Later in the day after the cross-Canada stake conference, the stake presidency of the Lethbridge Alberta Stake announced in a meeting to which the had invited all their members that they were disbanding all the family wards (1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th ,8th).
They announced a realignment of ward boundaries (as well as taking in a portion from the Lethbridge Alberta East Stake) to create five new wards: Coulee Ridge, Chinook, Centennial Park, Legacy, and Park Meadows. Every one who held a ward calling (including elders quorum presidencies and high priest group leaderships) were released except the bishoprics of the former 1st, 2nd and 4th ward (now bishoprics in Coulee Ridge, Chinook, and Centennial Park respectively).
Bishoprics in all five wards have been spending the last two weeks trying to restaff every ward position. As executive secretary (in the former 1st Ward and recently called in the Coulee Ridge Ward), I have been involved in this process.
Our first week, we spent discussing, praying about, and calling ward leadership. The second week we spent discussing and praying recommendations from that ward leadership for staffing in their quorums and auxiliaries. It has been an exhausting, but spiritually fulfilling experience.
In the Coulee Ridge Ward, we take in most of the former 1st Ward, some of the former 2nd Ward, and everything our stake inherited from the East Stake. We are the largest ward, geographically, in the stake.
Our ward leadership is very mixed as far as ward origins. We have presidents and counsellors from all three previous wards, and it was interesting seeing the dynamics of this new leadership team slowly unfold in our first Ward Council meeting this morning.
The Lethbridge First Ward suffered from having many older members and many young, married members, and very few in between. The Coulee Ridge Ward has been blessed with a vast spectrum of families covering all ages. Our ward is now more economically diverse, whereas before we had a lot of people struggling financially and a lot of people very well off.
What’s nice about the changes I have mentioned above is that our ward doesn’t feel like the Lethbridge First Ward with some members of the Second and Fairmont Wards thrown in; it feels like the Coulee Ridge Ward.
Further changes (switching the Primary and Relief Society rooms; moving the Young Women, and moving the priesthood out of the gym and into the old Young Women room; moving Gospel Doctrine out of the chapel and into the new Relief Society room) have further helped establish this as a completely different ward.
I am really excited about these changes. I am sad for the small number of families (fewer than ten) we lost to the Chinook Ward, but we gained several dozen new families who are dedicated and willing to serve.
Being a part of the process has been a great experience, and when it is all one (probably at least two or three more weeks still to go), I think all of it will be valuable for me in the future.