NanCam

Bishop and Relief Society president don't get along well

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I have been Relief Society president for 5 months. During that time the Bishop and I have met one time. He does not involve me in welfare issues at all, no meetings, no home assessments. He has released one counselor and the secretary during that time, simply telling me it was going to happen right before it did.l. I have read the handbook and understand that the Bishop oversees all callings and releases. But I prayed and felt inspired to call this secretary knowing very little about her and she has been perfect for the calling. I just barely got her doing all the technology related items, which I cannot do  and choose to not to take time to learn to do, that will keep us organized. My newest counselor is still very much in training and now I must find a new secretary and start over. I am older, wiser and more experienced than perhaps many Relief Society presidents. But I am feeling shut out by the Bishop. Perhaps he is focusing on the youth and Primary and thinks Relief Society should just fend for itself? The previous Relief Society president was barely functioning so I have worked very hard to get many parts of Relief Society back up and running, and to establish relationships with sisters, needy and otherwise, as fast as I can. I'm not looking for a pat on the back. I'm looking for information about how this Bishop/Relief Society relationship is supposed to work. I'd rather not "confront" the Bishop and tell him I don't think he is doing his job correctly. When my husband was Bishop he tells me he met with his Relief Society president monthly. 

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I'm sorry you are dealing with this. Bishops have a lot of on their plate, and I'm sure you know this. Is there a way you could find a way to talk with him that doesn't sound confrontational? More supportive perhaps? Start it off my saying "Hi Bishop, I know you are a very busy and I accept that-but I feel shut out here. Can we open the lines of communication between us?" 

 

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18 minutes ago, NanCam said:

I have been Relief Society president for 5 months. During that time the Bishop and I have met one time. He does not involve me in welfare issues at all, no meetings, no home assessments. He has released one counselor and the secretary during that time, simply telling me it was going to happen right before it did.l. I have read the handbook and understand that the Bishop oversees all callings and releases. But I prayed and felt inspired to call this secretary knowing very little about her and she has been perfect for the calling. I just barely got her doing all the technology related items, which I cannot do  and choose to not to take time to learn to do, that will keep us organized. My newest counselor is still very much in training and now I must find a new secretary and start over. I am older, wiser and more experienced than perhaps many Relief Society presidents. But I am feeling shut out by the Bishop. Perhaps he is focusing on the youth and Primary and thinks Relief Society should just fend for itself? The previous Relief Society president was barely functioning so I have worked very hard to get many parts of Relief Society back up and running, and to establish relationships with sisters, needy and otherwise, as fast as I can. I'm not looking for a pat on the back. I'm looking for information about how this Bishop/Relief Society relationship is supposed to work. I'd rather not "confront" the Bishop and tell him I don't think he is doing his job correctly. When my husband was Bishop he tells me he met with his Relief Society president monthly. 

I was in the Primary Presidency.  The Bishop only met with us during Ward Council (not counting the time the 2nd couselor to the Bishopric goes to sharing time).  My Primary President had us take turns attending the Ward Council and if we had an issue like you have now, we would have brought it up in Ward Council.  We only met with the Bishop outside of Ward Council as needed (like when we had problems with the Primary Sacrament Meeting program).

My suggestion is, instead of confronting the Bishop that "he is not doing his job correctly", you can just approach him and make a request for the changes you want him to consider - like it would be great if you can have a say on the calling and releasing of RS counselors/teachers and if he can pretty please accomodate your desire.  No confrontation, no conflict.  Just a simple request for his consideration.

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My suggestions:

Arrange a 30 minute meeting.  "Why do you want to meet with me?" "I have a short list of things to discuss".

Show up to the meeting with your itemized list.  "You're not doing a good job" should not be on that list.  "I would like more say before you release/call any more RS people" is a fine item.  "Regular 30 minute monthly meetings", or something like that, might be a fine item.   

Start with prayer, and for your part, pray that the spirit will show you ways you can sustain your bishop.  

God bless you!

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4 hours ago, NanCam said:

The previous Relief Society president was barely functioning so I have worked very hard to get many parts of Relief Society back up and running, and to establish relationships with sisters, needy and otherwise, as fast as I can.

I think I would start here.  The bishop is perhaps accustomed to not being able to rely on the RSP as he ought, and is just in the habit of doing it himself.  I recommend you go to him with a list of the things you've accomplished, and the things you would like to accomplish, and let him know you are ready to take the load he needs you to take, and that you are someone who can be relied on.

That said, a few questions and an observation (from another RS president):

1) Do you not discuss callings in Ward Council?  We often discuss callings (for all areas) in ward council.  Recommendations from the relevant president are generally made separately, but we still discuss them in ward council - in part because when someone is called, they're generally taken from another auxiliary, thus requiring us to then fill that gap - it's one big rotation.

If you haven't been to ward council, that's extremely worrisome.  Contact the executive secretary, or a president of one of the other auxiliaries to find out when and where, and start going!  You are absolutely required there.

2) The stake RSPy informed me that I absolutely must meet with the bishop monthly.  The handbook doesn't say that, and the bishop has set a schedule for us to meet every other month.  Since I "work for" the bishop, I'm following his lead here.  My ward does not have a ton of people in need, so our meeting usually consists of talking about those we're concerned about (majority of the time), ministering assignment changes (sometimes), and if there are any organizational needs - callings, approving activities, etc.

I have a friend who is an RSP in another stake, and she meets with her bishop monthly - but they also have more members in need in her area.

3) My bishop only involves me with food orders (as far as welfare needs).  If there are other welfare needs (and I'm sure there are), he chooses to keep them to himself.

4 hours ago, NanCam said:

I just barely got her doing all the technology related items, which I cannot do  and choose to not to take time to learn to do, that will keep us organized.

I'm not sure which technology items you mean, or if you mean all of them, but I don't think your secretary will have access to all that you do - specifically the welfare services requests.  If the bishop thinks you aren't willing / able to go in and do these yourself, that might be why he hasn't involved you in welfare issues.

Otherwise, it does look like your secretary would be able to manage the online systems for you, if that's how you wanted to handle it.

4) ...

4 hours ago, NanCam said:

I am older, wiser and more experienced than perhaps many Relief Society presidents.

If you've been an RS president before, then no issues with that statement.  If you haven't, even if you've been in a presidency before, I wonder about this assessment.  I have learned and experienced things since becoming RSP that I never imagined before.  Make sure this self-confidence isn't standing between you and the bishop (I'm not saying it is or isn't, just recommending you double check that).

5) ...

4 hours ago, NanCam said:

Perhaps he is focusing on the youth and Primary and thinks Relief Society should just fend for itself?

When the change from HT/VT to ministering was made, a big deal was made in my stake about how the RS and EQ were getting a heavier load in order to take the load off the bishop - and yes, the youth were to receive more of his attention as that's one of his responsibilities.  The RS and EQ were to take a greater responsibility in ministering to the adults in the ward.  From my perspective, the RS are pretty autonomous, except the things that require the bishop (callings, approving ministering assignments, letting him know of serious needs of members).

And the observation...

4 hours ago, NanCam said:

I have been Relief Society president for 5 months.

Just as a heads up, it's been my experience (and that of other presidents (RS and EQ) I know) that the 6-month mark is about when a new president goes from gung-ho to overwhelmed, seemingly overnight, and never recovers until released.  Just in case you didn't know - perhaps you can steel yourself for it. ;)

I don't know if that helps any, but there it is, for what it's worth.

And I agree with all the recommendations that have been made while I was typing all this, particularly the recommendation that you pray for your bishop - and be as specific and sincere there as possible - and not that he'll learn to do his job right (because it's not your job to decide whether he is or isn't doing it right).

Edited by zil

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1 hour ago, zil said:

 

If you've been an RS president before, then no issues with that statement.  If you haven't, even if you've been in a presidency before, I wonder about this assessment.  I have learned and experienced things since becoming RSP that I never imagined before.  Make sure this self-confidence isn't standing between you and the bishop (I'm not saying it is or isn't, just recommending you double check that).

5) ...

When the change from HT/VT to ministering was made, a big deal was made in my stake about how the RS and EQ were getting a heavier load in order to take the load off the bishop - and yes, the youth were to receive more of his attention as that's one of his responsibilities.  The RS and EQ were to take a greater responsibility in ministering to the adults in the ward.  From my perspective, the RS are pretty autonomous, except the things that require the bishop (callings, approving ministering assignments, letting him know of serious needs of members).

Hey hey hey... I didn't say that!  ;)

 

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I served with my current bishop for 3.5 years until he called my wife as Relief Society President and I was released a year ago.  My bishop is great, he gets it.  He always asks the presidents their opinion on callings and has them give suggestions.  Sometimes he doesn't take their advice but he always considers it.  I would suggest a couple things, having served in many leadership callings over the years -

Sometimes you feel inspired to call someone and the bishop says no - That's okay, he has the final inspiration.  Sometimes you may fee that way because that person needed to be brought to the bishops attention, or maybe they did just need the calling for a few months as that happens too.

It would be good to meet with the bishop quarterly.  You may have to set it up yourself, but bishops are busy.

Sometimes there are bishops who just are not very good at doing what they do, it's a process and even they have to learn.

Start listening to leadingsaints podcasts which is a great source on how to lead and encourage your bishop to listen as well.  Both of you will become better leaders by doing so.

Your bishop may not be asking much of you because, as you mentioned, the previous RS was in array.  You may need to build that trust that someone else lost. 

Good luck, being Relief Society President is a big deal, don't be afraid to delegate as much as possible to your counselors. Maybe your example will show the bishop how he can let go of things as well. 

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@zil, this is how you post looks from my computer.  You can probably just edit the post to take my name out of those quotes because... I would sure not want my name attached to those statements.  I have never been an RS President, ever!  :)  

zil.thumb.PNG.25013f7e57d08c663b5a4012c64d8e99.PNG

 

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1 minute ago, anatess2 said:

@zil, this is how you post looks from my computer.  You can probably just edit the post to take my name out of those quotes because... I would sure not want my name attached to those statements.  I have never been an RS President, ever!  :)  

zil.thumb.PNG.25013f7e57d08c663b5a4012c64d8e99.PNG

 

Whoa!  Editing to try to replace!  (I quoted them from the OP, I swear!)  Can't edit that header, but am replacing the quote blocks...  OK, now they all say they quote NamCam, please check on your end.  Sorry about that!

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