Branch vs Ward

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lajackson
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Postby lajackson » Mon Nov 23, 2009 11:08 pm

Techgy wrote:We have two branches in our stake. One is a singles branch and the other a deaf branch. Both are relatively small in number although they cover a rather wide area.


In such a situation, the number of members would be considered. The geographical area, though large, would have very little to do with the decision.

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Michael_Newman
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Postby Michael_Newman » Mon Nov 30, 2009 12:54 pm

Aside from all of the logical considerations, it is also a paramount decision that can only be inspired or validated through prayer.

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Postby ggllbb » Wed Dec 09, 2009 1:09 pm

Just as another example and information (probably useless) about why a branch rather than a ward: I am in a branch that geographically is larger than all the stakes I have been in (several). The branch has about 80 members and gets about 40 attendance at sacrament meeting. The town we meet in is about 80 miles from any of the other wards and branches in the stake. We are just too isolated and dispersed to be practical to be connected with a ward. Also, the branch president is from the stake and does not live in the branch boundaries.

lajackson
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Postby lajackson » Wed Dec 09, 2009 2:21 pm

GBarton wrote:The branch has about 80 members and gets about 40 attendance at sacrament meeting. The town we meet in is about 80 miles from any of the other wards and branches in the stake. We are just too isolated and dispersed to be practical to be connected with a ward. Also, the branch president is from the stake and does not live in the branch boundaries.


This is one of the more usual situations in which a branch may be established. Hopefully, the branch president who does not live in the branch will be able to (or already does) have counselors who live within the branch boundaries. Eventually, the ideal would be to have the complete branch presidency called from among the branch members.

Then the branch grows, and someday becomes a ward. This is what building the Kingdom is all about.

Many years ago, I served in a district presidency and visited 12 different branches as part of my responsibility. Today, each of those 12 branches is its own stake, and some of those cities have more than one.

It seemed like forever at the time. But, it seems like just yesterday as I look back on those wonderful experiences.

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Postby kennethjorgensen » Thu Dec 10, 2009 2:39 am

lajackson wrote:It seemed like forever at the time. But, it seems like just yesterday as I look back on those wonderful experiences.


That is so true.

About the diffences between ward and branch I agree geography can influence things but as also stated it doesnt have to. It is more about the amount of worthy priesthood holders etc.

A branch also has more "flexibility" including the requirements for those called to some of the leadership positions and the curriculum they choose to follow and the individual classes they have.

I am trying to stay general here as I dont want to quote from the CHI but one of the publicly known differences is that the requirement for being a Branch President is that he has be a Priest within the Aaronic Priesthood whereas a Bishop has to be a High Priest.

Some might have read THIS wiki article which is actually wrong stating he has to be an Elder. In fairness many are Elders or High Priests but it is not a requirement.

The Branch Guidebook on lds.org is actually very informative and I can recommend it to anyone who is interested (here is the PDF).
The section about the Branch Presidency is relevant to some of my comments above.

Having had the experience of starting a branch I came to appreciate the differences and the flexibility being a branch gives you.

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Postby greggo » Thu Dec 10, 2009 11:17 am

I just wanted to point out that the policies governing the creation of the different units of the church are not set in stone. They may change and exceptions can be made.

Between 2002-05, I was the stake clerk in the only English speaking stake (not a military unit) outside of any English speaking countries. Before it was organized, we had three English wards within a local language stake. The area president re-organized the units to go from 3 to 4 and then called a District Pres'y (the currently serving Stake Pres'y) to preside over the 4 units. At that time, we were a district with 4 branches, only because by policy a stake needed to have at least 5 wards. So all of the then bishops were made branch presidents, the HP groups were eliminated, and the HPGL's were made EQP's. Soon after all the re-sustainings/settings-apart, it was petitioned to the First Pres'y to have the district not be a part of the mission, but to report directly to the area pres'y and allow us to hold our own disciplinary councils, have our own patriarch, etc. When presented to Pres. Hinckley, he said rather than make these exceptions, why not make the exception on the number of wards and allow us to become a stake? So that's what was done (and everyone had to be re-called, re-sustained, re-set apart - again).


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