The Deseret News recently compiled a number of interviews to help answer questions Church members might have about the new Relief Society and Melchizedek Priesthood curriculum set to begin in just a few weeks.
The following questions and answers are distilled from separate Church News interviews with Sister Bingham and with three members of the Priesthood and Family Department: Elder Donald L. Hallstrom, General Authority Seventy and executive director of the department; Richard Heaton, managing director of the department; and Mike Magleby, director of curriculum.
Will you please explain more about the first-Sunday meeting?
Elder Hallstrom: It’s a council meeting for the quorum, group or Relief Society, led by their individual leadership. It addresses the needs of the quorum or organization and how we can better prepare ourselves, then organize to meet those individual needs.
It is not a lesson — we have lessons or discussions on the other Sundays in the month — but the first Sunday is meant to be a true council, led by leadership but involving everyone.
Brother Heaton: Prior to any given first-Sunday council meeting, the presidency may in preparation prayerfully identify a need. Then, at the council meeting, they will present that and ask, “What are your thoughts on this subject? How will we address this need?”
We don’t know how that will happen in any one group, but as the presidency comes to understand the needs of their group through home teaching or visiting teaching reports, they’ll begin to have a sense of what the general needs may be. Under the gift of revelation, they’ll select one of those needs and seek more information on how to meet that need generally.
Sister Bingham: The idea is that it’s truly a council in which everyone has a chance to contribute, and it’s much more rich when many people participate.
One of the beautiful things about this council meeting is that you actually come up at the end of the meeting with an action plan. You choose an action individually, and possibly as a group. Then, in the next week, they have an opportunity to briefly report: What was the effect of what you chose last week? Did it really make a difference?