“15. Stake Organization,” Handbook 2: Administering the Church (2019)
“15. Stake Organization,” Handbook 2
The stake presidency and other stake leaders work together to teach and support ward leaders. This chapter outlines the general organization of the stake and explains the relationship between stake and ward organizations. Detailed instructions for the stake president are found in Handbook 1.
The stake president and his counselors call and set apart stake leaders as outlined in the Chart of Callings in chapter 19.
The stake president personally has responsibility for the stake Relief Society. He assigns his counselors responsibility for the other stake organizations: Young Men, Young Women, Primary, and Sunday School. These counselors ensure that members of organization presidencies are instructed in their duties.
The stake president also assigns his counselors to oversee efforts with stake activities, young single adults, single adults (as needed), Church magazines, public affairs (as needed), music, seminary and institute, and physical facilities.
Members of the stake presidency meet regularly with the presidencies of the organizations to which they are assigned. In these meetings, participants counsel together about the progress and needs of members in the organizations.
Members of the stake presidency also meet regularly with committees and specialists in the other programs to which they are assigned.
The stake president presides over the high council and the stake council. He also presides over stake disciplinary councils. He assigns his counselors to preside over the stake Aaronic Priesthood–Young Women committee, the stake young single adult committee, and the stake single adult committee (where organized).
The responsibilities of the stake clerk, assistant stake clerks, and stake executive secretary are outlined in Handbook 1, 13.3.2 through 13.3.4.
The stake presidency calls 12 high priests to form the stake high council (see Doctrine and Covenants 102:1). If an elder is called to serve on the high council, he must be ordained a high priest before he is set apart.
Under the direction of the stake presidency, high councilors help oversee the work of the Church in the stake. They have advisory and administrative responsibilities as described in the following paragraphs.
High councilors counsel about and sustain the stake presidency’s decisions to ordain brethren to the offices of elder and high priest. The stake president may authorize high councilors to represent him when men are ordained to the offices of elder and high priest.
High councilors also counsel about and sustain the stake presidency’s decisions to issue callings to members. For some callings, the stake presidency may authorize high councilors to represent them in issuing the callings, presenting members to be sustained, and setting members apart as indicated in chapter 19.
To assist them in overseeing the Melchizedek Priesthood, the stake presidency assigns a high councilor to represent them in each elders quorum, ward, and branch in the stake. In this role, high councilors orient newly called elders quorum presidencies. They also provide ongoing encouragement, support, and instruction for these leaders, including instruction based on chapters 1–7 of this handbook. They meet with these leaders regularly to learn of their needs, teach them their duties, and communicate information from the stake presidency. They periodically attend meetings of the elders quorum, including elders quorum presidency meetings. They also attend bishopric and ward council meetings if invited or assigned.
The stake presidency calls a high councilor to serve as stake Young Men president. The counselors in the stake Young Men presidency can be brethren called from the membership of the stake. Or, based upon local circumstances, they can be the high councilors assigned to Young Women and Primary. A brother from the membership of the stake may be called as stake Young Men secretary.
The stake presidency calls a high councilor to serve as the stake Sunday School president. If assigned, he can serve on the stake Aaronic Priesthood–Young Women committee. The stake Sunday School president can serve with or without counselors and a secretary. If he has counselors and a secretary, they are brethren called from the membership of the stake.
Under the direction of the stake presidency, the high councilors assigned to the stake Aaronic Priesthood–Young Women committee can serve as a resource to the bishop and Aaronic Priesthood quorums in a manner similar to the service provided by high councilors to ward elders quorums.
The stake presidency assigns high councilors to work with the stake organizations and programs listed in 15.1.2 (except for Church magazines if the stake executive secretary or someone else is assigned this responsibility). When a member of the stake presidency meets with a stake organization presidency, the assigned high councilor attends this meeting. High councilors also attend the stake leadership meetings for the organizations to which they are assigned.
The stake presidency may assign high councilors to represent them by speaking in sacrament meetings and other settings. The stake presidency determines the frequency of these speaking assignments. It is not necessary for high councilors to speak in sacrament meeting every month.
All high councilors serve on the stake council.
As directed by the stake presidency, high councilors participate in stake disciplinary councils (see Handbook 1, chapter 6).
The stake presidency may assign high councilors to serve on other committees as needed. For example, high councilors who are assigned to work with elders quorums may meet as a Melchizedek Priesthood committee. High councilors with assignments relating to Aaronic Priesthood quorums, the Young Women organization, the Primary, and, when invited, the Sunday School, meet as a stake Aaronic Priesthood–Young Women committee.
The high council does not meet unless a member of the stake presidency is present.
The Young Men, Relief Society, Young Women, Primary, and Sunday School organizations are each led by a presidency that serves under the direction of the stake presidency.
The members of the stake Young Men presidency are Melchizedek Priesthood holders (a high councilor serves as stake Young Men president).
The members of the stake Sunday School presidency are also priesthood holders (a high councilor serves as stake Sunday School president). Where possible, counselors should hold the Melchizedek Priesthood.
The members of the presidencies of the Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary are women.
This chapter outlines the responsibilities that stake organization leaders have in common. In addition, the stake Relief Society and Sunday School presidencies have some responsibilities that are unique to their organizations. Those responsibilities are outlined in 9.8.2 and 12.7.3, respectively.
The principal responsibilities of stake organization presidencies are to assist the stake presidency and to instruct and support ward organization presidencies. They do not fulfill assignments that should be fulfilled on the ward or family level.
Stake organization presidencies have the following responsibilities:
They orient newly called ward organization presidencies. They also provide ongoing encouragement, support, and instruction for ward organization presidencies and teachers. They should base some of their instruction on chapters 1–6 in this handbook and the chapter for their organization. They meet with these leaders regularly to learn of their needs, discuss the needs of the members they serve, and communicate information from the stake presidency. Periodically they visit ward meetings and classes as arranged with ward leaders.
They instruct ward organization leaders in stake leadership meetings, which are generally held once a year. If local circumstances and travel time do not put undue burdens on leaders, the stake presidency may authorize a second leadership meeting each year. (See 18.3.11.) Bishops may request additional instruction for ward organization presidencies.
Members of organization presidencies counsel together regularly in their own presidency meetings. They also meet regularly with the member of the stake presidency who has responsibility for their work and the high councilor assigned to their organization.
Organization presidents serve on the stake council. As members of this council, they participate in efforts to build faith and strengthen individuals and families in the stake.
The stake Relief Society presidency identifies the needs of local sisters and considers whether stake or multistake activities would help meet those needs. These leaders then recommend activities to the stake presidency. Occasionally stake or multistake activities for women may include young women and girls ages 8 and older. The stake Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary presidencies counsel together to recommend such activities to the stake presidency (see 13.3.1).
Organization presidents submit recommendations to the stake presidency about members who may be called to serve in their organizations. In making these recommendations, they follow the guidelines in 19.1.1 and 19.1.2.
Under the direction of stake organization presidents, stake organization secretaries have the following responsibilities:
They prepare agendas for presidency meetings.
They attend presidency meetings, take notes, and keep track of assignments.
They keep other records and prepare reports as the presidency requests.
They help prepare the annual budget for their organization and account for expenses.
They provide training for ward organization secretaries as assigned. This training may include instruction on recording and reporting attendance.
The stake presidency may also call and set apart public affairs specialists to help increase positive awareness of the Church and to build bridges of friendship and understanding in the community. Information for public affairs specialists is available in the Serving in the Church section of ChurchofJesusChrist.org. These specialists serve under the direction of the stake public affairs director.
If distances, travel costs, communication resources, or leadership resources make the administration of stake programs challenging, the stake presidency may adapt the guidelines in this chapter. In doing so, they ensure that ward leaders receive the training they need.