“Church Welfare Services Consolidated,” Ensign, Dec. 1972, 82
A greater coordination between the Church’s three welfare departments will be brought about by an administrative consolidation announced recently.
Under the new heading of Welfare Services, welfare, social services, and health services will provide for “the total well-being of our members,” according to Presiding Bishop Victor L. Brown.
Welfare Services will be presided over by the General Welfare Services Committee, comprising the Presiding Bishop; his counselors, Bishop H. Burke Peterson and Bishop Vaughn J. Featherstone; and the General Relief Society presidency—President Belle S. Spafford and her counselors, Marianne C. Sharp and Louise W. Madsen.
The active involvement of the Relief Society is also reflected in the wards and stakes. At the ward level, the bishop will head the welfare services committee, assisted by his counselors, the Relief Society presidency, priesthood leaders, the ward clerk, and the executive secretary. A similar organization will exist at the stake level.
Acting as liaison between the General Welfare Services Committee and their respective departments will be Dr. James O. Mason, commissioner of health services; Junior Wright Child, managing director of the Welfare Department; and Victor L. Brown, Jr., associate director of social services. Managing director of social services is Elder Robert L. Simpson, Assistant to the Council of the Twelve.
Glen Van Wagenen has been named assistant director for social services, and Lee H. Nelson has been appointed associate director of the Welfare Department.
The new program is a step toward worldwide Church welfare services that will provide members with local assistance in their economic and their social, health, and emotional needs.
“All the principles we have learned in North America will be shared with the stakes throughout the Church,” according to Victor L. Brown, Jr. “We recognize, of course, that this will take time. Some stakes are close to being able to take on these responsibilities, while with others it will be a gradual maturing process.
“This new program means that the Church is moving ever more vigorously toward the day when it will truly take care of its own. By taking care of its own, I don’t mean that we will try to take care of all of our members from our operations in Salt Lake City. What we are aiming for are services that can be administered at the local community level, tailored to local needs.”
Details of the new services organization are contained in the Welfare Services Handbook, and further instruction and counseling will be provided through Regional Representatives.