Be the Change
I love to travel, and one of things that I often do is attend church. Sometimes it is not an LDS service, and sometimes it is. It is always interesting to see how other people do things. Several years ago, in Hawaii, a young woman was being honored for receiving her Young Womanhood Recognition award. The Stake Young Women’s presidency came to the pulpit, called the young sister up, and spoke at length about her projects and character. She was then presented with her medallion and a beautiful lei, accompanied by warm embraces. It was very touching to me.
Last weekend I attended church in New York City. The bishop first asked the Primary President to come forward, calling her “President”. Then, the Primary President invited a twelve year old girl to come to the pulpit. What a splendid girl! Long braids swinging, skirt with constellations and stars on it, rainbow stripe knee-high socks, tennis shoes, and such a smile on her face! The Primary President spoke about this primary graduate’s accomplishments in Activity Days, and told the congregation about her special gift for helping others feel loved. She mentioned that the primary would miss this wonderful girl and that the young women would be lucky to have her. Then the bishop asked everyone to raise their hand in a gesture of appreciation and support as this daughter of the ward transitioned into the next phase of her religious life. Everyone was smiling.
I ache for significant, systemic changes in the way women participate in our church. Both of these examples help me realize that there are many ways, on a personal, local level, that we can improve the experiences that sisters have in church. They may feel like drops in a bucket, but they are still felt. Leaders that exercise sensitivity and creativity can and do make a difference. The culture and traditions of a ward or stake can be significant.
How can I better recognize and appreciate the gifts and accomplishments of my sisters and brothers?