Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Culture Of Service

Santa Visiting Nursing Home 2008The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, The Mormons, is a culture of service.

Each active member is asked to serve in various capacities. One of the most meaningful I witnessed as a Mormon Bishop was the monthly Home Teachers and Visiting Teachers. Home Teachers, two Priesthood holders and Visiting Teachers, two women in the Ward have the responsibility for the needs of each woman. They are like on earth guardian angels.

Supporting this effort is the expectation that each member will give freely to the welfare fund. The welfare fund is collected for the wise use by Bishops in serving the truly needy in their Wards (congregations).

Additionally all church callings, which are many, are unpaid callings where members fill what is asked with the spirit of love for their fellow members and the love of their Savior. My callings have usually been teaching the youth. For five years I served as a 1st Counselor to a Bishop and then for 5 years as a Bishop. I served with Kathleen as a Nursery leader. I have been on the missionary committee.

Then the church asks for Church Service and Full time missionaries. Members volunteer to be missionaries and often just go where asked. When we submitted our paperwork last year we asked to serve in the family history mission here in Salt Lake City. We would have gone where called.

The Church Service missionaries serve part time. Usually for at least 1 year and at least 15 hours per week. They can now even serve at home.

Currently there are 15,000 serving church service missions, 8,000 from the Salt Lake Valley area, and 3500 serving on the Church Headquarters campus.

The largest block of Church Service missionaries serve in the Welfare missions. They would be serving in areas such as Bishops Storehouses, Church Employment missions, or other welfare areas. The church is noted for taking care of its own. We preach self reliance.  We preach it is our responsibility to take care of our families, and our members.

It is astounding what a few hours of donations by many add up to.

To be clear on what it costs to run the Church, hourly donations are submitted to the Church leadership.

The value of the service provided just by missionaries, not the proselyting missionaries for the past year turned out to be a whopping $650,700,000 dollars. As mentioned, the most of that labor 1/3 went into the welfare areas. The second area was Family History with 16% of the labor value. 80% of the welfare system is completed by donated labor. And this is outside of the leadership of the Wards and Church hours. As a Bishop I truly spend many hours each week overseeing our Wards welfare needs and handling the request of the community.

All in all the are 1400 operations that draw on the Church Service missionary efforts. Even the Catholic Sisters of the Holy Cross have been provided our Church Service missionaries as well as several Prisons.

We believe by serving others we are following the example of The Saviour Jesus Christ. We are striving to be as he was, as he would have us be, as he called upon his disciples and Apostles to be.

It is truly a wonderful culture, serving, being a part of a culture of service.

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