The Three Hour Sunday Block

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In 1981, the Church announced the introduction of what we refer to as the “Three Hour Sunday Block”. Prior to this, meetings were being held on Sunday mornings and afternoons as well as classes during the week. One can only imagine how exhausting and busy it was for the leaders and general membership, leaving little time for quality time with their families.

Thirty-two years have passed and I wonder how effective our three hour Sunday block really is?. It seems like we spend quite a lot of time learning the things we are supposed to be doing during the week however, despite the three hour sessions, home and visiting teaching seems to be always a cause of concern and struggle.

Is it that the Saints get caught in real life situations and forget everything else? Is it that the Saints simply do not know how to show compassion and care towards others? Or Is it that Church has become merely a pure theoretical event where we sit down and give the best golden answers we can possibly give? Then we leave Church and talk to ourselves saying “Good job, you are really active”. But what exactly is our definition of being “active”?

According to the dictionary, active means “engaged in action; characterized by energetic work and participation”. How exactly this definition fits our attitude on Sunday meetings? Folks, I know. Church is like a training field, where we are supposed to learn everything we can and then apply it to our lives. The thing is, doesn’t seem to be working very well if we take into consideration the enormous problem with membership retention.

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Wouldn’t be a good idea to leave the three hour Sunday block but use it differently? Perhaps, one hour for Sacrament meeting and the other two hours for visiting the sick, the elderly, the poor, or those who are not coming to Church? In other words, the theory and the practice that can serve us also as inspiration for a new week to start?

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Let me illustrate what I mean. It was announced a couple of Sundays ago in my ward, that there was a sister who is in the hospital in critical condition (she needs urgent surgery). She has been in the hospital for a few weeks now and she has several children. I spoke to her oldest today to discover that nobody visited her yet (except for the Bishop) and the Relief Society hasn’t been relieving at all.

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It made me wonder, how different would it be if instead of people falling asleep during classes, we could be actively engaged by visiting this sister and perhaps many other members and non-members in similar or worst situations? Wouldn’t we feel (and BE) more inspired, energetic, ACTIVE?

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