Thursday, September 2, 2010

Branches and Districts in the Church

Some of you may not understand some of the terms we use in the church and our kids probably have questions about why are we branches and not wards. Hopefully, this will help you understand better. Let us know if you have questions.

A branch is like a ward, which is a congregation comprised of a neighborhood. A district is like a stake, which is comprised of several wards. In order to be a ward bishop or in the stake presidency leadership, you must have been through the temple, to receive your endowments and make covenants that you will live the kind of life the Lord wants you to live and be sealed to your spouse. This is a problem in this area because the nearest temple is in South Africa, and it costs a fortune to get there.

When the congregations are in areas that are still growing and not quite ready to become established wards and stakes, the groups are called "branches" and "districts." Sometimes it is because they are small in regards to attendance and membership. However, we have about 180 active members in each of our branches, which is large enough for a ward.

Our area in the city of Pointe Noire is not even a district, but still under the direction of the mission president (President Headlee). They can't become a district until they have enough strong priesthood leaders to form two branch presidencies and quorum leaders. We are planning on splitting and having a third branch before Christmas, and then the plan is for us to become a district in the spring. This will be a big relief to our mission president, who now serves as the "district leader" (like a stake president) in 3 areas of the mission... as well as having all the duties of a mission president.

The hope is that by Spring of 2011, we will have enough members trained to start a 4th branch in Pointe Noire. This means having enough strong priesthood men to staff all of the wards... plus enough women to be in Relief Society, Young Women and Primary presidencies. We have lots of work cut out for us over the next few months to help train them. Many are willing to help, but they haven't learned to be leaders. The men are the Kings of the Jungle... and I have to try and not get too dramatic in trying to get these women to step forward. This is the main reason I want to learn French, right now. I can't tell these "sisters" how wonderful they are until I know how to say it!

These are our 2 great branch presidents with their counselors and clerks.

Several of them have been to the temple.

1 comment:

  1. That is so crazy. What an eye opener to the things we need to not take for granted here in the states...