be used for the water. Individuals can share if they want to. Let me know if you want some small plastic ones.
  4. Any breakable bread or bread substitute can be used.

What about households without a Priesthood holder?

We love every person in the ward. As the stake counseled together, this was one of the purposes of doing the sacrament every other week rather than every week. The spacing allows us to find ways to administer to every family and individual in the ward as necessary.

I will be working the Elders Quorum to coordinate with ministering brethren and the priests quorum to safely administer the sacrament ordinance to any family (according to their wishes) where there is no priesthood present.

Come, Follow Me

What a wonderful opportunity to continue our Home-Centered, Church-Supported Gospel learning program. The timing of this program and previous adjustments to the church organization is interesting and could make you think that revelation is real and that the Lord will "prepare a way for [us] that [we] may accomplish the thing which he commandeth [us]" 1 Nephi 3:7.

I encourage all Parents and families to be diligent in studying the scriptures and messages in the Come, Follow Me program. You will be blessed and directed as you do this. We will be stronger individuals and neighbors as we go through this time. I express love and gratitude for each of you. The Stake Presidency also sends their love and encouragement.

Feel free to send any questions you may have to a member of the bishopric.