Friday, June 09, 2006

#136 - One of the Mysteries of the Gospel

Ever wondered what, exactly, a Stake Sunday School presidency does?

Me, too.

Back in the day, Dad was the Stake Sunday School president. This was in the days before the 3 hour bloc, and Stake Conferences generally had a Sunday School session to keep the kids busy while the parents sat and listened to about 25 gazillion speakers. We all had our favorite speakers, by the way. "Oh, good. Bro. So-and-so from the High Council. Hand me that pillow, wouldja?"

But I digress.

We all figured that the Spirit must have had some sort of speech defect when he whispered Dad's name in the Stake President's ear. Well, maybe Mom didn't. But we kids sure did. "Dad? Our Dad? The Glowering Inferno? That Dad?"

But it turned out that Dad was one of the best S.S. Prezes ever. For one thing, Dad was a natural administrator. He was an aerospace professional and consummate businessman. He knew all about how to run an efficient organization, and the Sunday School is typically one of the loosest organizations on earth today. It was a challenge tailor-made to Dad's particular talents.

It also transpired that Stake Conferences were one of his favorite events when he served in that calling. Dad was never much for sitting in a two-hour long session of talk after talk. Plus, he had a real soft spot for kids. It actually amused him (more, I must say, than he ever let on at home) to watch these pint-sized people interact with life. So while many people tried to commiserate with Dad about having to deal with the little banshees, Dad would just smirk and secretly look forward to the show.

Even then, I never really knew what it was that a Stake Sunday School presidency did. Which is why you will not be surprised to learn that I have just been called as 2nd Counselor in the Stake Sunday School.

I believe I accepted at least partly out of sheer curiosity. The mystery surrounding Stake Sunday School is nearly impenetrable these days, especially since the 3 hour bloc program was instituted. I do know that we sustain them in Stake Conference during the sustaining of Church officers. About 3 seconds after we do, I have completely forgotten their names. Now, in my case it may well be that as my name is called in wards around the Stake, a few people will think, "Oh, that's that fellow that sang in our ward a couple years ago." But then they, too, will forget my name. I think they must specifically state this in your setting apart blessing. "We bless you that you will become safely anonymous in the Stake, and this cloak of invisibility will last until you are safely released." I actually could live with that.

Of course, at some level I believe this will be a fun calling. Teaching is my celestial calling. Music may be my eternal calling (once a Church musician, always a Church musician!), but it's teaching that I truly enjoy. The counselor in the Stake Presidency that extended the calling - who also happens to be a member of our ward - even paid me a very nice compliment: He told me that, in discussing my name with the Bishop (turns out I need to be released from my dysfunctional Public Affairs calling. Drat.) that they both agreed that I have a natural gift for teaching. He said that I have a way of bringing out the simplicities of the principles that I teach. Since I've only taught about three classes in the entire time I've been in this Stake, I'm glad he saw that.

So, for whatever reason, the Lord wants me in the Sunday School. The handbook, I must say, is sketchy at best about the calling. We "serve as a resource to ward Sunday School presidencies." We "instruct and advise individual presidencies as requested by the ward or directed by the stake presidency." In other words, we get to annoy ward Sunday Schools by announcing that we're coming for a little visit so we can disrupt their otherwise quiet Sundays.


Oh, there's the inevitable meetings, of course. Presidency meetings, meetings with the Stake leadership, auxilliary training meetings, and so on. We also no longer have separate Sunday School sessions of Stake Conference. Not for a few decades now. But as long as I get to teach on occasion, so what?

I'll be in heaven.

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