14 Major Church Announcements and News from 2016

3. Church Updates Missionary Dress Guidelines

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Image retrieved from Mormon Newsroom.

Since missionaries act "as an ambassador of the Lord," they are encouraged to look professional and maintain a certain dress code. In May, the Church updated the dress and grooming guidelines for missionaries around the world, allowing conservative sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats.

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Following their updated guidelines in May, the Church also announced that some sister missionaries in certain areas are allowed to wear dress slacks. With 230 missions in areas affected by mosquito-born illnesses like Dengue Fever and Zika, the change protects missionaries by allowing them to fully cover their arms and legs as a preventative measure. 

4. Church Responds to Transgender Directive from White House

Issued from the White House in May, President Obama instructed schools to allow transgender students to choose bathrooms according to their gender identity.

Church spokesman Eric Hawkins spoke on the subject, saying that the Church believes "everyone is entitled to respect," and "all people should expect an environment of safety, dignity, and privacy in settings such as restrooms, locker rooms, changing areas, etc."

5. Church Launches "I Was a Stranger" Refugee Relief Effort

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In March, Sister Linka K. Burton, Relief Society general president, spoke in the general women's session of general conference about aiding refugees. Announcing the new "I Was a Stranger" website, she encouraged the women of the Church to "prayerfully determine what you can do—according to your own time and circumstance—to serve the refugees living in your neighborhoods and communities."

Following Sister Burton's talk, Elder Patrick Kearon of the Seventy addressed the worldwide Church about serving and aiding refugees:

"Begin on your knees in prayer. Then think in terms of doing something close to home, in your own community, where you will find people who need help in adapting to their new circumstances. The ultimate aim is their rehabilitation to an industrious and self-reliant life. The possibilities for us to lend a hand and be a friend are endless."
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