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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Confessions of a Mormon Sacrament Meeting Bulletin Coordinator

(Loosely inspired by Confessions of a Mormon Bishop.)

I got to bed late Saturday night, but I couldn't sleep. I'm sure my fellow ward members were calmly enjoying their Saturday night, while serenely awaiting the spiritual feast that surely awaited us all the next day.

My mind raced. I still had so many questions, so much frustration, such feelings of inadequacy.

Welcome to the life of a Mormon Sacrament Meeting Bulletin Coordinator.

Like other administrative warriors, in many religions, I spent hours on the phone and online, fussing over whether I had managed to collect all the pertinent information necessary for people to make paper airplanes out of my bulletin tomorrow.

My job is not just to compile a reasonably accurate chronology of local as well as stake events; I have to include a ward leadership directory so that people can have accurate phone numbers of anyone they need to call. It must be more accurate than the online directory the clerk's compile, because people actually use mine.

I also have to include who will be responsible for cleaning the building over the course of the next week and beyond. Never mind if they actually do it, but it has to be documented.

Also, I have to make certain the children's assignments for Primary are included, so that parent's have deniability when their children are not prepared for the next week. If I didn't put it on the bulletin, they might actually remember their children's assignments. (Wait, did I get this right?)

Each responsibility in compiling the bulletin is different because every ward is different.

I carefully constructed the bulletin to comply with the golden mean, put information in an inverted "M," selected a typeface and point size so that the visually impaired could read it easily. In fact, I utilized every graphic design principle and information rule that I learned in library school. But, no, they will make paper airplanes. . .

In fact, my husband even coached one young participant on the art of making paper airplanes out of my bulletins. His paper airplanes have incredible glide and distance. My husband's contributions to my efforts are invaluable.

I have learned that no matter how many times I contact someone, they will invariable forget to tell me some crucial detail necessary for fully participating in the Lord's true church.

I have learned that this is not a "calling" it is an "assignment." That is the cross I must bear. There will be no MLS listing for me.

I have learned that no one considers their giving me a bulletin item may actually increase attendance at ill-conceived events better than a cryptic comment; given as an afterthought in one of our meetings, that no one has time to write down.

I have learned that no matter how many bulletins I hand out on Sunday morning (and even though I put the extras close to the door) people will insist they didn't get one.

I have learned that no matter how many people tell me they will call me with announcements, they almost never do.

I have learned that the most important announcements that should be placed in the bulletin will never reach me.

I have learned that, if I do make mistakes in the bulletin, almost no one will bring them to my attention. (How many weeks did I list "Branch and Stake Business" instead of "Ward and Stake Business"?)

I have learned that nobody will notice if I stretch out the picture of our building to fit the column I place it in. Elongating buildings is not a forgiveness issue. (See picture below for how it really looks.)

I have learned that no matter how much education and training I have, even the lowliest church responsibility is a privilege and I must be content with what God has allotted to me.

Mine is a solitary life.

Late last night, as I pondered all of this, I decided I needed to write down what interacting with all of these people is teaching me.

And, I wanted to share it.

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