What to do with an extra hour of free time on Sunday? Take a nap? See a third of a soccer game? Are you jogging fast in the park?
Or if you are a member of Latter-day Saint Church of Jesus Christ, teach your children and yourself about your faith.
Starting in January, their weekly Sunday meetings will be shortened from three to two hours. But the extra hour will not be a giveaway as members are encouraged to spend that extra time in home, family-oriented teaching in their faith.
The new Sunday meeting schedule, which changes a three-hour block schedule since 1980, was announced last weekend during the Church’s 188th Semi-Annual General Conference. According to the Church, the goal is to better balance gospel teaching in the home and in the Church.
Members of the Church in Southern Nevada say the revised Sunday meeting schedule has strong support here. While it wasn’t the hottest topic on campus on Monday, the students seem to like the change, said Bruce Hansen, director of the Las Vegas Institute of Religion, which is sponsored by the church and is located next to the UNLV campus.
Students also seemed to realize that in exchange for an hour less in church, they “have more responsibility” to keep the Sabbath holy through family or individual study, Hansen said.
“I think we’re pretty excited about it,” said Tyler Cross, senior and president of the UNLV Association of Latter-day Students, although “we’re trying not to get too dizzy because it’s not just about spending less time have In church. It’s about what we should do with that time. “
Vivian McKay, Relief Society general president for the Harmony Hills Ward, North Las Vegas Stake, said when she heard about the schedule change, “I’ve really started thinking about my own beliefs and those of my children.”
Sometimes she said, “It is so easy to go to church with no spiritual preparation and hold someone else responsible for teaching my children about Jesus.”
In contrast, the new schedule emphasizes that “I need to be more active in teaching my children,” McKay said.
According to the revised Sunday schedule, the weekly sacrament meeting will last about an hour, a little less than it is now. Jason Morris, president of the McCullough Hills Henderson Stake, said sacrament meeting is “the essence of the Sabbath” during which “we stand before the Lord and promise Him to live His gospel.”
Then the second hour of the new timetable consists of lessons and lessons for children, adolescents and adult men and women.
In conjunction with the revised Sunday meeting schedule, the Church will publish a new gospel study curriculum, tailored to the directions of Church members.
Kevin Beck, bishop of the Pinnacle Ward, Spring Mountains Stake, hopes Church members “use this extra hour to study the gospel in the home where it really should be. Learning and education should take place at home, and the Church … reinforces what you are learning. “
Morris said he has already heard from Church members who welcome accepting the challenge. “They are excited about the opportunities that are offered to them and make this time worthwhile, uplifting, and meaningful.”
Contact John Przybys at jprzybys @ reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0280. Follow @JJPrzybys on Twitter.