We hope that this email finds you well. In preparation for resuming sacrament meetings on a limited basis we would ask that you carefully review the attached letter. This letter has been put together after much counsel, prayer, and thoughtfulness. We again encourage you to follow the counsel in this letter. The information is not intended to be a political statement in anyway, rather it is given in hopes of creating a safe welcoming environment for all who wish to attend upcoming sacrament meetings.
While we are asking that each of us do our best to create an environment that is welcoming to all, and in an effort to ensure that everyone has the information needed to make the correct decision for themselves, we feel it is important for everyone to understand that all will be welcomed to sacrament meeting and leaders will not be policing individual decisions as we return to our meetings. Again, we ask for understanding and patience with those who view things differently than ourselves. We plead that our dedicated chapels not be used as a place to debate political differences or feelings regarding how COVID-19 has been handled. We pray that as you enter our sacred chapels you will be reminded, these are the Lords houses and treat them as such. We express our love and appreciation for each of you. Please know you are in our thoughts and prayers.
The Stake Presidency
Dear Brothers and Sisters, June 7, 2020
We want to share with you our love and greetings. We are grateful for your faith in the Savior and devoted service and kindness as you minister to one another within your families and wards.
We realize this letter is long… but we wanted to share with you this pertinent information.
On May 19th, the First Presidency provided guidelines for safely returning to church meetings and activities. We are grateful for this pathway and look forward to the opportunity to worship together again.
As recommended, we are using an abundance of caution in the process of evaluating, discussing, and preparing to resume sacrament meetings and activities within our stake. Protecting the health and safety of members is a primary objective. After counseling with the bishops and as a presidency, here is an outline of how we will move forward within our stake.
We recognize that each individual and family has unique needs, health risks and circumstances; thus, how each individual and family responds to this COVID-19 pandemic may be quite different. None of us have ever been through an extraordinary situation like this before. Therefore, this is a time for an extra measure of understanding and respect of other people’s views, concerns, and approaches. We invite you to join with us in striving to create a worship environment where everyone, who chooses to participate at this time, feels respected and safe.
Deciding whether to attend a ward sacrament meeting at a church building at this time
The decision to participate in resumed sacrament meetings at this time is an individual matter. Please approach this decision with these principles in mind:
• In the April 16, 2020 directions from the first presidency it says, “Members should take advantage of the blessings of attending sacrament meeting and partaking of the sacrament weekly when possible.”
• We realize that as you evaluate your individual and family health risk situation, you may feel it is better for you to remain at home on Sundays at this time. Please know you have our support if that is the decision you feel is right for you given the current health risks.
• For your wellbeing and for the current time being, those sixty-five years of age and older, and those with other health risks are discouraged from attending the sacrament meetings at the church buildings.
• Individuals who do not feel well, who have been asked to self-quarantine, or who exhibit any of the following symptoms should not attend meetings: fever, cough, shortness of breath, headache, runny nose, or sore throat.
• We would like to reiterate that the Lord alone knows the hearts and intents of each individual and will not withhold blessings from those doing their best to navigate these challenging times.
For the time being, during this extraordinary time and until further notice, bishops can continue to authorize the ordinance of the sacrament, for those members who choose not to attend a ward sacrament meeting. Taking the sacrament into homes is at the request of the member. We do not want any member to feel pressured to have visitors in their home. These special sacrament authorizations apply only to our homes within our wards and are not authorized for away-from-home situations such as camping or staying in hotels while traveling. (See General Handbook,18.9.1.)
In unusual circumstances when the sacrament is not available, members can be comforted by studying the sacrament prayers and recommitting to live the covenants members have made and praying for the day they will receive it in person, properly administered by the priesthood.
Preparation and handling of Sacrament Meetings
In an effort to aid you in your decision whether to resume attending sacrament meetings at the church buildings at this time, we have outlined the approach and measures that will be taken. We kindly ask those choosing to attend to respectfully join with us in following these health precaution practices:
• Only one ward, out of the three wards, in each building will hold sacrament meeting(s) on a Sunday. Each ward will be assigned one Sunday per month.
• The meeting sizes will be limited 99 people or less.
• Large wards may have multiple sacrament meetings on their Sundays.
• Each bishop, in consultation with the ward council, will determine and distribute information regarding:
o the number of sacrament meetings
o the time and format of those meetings (i.e., hymns and potential speakers)
o the specific meeting times members will be invited to attend
o accommodations for gluten free bread for the sacrament
• On Fast Sundays, the bearing of testimonies is temporarily being suspended.
• Each ward is responsible for the cleaning and sanitizing of their building the weeks they hold sacrament meeting(s).
• Cleaning and sanitizing the buildings and sacrament trays will take place before, in between and after the sacrament meetings:
o Sacrament trays will be washed and sanitized
o Door handles and other touch points will be sanitized
• Social distancing practices are strongly encouraged based on government and church guidance:
o Sit in household groups with six feet of space between household groups
o Every other row of seats will be left open so that those passing the sacrament can walk between the rows and pass the sacrament directly to each individual without the congregation members needing to touch or pass the trays.
o Members are encouraged not to congregate to visit before and after the meetings in the buildings
o Shaking of hands is discouraged
o In accordance with current health safety guidelines and out of respect to all others attending, wearing of masks is strongly encouraged.
• Drinking fountains will be turned off for the time being
• We recognize some of these measures may be difficult for families with young children. We support you in your efforts to do the best you can.
• Sacrament preparation:
o Sacrament trays will be washed and sanitized
o Store bought bread will be used
o Additional separate trays will be carried with the water trays for the discarding of the used sacrament cups
o Those preparing, administering, and passing the sacrament will:
▪ wash and sanitize their hands thoroughly before the meeting and before preparing the sacrament.
▪ be counselled to keep their hands clean by avoiding touching their faces and other objects
▪ use hand sanitizer and allow it to dry prior to breaking the bread
▪ space the broken bread apart on the tray to minimize touching of the bread
▪ use hand sanitizer and allow it to dry prior to passing the bread, and prior to passing the water
• Hymn books will be removed from the chapels. Hymns may be accessed on personal electronic devices.
• Printed programs and announcements will not be used
• No Sunday school, primary, young women, relief society or priesthood meetings are being held.
Here is the ward sacrament meeting schedule by building:
July 5th: Stake Center - 6th Ward Nathaniel Bldg - 10th Ward Battle Creek West Bldg - 7th Ward Battle Creek East Bldg - 2nd Ward
July 12th: Stake Center - 9th Ward Nathaniel Bldg - 3rd Ward Battle Creek West Bldg - 4th Ward Battle Creek East Bldg - 8th Ward
July 19th: Stake Center - 5th Ward Nathaniel Bldg - Grove Creek YSA Ward Battle Creek West Bldg - Battle Creek East Bldg - 1st Ward
July 26th: Stake Center - Nathaniel Bldg - Battle Creek West Bldg - Lindon YSA Ward Battle Creek East Bldg -
Note: Each ward will determine and announce their meetings times.
Elder Renlund shared some great counsel in the article, Personal Revelation Is Essential as COVID-19 Restrictions Ease. We invite you to read it and consider how to apply the principles in your lives.
Temple Recommend Interviews
Even though the temples are currently closed for most of us, we encourage members to seek and obtain current temple recommends. Temple recommend interviews are encouraged to take place via face-to-face technology.
• Members renewing their recommends meet with a member of the ward bishopric and then can arrange an appointment with a member of the stake presidency by contacting the Stake Assistant Executive Secretary, Brother Doug Newcomb, at 801-830-0079 or email@example.com
• Members attending the temple for the first time meet with their bishop and then can arrange an appointment with President Brown by contacting Stake Executive Secretary, Brother Guy Dorius, at 801-616-0045 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Youth are also encouraged to seek and obtain current limited-use temple recommends.
At this time, patriarchal blessings may be given to those who are leaving home to serve a full-time mission or going away to school. Other members desiring a patriarchal blessing are asked to wait.
Under the direction of the ward youth leaders, the youth classes and quorums are authorized to plan and have one in-person, outdoor activity in the month of June. As a reminder, overnight camping is still not allowed. Social distancing practices are strongly encouraged based on government and church guidance. In accordance with current guidelines issued by the Area Presidency we ask that these gatherings include less than 20 individuals.
We are closely monitoring guidance from the church and government leaders. This is a changing situation. As things evolve, additional adjustments could be made at any time.
Again, we invite you to join with us in striving to create a worship environment where everyone, who chooses to participate, feels respected and safe. May we all have an extra measure of understanding and respect for other people’s views and concerns as we each strive to do the best we can in these extraordinary times.
We express our love to you and look forward to worshipping with you at meetings in the church buildings when the time is appropriate.
Love, The Stake Presidency