From Bishop Lemburg …


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Hello Sisters and Brothers,

I expect most of you have heard that we will be returning to weekly sacrament meetings beginning Sunday, October 11, as outlined in the email distributed by our Stake Presidency last week. That email covered much of the critical information about the forthcoming changes, but I wanted to reiterate a few points and add a bit of additional information specific to our ward’s plan that I expect some of you are wondering about.

First, beginning on October 11 our weekly sacrament meeting will be held from 1:00 – 2:00 pm. Additionally, we’ll be implementing a second meeting each week that will be held online (not at the church building). More information on each of these meetings is contained below, so keep reading!

Sacrament Meeting (1:00 pm beginning October 11)
We’ve been asked to keep attendance at sacrament meeting to a maximum of 150 individuals, which is a bit more than we’ve had during the last few months when combining totals for the two sessions. The sacrament meeting will have two distinct parts for those attending in person. The first 30-35 minutes will be broadcast via the internet and will include brief announcements/ward business, assigned speakers/testimonies, etc. After the concluding speaker, a closing hymn and benediction will be offered, and the live video broadcast will end. The meeting within the chapel will then continue with the administration of the sacrament, which will be administered using the same process and safeguards as other sacrament meetings held since our return to church in June. More information regarding the specifics of the weekly broadcast will be provided at a later date, so stay tuned.

Sunday School/Priesthood Quorums/Relief Society/Young Women (10:00 am beginning October 11)
We will also implement a second meeting each Sunday to provide instruction for youth and adults that will be delivered via the internet on alternating Sundays, as follows:

• 1st and 3rd Sundays: Sunday School
• 2nd and 4th Sundays: Priesthood quorums, Relief Society and Young Women
• 5th Sundays: Youth and adult meetings under the direction of the bishop
• No meetings will be held for Primary

Given that our sacrament meeting will begin relatively late in the day (1:00 pm), we’re going to hold our “second hour” meeting first, beginning at 10:00 am. This meeting will last 40 minutes and will be held using Zoom as the technology platform. Adult and youth meetings will occur simultaneously in order to minimize the time that families are pulled in separate directions on the Sabbath. I realize this may be problematic for some families due to limited number of devices, bandwidth, etc. If you have concerns about how this will work for your family, please reach out and we’ll work with you to find a solution.

Although the 10:00 am meeting will be held online and you’ll be in your home, please treat it as a regular church meeting. Remember that we’re still coming together to worship the Savior, so even if you choose to keep your camera off, I invite you to dress as you would for a class inside the church – and prepare in advance so you can contribute to the discussions. I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to worship at home with my family, but I’ve truly missed the opportunity to hear insights and life experiences from all of you, so please study in advance and share your thoughts.

We’re here to help!
Efforts are underway now to identify any individuals for which an internet-based meeting will be problematic so please feel free to reach out to a member of the bishopric or any of the ward organization presidencies if this will pose a challenge for you or someone you know. We recognize that there are those in our ward that may be intimidated by the prospect of an internet-based meeting. We will help you! We’ll be developing and distributing step-by-step information on how to login to a Zoom meeting and will have individuals available to provide one-on-one instruction to any who need it. And if none of that is viable, consider the possibility of inviting such a person to your home and take appropriate precautions. We want everyone to have the opportunity to participate, and we may have to get creative in how we do it.

For those with callings which will be directly impacted by the forthcoming changes (e.g., Sunday School instructors, etc.) a meeting will be held well in advance of October 11 to discuss the new framework, provide training applicable to Zoom and ensure you have sufficient time to prepare.

Do not feel obligated to attend the weekly in-person sacrament meeting
As before, you should not feel obligated to attend the weekly sacrament meetings if you believe that doing so will present undue health risks to you or your family. This is particularly true for those that are age 65+ and/or those with underlying health conditions that are at higher risk for having serious complications if they contract COVID-19. Please use your judgment and follow promptings that you receive from the Spirit when making this decision for you and your family. Priesthood holders that would like to administer the sacrament in their homes after weekly sacrament meetings resume on October 11 may do so after receiving authorization from me, so please contact me if this applies to you.

Additionally, we want to ensure that all who desire to partake of the sacrament are able to do so as frequently as desired, so please reach out to the bishopric, the Elders Quorum presidency, or your ministering brothers if you would like to continue to receive the sacrament at home; and if you are a ministering brother, please contact your assigned families to inquire about their needs with respect to receiving the sacrament.

I’m looking forward to the opportunity we’ll have to meet with one another on a weekly basis and to see many of you again with regularity. I’m grateful for the goodness that I’ve witnessed on so many occasions within this ward, and have great confidence that despite the unusual circumstances that we continue to face, we can (and will) grow stronger as we face these challenges together.

Bishop Lemburg