Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or Mormons, love to gather. We gather to worship on Sundays. (Visitors are welcome!) We gather to our temples for marriages and to do work for our kindred dead. We gather for baptisms, midweek scripture study classes, weekly youth activities, camps for girls and Scouts. We gather for meetings just to correlate all of those activities, too.
But sometimes, we gather together just for FUN! When a congregation gathers together for fun we call it a Ward Party.
My ward loves to party. We have three annual parties.
1. The Ward Round Up. This is a cowboy themed party where we round up all the ward members from near and far, who have ever lived in our ward, to eat, ride on hay rides and play carnival games.
2. The Memorial Day Breakfast. Every Memorial Day [US holiday in May to commemorate those who have died while serving in the US military] we meet at a local park for pancakes, a flag ceremony and the inevitable water fight.
3. The Adult Dinner Party. This is our favorite and most beloved ward tradition. Here is an example of an Adult Dinner Party we’ve done recently:
First, the Ward Activity Committee decides on a theme. One time we based our Ward Party on a famous talent search.
Ward members were asked to put together skits or talents to share with an audience of around 250 people. The skits are never perfect, but the fun is in seeing the people I love get together and do silly things.
Next, we ask members of the congregation to bring side dishes and desserts to share and put together a Dinner Committee to make the main dish.
Members of the Relief Society sign up to decorate tables. Here were some of my favorites.
After dinner, we have a live show. After weeks of practicing there are often many mistakes, but we still have a lot of fun laughing together.
We always have a band.
In these pictures the band is playing “Ride, Sally, Ride” and “Proud Mary.” The youth who play instruments are always invited to play in the band.
Here is a picture of my mom in a skit:
Here is my picture of my friend being Napoleon Dynamite [character from a movie with the same name].
And here are pictures of my husband trying to break dance.
There is always a lot of hooting and hollering from the audience. No one can leave a ward party without a smile on their face.
To every thing there is a season.
A time to laugh.
A time to sing.
A time to dance.
(Ecclesiastes, chapter 3)
Our ward parties strengthen us and build unity. Our traditions bring us together and create community. I love the members of my congregation. After living in the same ward for over 25 years, I have been taught, inspired and led by these people. I see it as only fitting that we should have fun together as well!
Please share with us what kinds of parties your ward or branch [both are names of local congregations] like to have. Or share what kind of party you think sounds fun.
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What fun! I loved the way you described work in the temple as “work for our kindred dead”. I’ll enjoy following you. I like an optomist! Buoy each other up!
It sounds like such a fun time. Unity in a church congregation is important ~ the people around us are such a buoy to our faith.
I love our gatherings here because we are small, informal, and mostly Latin. There are so many cultures represented at our potluck dinners – You can eat around the world!
At times it does take an iron stomach and flavor for adventure 🙂
I want to live in Janelle’s ward.
The parties in my ward are pretty lame. But I’m working on it. We had one about two weeks ago and I really really didn’t want to go but as I said to my husband, “our ward parties are lame because no one goes and no one goes because they’re lame and it’s a vicious cycle” so we went in an effort to reverse the cycle. And I have to say it was the best ward party so far. So maybe we’re getting somewhere.