Homemaking: The Flexible Meeting
June 1993

“Homemaking: The Flexible Meeting,” Ensign, June 1993, 67


The Flexible Meeting

Relief Society’s homemaking meeting, with its unlimited possibilities, helps sisters strengthen their homes and lives.

From Ketchikan, Alaska, to Sydney, Australia, Relief Society sisters are tapping the powerful flexibility of homemaking meeting and reaping great benefits. When leaders assess local needs, the result is an amazing variety of classes. For example, young mothers can learn to cut their children’s hair, women with a desire to study the Book of Mormon can meet and discuss the scriptures, widows can study estate planning, another group can exchange patterns for family home evening visual aids, and women who love to sew can make a quilt for the local homeless shelter.

On one designated day or evening each month (not a Sunday or Monday), women gather in sisterhood at homemaking meetings. Here, during the sixty- to ninety-minute activity segment of the meeting, they teach one another practical skills and develop latent talents. Homemaking meetings also include a ten-minute visiting teaching segment and a fifteen-minute Home Management lesson. A luncheon or light dinner often rounds out the meeting and teaches Relief Society sisters cooking and budgeting skills. Relaxing while they eat together, sisters build friendships. It is a place where sisters can just visit and talk.

“Every woman makes a home, and that’s what homemaking is all about—quite literally making a home,” says Relief Society general president Elaine L. Jack. “Maybe you live with a husband and children. You may live with a friend, or you may live alone. Married, single, older, younger, mothering or childless, you make a home, even if you live in someone else’s house.” (“The Door of Home,” address given at Relief Society open house, Salt Lake City, Oct. 1992.)

“When we link this purpose of strengthening homes with the flexibility of homemaking meeting, we have accomplished its design,” says President Jack.

“A change of heart toward homemaking meeting can enable us to see more opportunities in it,” says second counselor Aileen H. Clyde. “Include all sisters. Welcome occasions to listen to each other’s creative thinking. Take time to recognize and celebrate individuals. Remember, a diverse sisterhood is a rich sisterhood.”

And a diverse homemaking program is a rich homemaking program. “In our homes, many of the issues of the world are addressed—whether they are spiritual, social, emotional, or financial,” says President Jack. “We need all the knowledge we can gain and all the support we can get. Homemaking meeting can be the place for us to acquire both.”

These photographs offer a look at some of the kinds of homemaking meeting activities that occur throughout the Church.

Planning with a Purpose

  1. Prepare. Assess the sisters’ needs and decide on the purpose of the activity. This purpose should help accomplish the mission of the Church and the purpose and goals of Relief Society. Make plans that put these objectives into action.

  2. Do. Once a plan has been prayerfully developed, take the steps to carry it out.

  3. Report. Evaluate efforts and report progress and results to leaders. (Relief Society Handbook, p. 29.)

Los Angeles, California, is a sprawling city laced with freeways. Teaching Relief Society sisters how to change a flat tire, what to carry in their cars for emergencies, and basic car maintenance is essential. Several Relief Society units in the Los Angeles California Stake, including this joint meeting of the UCLA and USC student wards, have learned car care basics. (Photo by Jerry Garns.)

Teaching boat and water safety meets the unusual needs of sisters in the Ketchikan Branch, Alaska Anchorage Mission, where traveling by water is common. Here a sister puts on a survival suit, which would serve as protection against icy waters in case of an accident. (Photo by David Loggy.)

Michelle Howard taught herself sign language so that she could communicate with a deaf friend. Now she teaches sign language to sisters in the Baulkham Hills Ward, Sydney Australia Greenwich Stake, so that they can communicate with a sister who is deaf. (Photo by Michelle Howard.)

Sisters in the Boston Branch, Boston Massachusetts Stake, compare notes during a break in a lesson on crisis management. Sisters learn of community programs that provide assistance for those who may need crisis intervention or emotional or mental health services. (Photo by Kent Dayton.)

As part of their focus to encourage reading, Relief Society sisters in the Preston Sixth Ward, Preston Idaho South Stake, sew book bags for the local public library. They also hold reading parties, help children who have difficulty reading, and encourage parents to read to their children. Public service announcements on the local radio station by sisters, along with book displays in the meetinghouse foyer by the Merrie Miss class, also heighten reading awareness. (Photo by Matt Reier.)

Mildred “Pete” Sanders (left), Relief Society president of the Young Branch, Taylor Arizona Stake, says, “We can do more together than we can alone.” By inviting all the women in this town of four hundred people to homemaking meeting each month, “Pete” builds sisterhood among women of all faiths, including Bertha Sparks and Nancy Cagle [photo]. (Photos by Kathy Hunt.)

Soledad Hernandez (left), a native of Colombia, serves sisters in the Westchester Second Ward, New York New York Stake, coconut rice, after teaching them to prepare it. Members in this ward, like those in many wards throughout the Church, enjoy a cultural diversity that enriches everyone. As sisters share food from their various cultures, they increase understanding and appreciation of one another. (Photo by Brent Peterson.)