Switching up Sacrament meeting

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Switching up Sacrament meeting

Postby sklarsen37 » Sun Feb 09, 2020 11:45 am

We had ward conference today and the stake president made some strange changes. Instead of allowing the priests to bless the Sacrament, he had the entire Elder's quorum presidency on the stand and had two of them bless it. Even more strange was that he had the speakers first and the Sacrament last. They didn't announce this change beforehand so when the bishop got up and started speaking, people were looking around wondering what was going on. We thought he had just forgotten. It wasn't until the stake president got up to speak that he then informed us of the change. Because of the change of other, we got out of the meeting 10 minutes late. Although it seems it was a temporary change, I didn't like it and felt like it disrupted the meeting. I imagine the stake president is doing this in other ward conferences as well. What are thoughts on this? Is this inappropriate or not?

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Re: Switching up Sacrament meeting

Postby lajackson » Sun Feb 09, 2020 2:34 pm

sklarsen37 wrote:What are thoughts on this?

Handbook 2, 18.2.5 explains the usual format for the main session of ward conference, which is a sacrament meeting. But ward conference is under the direction of the stake president and he presides.

I wonder if there was a reason he made the changes you observed. Perhaps there was an emphasis on the importance of the ordinance of the sacrament. It is not at all out of order for the presiding officer to have speakers before the sacrament who discuss the ordinance and its importance. Perhaps that is what happened today.

A change in the usual order of things might be unsettling if the purpose of the change is missed. Ultimately, the presiding officer, in this case the stake president, is responsible for the outcome of the meeting.

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Re: Switching up Sacrament meeting

Postby russellhltn » Sun Feb 09, 2020 2:55 pm

While it is out of the normal order, I don't see anything in the Handbook that dictates the order. The agenda given is a "sample". The ones blessing are "usually". Nothing rises to the level of "should".
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Re: Switching up Sacrament meeting

Postby sklarsen37 » Sun Feb 09, 2020 9:34 pm

Thank you for your responses. That helps to clarify things for me. While it was a bit unsettling, I can see why he might have done it.

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Re: Switching up Sacrament meeting

Postby BarryAndreasen » Mon Feb 10, 2020 2:58 am

I’ve seen this done twice before. Once because there was no bread and someone had to make a trip home to get some, so the ordinance was delayed. The other time also included only MP holders officiating and was done to emphasize the priesthood responsibility (I.e. Melchizedek PH also can/should officiate when assigned).
While the emphasis was not lost, mY takeaway as a Church leader at the time was that maintaining the schedule was difficult as a result. The sacrament ordinance is the one element of this meeting that cannot be modified and yet is still somewhat variable in the time it takes. In order to keep the meeting to the allotted time, other elements can be adjusted by skipping verses, cutting talks short, etc. but the sacrament takes whatever time is required. Placing it at the end of the agenda therefore creates the strong potential therefore that the end time is no longer controllable by whomever presides.

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Re: Switching up Sacrament meeting

Postby drepouille » Mon Feb 10, 2020 6:08 am

When I was baptized over 40 years ago, my stake had a custom of MP-only blessing and passing every Fast Sunday. I always thought that was a general practice until we moved away.
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Re: Switching up Sacrament meeting

Postby scgallafent » Mon Feb 10, 2020 10:31 am

drepouille wrote:When I was baptized over 40 years ago, my stake had a custom of MP-only blessing and passing every Fast Sunday. I always thought that was a general practice until we moved away.

Handbook 2, 20.4.1 specifically declares that to be an anti-pattern: "Where there are enough Aaronic Priesthood holders, Melchizedek Priesthood holders should not be invited to bless and pass the sacrament on a regular schedule."

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