Ushering for Conference

I’ve been meaning to post this for a while now, but it was such a mess that it’s taken me this long to make sure I’ve written it accurately. It’s a great story with intrigue, plot twists, and a wonderful climax (okay, not really, but it is a great story).

Three weeks before General Conference–Our ward is asked by Bro. B from the high council to handle the ushering in the stake center for General Conference. We are also asked to set up and take down the chairs in the gym for the Priesthood session. Because our ward is so large, the High Priests are tasked with the ushering and the two Elders Quorums divide up the chairs. My quorum is tasked with removal.

Now I should point out that we traditionally don’t hold any sessions of General Conference in the stake center because of all the students in our area. We normally use another building in the stake, but our stake recently absorbed two other wards from a neighboring stake, so the thought was that we’d need both the stake center and the other building.

Two weeks before General Conference–After organizing my assignment, I find out that the HPs can’t fulfill the ushering assignments on their own, and I volunteer to take the Sunday Morning session off their hands.

10 days before General Conference–I find out that there is some confusion about whether or not we will actually be doing all sessions of Conference in the stake center. The rumor is that we’ll only be doing Priesthood session. I put my ushers on hold.

7 days before General Conference–I find out from the HP Group Leader that we will definitely be doing all sessions of Conference in the stake center. I contact my ushers and put them back on.

4 days before General Conference–The bishop from another ward in our building contacts me to ask that we not do the chairs before 3:00 PM on Saturday because his ward has a funeral that day from 12:00 to 3:00. When I point out that that would be during one of the sessions of Conference (which would interrupt the people attending Conference), he tells me that the stake center is NOT doing Conference. Because of that information, I call my ushers and put them back on hold.

3 days before General Conference–The HP Group Leader contacts me to tell me that the stake center will be doing all sessions of Conference and that the other ward will have to work around Conference.

At the same time, the HP Group Leader announces that Bro. B (the high councilman over this entire assignment) has had a heart attack and died. Not even kidding. (Brother B. was a good man by the way, and I admired him.)

I keep my ushers on hold.

2 days before General Conference–The HP Group Leader calls to tell me that the Stake Presidency said that they would be doing Conference in the stake center. I call all my thoroughly confused ushers to tell them that they are definitely back on.

1 day before General Conference–I receive an e-mail from the Stake Executive Secretary sent to the entire stake stating that Conference, with the exception of Priesthood, will NOT be held in the stake center and that the members should go to the other building. I call and cancel my ushers and tell the HP Group Leader I am doing so, citing the e-mail from the stake presidency.

Later that same day, I am told that the e-mail is incorrect and that Conference will be held in the stake center…. Sigh…. Are you noticing a pattern yet?

With that news, I throw my hands in the air, and tell everyone that I’m not going to ask my ushers to do it after I’ve canceled, put them on hold, or asked them to do it umpteen times. I promise instead to show up at the church Sunday morning and do it all myself.

Sunday morning–While sitting in the lobby waiting to complete my ushering assignment, one of the stake clerks shows up at the stake center and tapes a sign to the door that says, “Conference will NOT be broadcast at the stake center.”

Sigh…

I don’t really blame anyone. The convergence of changing traditions, absorbing two entire wards, and the passing of the high councilman in charge of the assignment surely contributed to the confusion. It’s just one of those things that make you smile and nod and throw out the cliche that “the Church is true…. The Church is true….”

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5 Responses to Ushering for Conference

  1. Sarah B says:

    Honest question: Is there a need to usher and set up chairs in church buildings in Utah? For sessions other than the Priesthood session?

    Was your stake encouraging families to participate in Conference by watching it in a church building? Is this part of the changing tradition?

    Our bishop asked people to attend Conference at the Stake Center rather than at home, but very few showed up (we already planned to be there because we don’t have cable or the internet).

  2. daveloveless says:

    I think the ushering is just tradition. Our stake is VERY old as far as its history goes, and the ushering is probably just part of the tradition. But I agree with you. I think having a person in authority there is essential, but ushers? Outside of priesthood session, I don’t think ushers are necessary.

  3. Sarah L. says:

    : O

  4. aleisha says:

    wow….

  5. nosurfgirl says:

    Lol.

    I’ve had a few of those smile-and-nod occasions. But nothing as logistically frustrating as what you described. I bet my husband has, though… hate to say it, but I think the priesthood in the church sometimes has organizational difficulties. Whereas us R.S. sisters… well. Sometimes we are pathologically organized. Down to ordering the exact number of fake flowers for an enrichment dinner and planning seating charts and table diagrams. We have meetings wherein we plan on the exact colors we’ll dye the whipped cream for Young Women In Excellence, as well as speaking assignments and costumes for dinner entertainment. We fold our napkins in the shape of swans and tie ribbons around our perfectly formed stacks of chocolate chip cookies that we give to our visiting teachees.

    Which way would you rather have it? Honestly, for me… I’m not sure what I’d choose. 🙂

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