Founded in 1842 in Nauvoo, Illinois, USA, the Relief Society is one of the oldest and largest women’s organizations in the world, claiming more than 6 million members in over 170 countries and territories.
This evening I met with over seventy women from Greenville’s 1st and 2nd Wards to celebrate the birthday of our organization. The fellowship was so warm and fun it was hard to leave the building at the end of our birthday celebration. The young women baby setting small children did an excellent job so the mothers could attend. The small babies, of course, as is custom in our faith remained with their mothers.
The evening began with a blessing over the food and then we all dug into barbecue beef (some of the best I’ve had in a long time), potato casseroles and salads. And for desert one of the sisters made a sheet cake that was delicious plus on the desert table were brownies, cookies and donut holes piled up in a large bowl and looked like it belonged on the cover of Martha Stewart magazine. I ate too much! But, then at these things I am a self admitted pig who has to taste a little of everything.
Each of the twelve tables were decorated for one of the months of the year. You picked your birthday month and sat at that table. Nice to mix it up with the sisters! I was at the January table with Julie (my brand new friend as of tonight) who just happens to be the sister-in-law of a co-worker of mine. Julie and I admitted it was a small world, indeed. Our table decorations were of New Years, all sparkles and snowmen. I liked June the best (a bowl of sea shells with a girl in the middle being sea-wind blown in her white long dress) All the other tables were nice as well. A lot of thought went into each table scape.
Around the room were beautifully wrapped large boxes with large mesh and cloth ribbons. Birthday banners and streamers were placed around the room. Those in charge this year really did an amazing job.
Then the games began! That’s right folks we had a real birthday party with games and the games were fun to participate in and fun to watch. I was a watcher! But, then I’m on my way to being as old as dirt so my locking fannies with others doing musical chairs was out of the question. There were other games as well but I was busy talking to my new friend Julie so I did not put the 13 Articles of Faith in order (already know I’d win that one!) nor did I do some sort of dart or peg game. That game was too far away from where I was seated for me to give a definitive description. The sisters who were playing it seemed to be having a good time though.
Then Becky Rappleyea gave a ‘Spiritual Thought’ and nearly cried during the giving of it (it’s a LDS woman thing, I think, although I never cry, well, nearly never) then, she was followed by a musical number by Miranda Pratt. Afterwards, we watched a very short video about Relief Society and then Jennie Jones gave an inspirational closing prayer.
I will give you a short description of what Relief Society is all about for those following this blog who do not know:
“The official objectives of Relief Society are to: (1) build faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and teach the doctrines of the kingdom of God; (2) emphasize the divine worth of each sister; (3) exercise charity and nurture those in need; (4) strengthen and protect families; (5) serve and support each sister; and (6) help sisters become full participants in the blessings of the priesthood.”
The motto of the Relief Society, which is found in Moroni 7:46 as well as 1 Corinthians 13:8, is “Charity never faileth”. This is something I hear often in our weekly meetings. It is important to tell you that a lot of good works are done by the Relief Society not only for the members of our church but for the community at large. It is also important for me to tell you that I treasure my membership and that being loved and accepted by my fellow members has meant so much to me over the years.
At the end of the evening bookmarks and pencils were handed out to each sister along with a piece of chocolate. I guess they didn’t think we were sweet enough after all the brownies, cake and cookies and kisses spread on each table. The bookmark had the inscription “Charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever, and whoso is found of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.” Morini 7:47 just as a reminder, I am sure, of what Relief Society is all about.
Oh, yes and during Sister Rappleyen’s talk she asked all of us to stand and hug the sister next to us. And good hugs were given too. I, for one, love a good hug and give them as often as I can. Hugs are what make the sole all warm and fuzzy from the tip of your head to the tip of your toes. Hugs are wonderful. Of course, we did not limit the hug to the sister next to us because most of us traveled over to the next table and hugged them too!
Then all of us left the meeting house and emptied out the parking lot of our cars for home.