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Branch vs Ward

Posted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 12:18 pm
by techgy
What's the basic difference between a branch and a ward? I am thinking that a branch can cover a larger area than a ward but in some areas of the US there are wards that go for miles. So when is it appropriate to create a branch instead of a ward or visa versa?

Thoughts?

Posted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 12:27 pm
by faazshift
The wikipedia page describes how they differ. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ward_%28LDS_Church%29. Scroll down to the section 'Wards and branches. Hope this helps.

Posted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 12:37 pm
by jdlessley
The official information is provided in the CHI, Book1, 2006, p 170 -171. But for those who do not have access to the CHI the wikipedia information will do.

Posted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 12:45 pm
by techgy
Thanks. I hadn't checked wikipedia.

Posted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 12:56 pm
by russellhltn
I'm not sure what information you're looking for. Off the top of my head, I believe a Branch has a streamlined leadership structure that makes it a better fit for small congregations, but I don't remember the differences.

Posted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 3:06 pm
by PNMarkW2
Having lived in ward that was bigger then the stake I'm in now I would say it's not about geography at all, at least as far as I know. One of the major determining factors is whether of not you have enough active, worthy, tithe paying, priesthood for all the callings that require priesthood (bishopric/clerks, priesthood quorums, young men).

Posted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 7:46 pm
by lajackson
Techgy wrote:What's the basic difference between a branch and a ward?


All of the information referenced so far is good. The basic difference is that a branch is usually small and created in an area with very few members. They function as best they can and use the basic programs of the Church.

Ideally, a branch will grow in numbers and strength and eventually become a ward. A ward is created when there are sufficient numbers and strength of members to carry out the full program of the Church.

A ward does not have to have been a branch first. If there are enough members in an area, a ward can be created. This happens most often in established areas of the Church, such as when a large and strong ward is divided to become two, or two large wards are divided to create a third ward in the same area.

Posted: Sat Nov 21, 2009 9:39 am
by techgy
I appreciate everyone's input. Much of what you have stated I had already considered. It was mostly curiosity. Our stake will shortly be going through some ward boundary changes and I was simply wondering what the basis was for the creation of a branch vs ward.

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.

Thanks everyone for your thoughts.

Branch Size Relevance

Posted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 5:22 pm
by Velska
I'm not sure if this is useful, but here goes. A branch can have plenty of members, including worthy priesthood holders, when it is outside boundaries of a stake.

A case in point is our branch. A couple hundred people, including recommend holding MP holders, but two hundred miles from the nearest ward, and the stake there is already huge, geographically.

So, I think geography comes to play when you really have relatively few members living in a large area. If we were inside the boundaries of a stake, or even neatly neighboring it, we could easily be a ward (I've lived in a smaller ward).

Theoretically speaking. When I was in the district presidency here, our goal was to become a stake. A lofty goal for around 350 members to be sure, but if you don't reach out you'll never get anywhere.

The membership is growing now, and I see young people come to the Church and get married in the temple. For some time that didn't seem to happen.

Cheers,
--velska

Posted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 5:50 pm
by russellhltn
velska wrote:I'm not sure if this is useful, but here goes. A branch can have plenty of members, including worthy priesthood holders, when it is outside boundaries of a stake.


True. A Ward can only exist inside a Stake. No Stake, no Ward.

But a Branch can exist inside a Stake.