“Including Singles,” Ensign, Jan. 2004, 69
One of our foremost goals as Church members is to help everyone feel welcome, appreciated, and comfortable when they attend meetings and activities. Through small means we can become more mindful of those who have never married and those who are divorced, separated, or widowed or who have a less-active or nonmember spouse. The following suggestions can enhance interactions among all members of the Church, regardless of their marital status:
Include singles at Church socials and other events. When setting tables for ward socials, arrange an odd number of seats at some tables. This simple arrangement may resolve singles’ concerns that they might be taking a spouse’s seat. Invite singles to join your table, or call ahead with an invitation. Ask them to join you for Church classes and other meetings. Home teachers and visiting teachers can also offer rides or extend invitations.
Single members can introduce themselves and show interest in others. Remember, some people may not think to include singles, especially if they’re preoccupied with family or other matters.
Expand lesson topics that are specific to marriage. Teachers who must address topics specific to marriage could broaden the lesson’s focus to include singles and their experiences. For instance, a lesson on improving marital relationships could be expanded to include ideas for improving interpersonal relationships. Singles can also benefit from lessons primarily focused on marriage relationships by pulling out the “nuggets of truth” that apply to all relationships.
Be inclusive when making ward temple plans. Leaders should remember to invite singles to participate in temple assignments.
Regardless of our circumstances, each member of the Church, whether single or married, is responsible for his or her own attitudes, behaviors, and actions. All Church members should reach out to those who are alone, to be inclusive rather than exclusive. We should remember that we are all “fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God” (Eph. 2:19).
Lori Smith, Val Verda Ninth Ward, Bountiful Utah Val Verda Stake