Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Without Representation

While Trixie and Roxie have moved on to family wards, I'm still in a singles ward, one of two in my stake. Despite the fact that we make up 20% of the membership of the stake, I don't think they really know what to do with us.

I actually like singles wards, most of the time. I tend to approach them on my terms - not overwhelming myself with trying to attend everything and please everyone, not stressing out about being popular, and remembering to focus on why I'm really attending church.

That said, I recently participated in a stake activity in which each ward was asked to contribute a certain portion of the evening, and I was in charge of my ward's contribution. At the activity, those of us involved from my ward quickly realized we hadn't been given all the guidelines, and would, therefore, stick out from everyone else. When we approached the organizer, she said "Every ward was given the information. At least you have something. You didn't have anything last year."

Of course, it could have happened to any ward, and there were four that didn't participate at all. Unfortunately, considering her response and that our contribution was not exactly well received, being so "out there" from everyone else, it really felt like she and everyone else were saying "Well, that's the singles ward, they do things differently." In talking to the friends I'd worked with on this, who were also embarrassed, I'm not the only one who felt that way.

I also discovered recently that we don't really have representation on the stake level. I understand not having anyone in certain priesthood offices, as those men are generally older, but we don't really even have anyone involved in any of the auxiliaries like the Activities Committee or Relief Society. I think someone from the other singles ward was recently called to the Primary, so I guess that's someone, but it doesn't really have any affect on any other single than her.

While we don't want to be treated differently than any other adult and what should work for the married adults should work for us, I still think it would be good to have representation on stake committees from every ward, even to just as a liason for things like non-Priesthood activities. The bishop does have authority and responsibility for our ward, but he's a busy man and can't be expected to remember to filter every piece of information from every committee to every person who needs to know about it. That's why there is delegation and counselors and auxiliary presidents and committee chairs/members.

In a previous stake, during a reorganization, my ward, the singles ward, was moved to a new building and the latest start time in the stake, because we were the singles. Ranting about it in another online forum, a married woman (who doesn't belong to that stake and whom I don't know) actually confirmed it by saying we have the crappy time because we don't have kids. It sounded like a punishment, the way she put it. Yes, kids wouldn't fare so well with late church. They have nap times and schedules. But, so do adults. The most faithful, I would hope, would attend at any time, because it's being there that's imporant. Unfortunately, our attendance actually dropped until the stake gave in and changed our start time to earlier.

It sometimes feels like stake leadership doesn't know what to do with singles wards, but I hope I'm wrong. I don't know. I'm mostly just ranting at this point. As has been discussed ad nauseum, here and elsewhere, being a single adult in a Church so focused on marriage and family is a strange experience.


Amy said...

Every stake has a high councilor who is over the singles (just like another may have the assignment to be over the Primary, or the blood drive). There should be regular meetings of the ward representatives, and of the singles reps for the stake. Some high councilors take the assignment more seriously than others...

Jinxie said...

We do have a high councilor over our ward. I don't know if he meets with anyone in our ward except the bishopric, but maybe he does.

Roxie said...

Part of why I stopped attending the single's wards was because I felt like everyone had no idea what to do with single people and felt awkward around them. Those ages are when the most people stop attending Church. They need to feel less like unwanted awkwardness and more welcome and included. I hope I can remember that if I'm ever given a chance to work with a single's ward.

Jinxie said...

Knowing you Roxie, I think you will. :)

Amy said...

Not just a high councilor over your ward, but a high councilor who has the assignment to represent the singles and organize stake level activities, etc. I think there may even be one assigned to the 18-31 and another assigned to the 31 and over. I was a stake rep when I lived in Vegas, and we were able to work with the high council rep over the 31 and over to get a mid-singles group going. The high councilor was very great in helping us make this happen.
My stake president also had the responsibility for the singles in the region, so maybe we were better organized because of that.

Jinxie said...

Yours sounds like a good situation. Aside from conducting stake business in our ward, I have no idea what our high councilor does. Sad, but true.