The president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced changes to the faith’s Sunday meeting schedule, reducing the time of weekly services from three hours to two.
The announcement came Saturday morning, during the church’s twice-yearly conference.
Russell M. Nelson said, in recent years the leadership of the church has recognized that not all members live close to a meetinghouse or even have one. He explained that they have wrestled with how to take the church’s message into the homes of members around the world.
“As Latter-day Saints, we have become accustomed to thinking of church as something that happens in our meetinghouses, supported by what happens at home,” said Nelson. “We need an adjustment to this pattern. It is time for a home-centered church, supported by what takes place in our branch, ward, and stake buildings.”
Since 1980, church members have attended a one-hour sacrament worship service each Sunday, followed by two hours of meetings such as Sunday school, primary, and men’s and women’s groups.
Following Nelson’s announcement, Quinton L. Cook, member of the Church’s Quorum of the 12 Apostles, explained the new schedule change. Beginning in January 2019, Sunday meetings will consist of a 60-minute sacrament meeting. After a short transition time, members will then attend a 50-minute class that will alternate each Sunday.
“Our purpose is to balance the church and the home experience in a way that will greatly increase faith, spirituality, and deepen conversion to Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,” Cook said.
The change is intended to strengthen the Sunday worship services and encourage members to make their homes a source of spiritual strength.
“Sunday can be a day of gospel learning and teaching at church and in the home. As individuals and families engage in family councils, family history, ministering, service, personal worship, and joyful family time, the Sabbath day will truly be a delight.”
This is not the first time the church has changed its meeting schedule. Prior to 1980, meetings were held throughout Sunday and during the week.