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The Manhattan Singles Shake-up

September 12, 2010

Today at church our ward boundaries were reset. Surprise! The meeting really felt good. I’m now in the Harlem 3rd Ward, and we’re moving to the Harlem chapel (see map). In my church congregations are assigned geographically and are known as wards and branches. Groups of wards and branches are called stakes. It’s so amazing how quickly and seamlessly these changes can happen in the church.

I’m excited about this! For years the Manhattan 8th Ward, my old ward, has been the flagship singles ward here. It’s the one a lot of people try to move into. This change makes the Harlem Ward the largest singles ward of the four singles wards in the stake (over half the members of our stake are single). It’s suddenly become the largest ward, and I think there will be a real focus on service, in an area where it’s really needed.

The stake president talked about how clearly he felt that Harlem needs to be the center of the church in New York. There’s now an English ward, a Spanish ward, and a singles ward there. We, as singles, are needed to be examples for and to serve the youth in that area. Many of them are trying to make changes, and they need to be able to see models as they do. Super exciting. In my opinion, single adults need to serve, and they’re a great resource for doing so. Sister Beck had the vision on that one a few years ago. Anyway, I feel really fortunate to be able to have been a part of both congregations.

It’s also been such a blessing to see great examples of people around me embracing and supporting this change. One friend is staying in the Manhattan 8th while many others are moving to Harlem. She was intent and smiling throughout the meeting, and the first thing she said to me afterward was, “I know I’m in the right ward!” Others who have really worked to set up good activities and organization here were enthusiastic and uncomplaining about letting all of that go as we move. I watched them support something bigger than they are individually, and I hope my heart took good notes.

The new bishop of the Manhattan 8th ward spoke, and it was terrific. He cited several examples of the three generations before him sacrificing, and how that has allowed him to be in the circumstances he enjoys now. He said that we often talk of blessings coming of sacrifice, but that “those blessings don’t always come to the one who made the sacrifice.” I felt the truth of that right to my bones. I enjoy all kinds of privileges because of the work and faith of others, those who have come before me and those who fill my life now, have just chosen to live well, and consequently rub off good blessings onto me. And I hope that blessings come down the road for things I may decide to give up now, whether I get to seem them or not.

Love this church, its network, and its organization. It’s a veritable embarrassment of riches.

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