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May 18, 2014

A Great Re-WARD

A Great Re-WARD

WARD???  The vernacular of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) can be a little strange sometimes.  No, we are not sick in a hospital or eating gumbo in a parish in Louisiana – we are a congregation of members of the LDS Church in Cedar Hills Utah, formally known as Cedar Hills 10th Ward.  Maybe a strange name but definitely an inspired setup!

One of the beauties of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is the way wards/congregations are organized and how they function.  There are about 29,000 of these wards around the world.  One unique thing is that we do not choose which ward we attend nor do we choose who or where we serve.  Ward boundaries are geographic – we are assigned a ward, a building, and a time to meet based on where we live – but these boundaries may be fluid and change over time as new wards are created or as population shifts.

Once a ward is established, a regional Church leader (Stake President) under Divine inspiration and with approval from Church headquarters calls from within the ward, a Bishop to lead that ward for a period of time.  This calling like all other callings in the ward is a lay, non-paid calling.  The Bishop then calls two counselors and together by inspiration they call other leaders in the ward. Those leaders call counselors, teachers, and others to help in their ministries.  Most of the men and young men are assigned different families of the ward to care for and to watch over in what we call Home Teaching.  The women as well are assigned as visiting teachers to care for other women in the ward.  By the time a Ward is organized and functioning, almost all of the members have significant responsibilities to carry out the work of the ward and to serve other members.

So to summarize – we don’t choose what ward we attend, we don’t choose what Bishop will lead us, we don’t choose the time we attend Church or the building we meet in, and we don’t choose the calling or responsibility we are given in the ward.  Sound counterproductive?  Well, the miracle is that it works miraculously!

I have had the privilege of serving as Bishop of our Cedar Hills 10th Ward for about two years now and I am so grateful for the wonderful people in the ward that make things work.  I have two great counselors and a secretary and clerk that are wise, faithful and inspired in their service.  I love the leadership of the ward and what they are doing with their organizations – the children (Primary), the youth (Young Women & Young Men), the Sunday School, the adults (Relief Society and Priesthood Leaders) and those in charge of other aspects like missionary work and temple work.  I so appreciate everyone in the ward that so willingly accepts a calling to serve and then adjusts his/her life to make that service an integral part of their life – whether it be serving as a Cub Scout Leader, a nursery leader, a teacher, an advisor, a building cleaner, a secretary or any one of dozens of other callings.  I see the love developed between those that are serving and those that are served and I know it is the Lord’s work!

Additionally I see our ward coming together to welcome new babies as they are born and to eulogize those of our congregation who pass away.  I see love and concern, fasting and prayers for those who are sick, or unemployed, or lonely, or facing tough family situations.  Generous funds are donated to help those who are struggling within the ward.  I love seeing the efforts made to share the gospel, to do Family History work, to attend and/or work at our beautiful temple.

Thank you all who are members of this good ward.  I love you and appreciate you.  We are not perfect and there is more work to do, but I know that working together we can accomplish what the Lord expects of us.  I look forward to serving side-by-side with you as long as we are together as a ward.  I feel I have had my re-WARD just working with you!!

Bishop Bruce Curtis

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