Congregations Bring Neighborhoods Together

Congregations Bring Neighborhoods Together

Additional Resource

Mindi Bullick, of Carmel Mountain Ranch, California, passed the 32nd week of her pregnancy with the doctor’s instruction that complete bed rest would be required for the duration of her expectancy. Such news is never convenient for a young mother-to-be, but Mindi, her husband, Jeff, and their 3-year-old son also happened to live in the path of the recent Southern California wildfires.

The Bullick family, like thousands of others, were evacuated to escape the fire danger.

“We had numerous phone calls from our ward members,” Mindi explained, “all notifying us of the evacuation order and offering to help us. They all wanted to make sure we were safe and that we had options to deal with the evacuation.”

The “ward,” a geographically defined congregation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is organized so that Church members in nearby neighborhoods can worship together. Membership of a ward can consist of several hundred people.

“Wards are created in such a way that leaders can be close to members and know and nurture them,” said Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Within this organizational blueprint, a local ward functions as an anchor to its members. In areas where Mormons predominate, it is common for care to be extended to neighboring members of other faiths as well.

“The ward is organized to minister to the needs of those who face even the most difficult and heartbreaking trials,” explained Bishop Richard C. Edgley, a member of the Presiding Bishopric, in a recent address. He explained that the ward leaders — all unpaid positions — are able to provide advice and resources.

The Bullicks, like members in wards throughout the Church, count on the support of leaders in times or crisis and need.

“Members of the ward are concerned about us even though there’s so much need in our area,” Mindi related. “We have meals coming into our home for the next several weeks until the baby comes, and people regularly ‘borrow’ our son so I’m able to rest.”

“When needs arise, we see an outpouring of love, service and compassion in a ward family,” said Bishop Edgley. “Bishops arrive, home and visiting teachers go into action, priesthood and Relief Society leaders organize to take care of both spiritual and temporal needs.  Refrigerators are stocked, houses cleaned, lawns mowed, shrubs trimmed, fences painted, blessings given and soft shoulders are available for crying on. Members are everywhere. A ward, as well as a family, draws closer together as it endures [challenges] together — what happens to one happens to all.”

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