[Sisters, we thought you'd enjoy reading our official history. We had a great year didn't we?!]
2009 History of the Valley Forge First Ward Relief Society
The year 2009 brought a change in our Relief Society Presidency. The former presidency consisted of Deb Chiapelli, president, Jill Fairchild, education counselor, Amanda Hall, enrichment counselor, and Paige Hanna as secretary. They have served faithfully for several years and we thank them for their example and faithfulness.
The new presidency was sustained on March 1, 2009 with Nancy Martin as president, Ellen King as education counselor, Jill Fairchild as enrichment counselor, and Devon Linn as secretary. Teachers this year were Marie Tiller, Sarah Galbraith, Sandy Fultz, Cheryl Wentzel and Margie Clark, with Meredith DuPass as pianist, and Miranda Searle conducting our music. Our curriculum included the Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith and selected conference talks, along with presidency lessons focusing on topics from the Relief Society Declaration. Amanda Hall served as Enrichment leader, Sarah Kinghorn and Shellie Blake as the Compassionate Service leaders and Shoba Nair as the Visiting Teaching coordinator. We so appreciate the dedicated service of these sisters.
An informal blog (valleyforgewoman.blogspot.com) was started late in 2008 by Paige Hanna and continued by Ellen King. Originally meant for announcements and reminders, the blog evolved through the year. It’s purpose now is to encourage the women of the ward to build friendships, support and lift one another, and stay connected. It also is a source of spiritual education through links to enriching content on the web and summaries of our Sunday lessons. It is a place for sharing, for many of our sisters have contributed by writing about the gospel in action in their lives, spiritual insights from being an LDS woman, or by just submitting favorite recipes. It has also become a resource for important announcements and church news, lesson and activity schedules, and links to sisters’ blogs where we may rejoice and console one another in the highs and lows of our lives.
We said good-bye this year to long-time ward member sister Anna Mae Collins who passed away in January. We opened our arms to an influx of young sisters here with their husbands for summer employment, and made friends quickly knowing our time was short. We welcomed 12 ( ! ) new babies into the world to these families: Fultzes (Crystal), Flinders, Cabots, Kinghorns, Wolfs, Arthurs, Bringhursts, Halls, L'Heureuxes, Fultzes (Sara), Dixons and Christensens. We congratulated Michelle Leighton on finishing a bachelor's degree and welcomed graduating high school seniors Kylie Hood, Dominique Chavous, Breckyn Moore, and Albany Blake to Relief Society in the spring. We rejoiced in Jill Fulop’s baptism on August 30th as she joined our sisterhood officially.
This fall we received new direction from the General Relief Society presidency regarding Personal, Home and Family Enrichment meetings. They are now called just Relief Society Meetings. We’ve been charged to use these weekday meetings to better meet the individual needs of the sisters in our ward. The purpose of weekday Relief Society meetings is to learn and practice skills that will help us increase faith and personal righteousness, strengthen families and homes, provide service to those in need and progress toward eternal life. In the Valley Forge First ward we have done that through:
Giving compassionate service. We made heart pillows for hospice patients, cleaned and organized the ward kitchen, provided clothes and household items for several new sisters needing a new start, sewed curtains for a children’s home, gathered food for a local food bank, delivered donated clothing to members in the city, cooked and served food for Youth Conference, and learned some new craft ideas to make and share with others.
Attending the temple together. Several trips to the Washington DC temple were taken as a group. We look forward to attending the new temple to be built in Philadelphia (announced October 2008). Several lessons and enrichment activities focused on family history, the new Familysearch.org and participating in the Indexing program.
Gathering together purposefully in large and small groups. We met several times as a whole for a “Purse”-sonal Enrichment activity where we thought more deeply about the priorities in our lives; to celebrate womanhood together; for a Visiting Teaching conference on Mother’s day; and for a getting-to-know-you-better mixer and “beach” party to increase unity and share testimonies. Smaller groups met for Mentoring Moms to set goals, be motivated, support one another, and report on progress; for Book club to discuss the truths in current and classic literature and enjoy a light meal together; and for Mad Skilz where subject-matter “experts” (we as sisters) demonstrated or provided hands-on experience for one another on topics such as bread-making, gardening, haircutting, wet-pack canning, dry-pack canning, and make-up tips.
Many individual acts of kindness, service, compassion, forgiveness and comfort go un-noted but not unnoticed among our sisters. Truly we have grown together as a ward sisterhood and hope to strengthen that unity in the coming year.
The Valley Forge First Ward Relief Society Presidency