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Service animals and membership records for children of divorced parents are just 2 topics addressed in recent Church notices

by | Oct. 01, 2020

Many notices were released for those in leadership callings over the course of September 2020.

On the first of the month, a notice about the membership records for children of divorced parents was released, which allows an out-of-unit member record to be created so a child's name can appear on class rolls and so he or she can receive a calling wherever they attend. Just over a week later, the Church also released a notice about the use of service animals and emotional support animals in meetinghouses.

Later in the month, a notice was made about the effect of the coronavirus on members of the Church. In that notice, Church leadership was asked to document the impact of COVID-19 as a part of their unit's annual history. As virtual church meetings have become more common, guidelines were also recently released about different technology options that will best serve different situations, such as sacrament meetings, classes, or other functions.

Read a brief summary of these notices below or read them in full on ChurchofJesusChrist.org. Note that individuals who would like to read the complete notices must have an account on ChurchofJesusChrist.org and log in with a username and password. 

Membership Records for Children of Divorced Parents

On September 1, 2020, the Church released a notice regarding membership records for children of divorced parents. The notice states that while an official membership record may be kept by only one unit, “an out-of-unit member record may be created in the secondary ward or branch he or she attends.” Doing so permits the following:

  •  The child’s name and contact information can appear on unit lists and class rolls
  •  Children with an out-of-unit member record can receive callings and fully participate where they attend 

To learn more about out-of-unit member records, visit ChurchofJesusChrist.org.

Service and Other Domestic Animals in Church Facilities

A notice released September 10, 2020, addresses the issue of whether individuals with disabilities may use trained service dogs in meetinghouses. According to the notice, bishops and stake presidents may determine the use of trained service dogs for such purposes, although emotional support animals used for comfort are typically not permitted unless required by law. Bishops and stake presidents are asked to take into consideration both the needs of the individuals with disabilities and those within the congregation.

The notice states that service dogs and emotional support animals are not allowed in temples, and “patrons with special needs are encouraged to attend the temple with family members or friends who can assist them as needed.”

Read the notice at ChurchofJesusChrist.org or review the policies and guidelines for service animals here.

Documenting the Impact of COVID-19: Preparing and Submitting a Meaningful Stake or District Annual History in 2020

A letter addressed to General Authorities, Area Seventies, stake and district presidents, bishops and branch presidents, and stake, district, ward, and branch clerks on September 18, 2020, invites Church leadership to “include the impact of the virus as part of your unit’s 2020 annual history.” This notice gives suggestions on what to document, including the following:

  •  Messages regarding disruption, administering the sacrament at home, and other communication that offers hope, instruction, and encouragement
  •  Details of how meetings were adapted due to COVID-19, how technology was utilized, how ordinances and Church functions were handled, and a reflection on lessons learned from the experience
  •  Stories from individuals and families about how the pandemic impacted them, including at-home study and “the impact on their mental, physical, and spiritual health and economic well-being”

Leadership is asked to keep confidential reports private.

To learn more about these suggestions, read the notice at ChurchofJesusChrist.org.

► You may also like: What will we remember about 2020? The Church’s World Report gives us some idea

Guidelines for Using Virtual Meeting Technologies

 A list of guidelines for virtual meetings was recently released by the Church in a notice dated September 25, 2020. These guidelines include:

  •  Minimizing disruption during sacrament meetings through one-way streaming
  •  Finding two-way streaming solutions for effective teaching in classes, quorums, and other meetings
  •  Utilizing technology that is accessible and user-friendly
  •  Avoiding the unnecessary purchase of equipment
  •  Ensuring that there is adequate training and support for technology specialists

Guidelines also include details on virtual meeting technology options, such as YouTube Live, Facebook Live, Google Meet, and Zoom.

Read the notice at ChurchofJesusChrist.org.

Featured image by Spenser Heaps, Deseret News
Danielle christensen

Danielle Christensen

Danielle is a features writer and editor for LDS Living. Previously, she served as web producer for Church News, where she managed their website and social media platforms. Danielle is a graduate of Brigham Young University in English and has been published with Deseret NewsChurch NewsBYU Magazine, and Spires Intercollegiate Arts and Literary Magazine.

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