Just as you’re getting settled into being a church member, making friends, beginning to serve…you find out you’re moving. Now what?
The Church is nearly everywhere. Even in places where there isn’t a formal organization, such as in some countries that don’t have free religion, there are usually small groups of members who meet quietly in homes. Once you know where your new home is, go to the Meetinghouse Locator. You will be able to put in your new address and find out where you should attend. There is usually a telephone number for the building. Try calling the bishop’s office before 9:00 AM or on a weeknight when meetings might be held. There are usually meetings on Wednesday nights, so that is a good time to call. Introduce yourself, tell whoever answers that you are moving in and let him know you are new to the church and a little nervous about moving. This will alert them to your arrival.
If you have children, ask if you can get an email address for someone in Primary (the children’s organization) and Mutual (the organization for teenagers.) Encourage your children to send an email to their future class telling about themselves and asking any questions they might have. My children once received a responding email from another teen after doing this, and he let everyone know they were coming. When they arrived, they had already been communicating with someone there and had a “friend” to help them settle in.
Before you leave, give the ward clerk your new address. His office is usually beside the bishop’s office. It’s very important that your records go to your new ward. This record tells all the important things that have happened to you in the church, such as when you got baptized. It proves you are a member in good standing. He will take care of getting those records to your new ward.
When you arrive, go to the church as soon as possible. My teens preferred to go to Mutual before Sunday meetings, so if we arrived early in the week, we took them there during their weeknight meeting. When you arrive on Sunday, promptly introduce yourself to whoever is in the foyer as new to the ward and fairly new to the church. Since no one here knows you just recently joined, you may lack the support you’re used to if you don’t spread the word. You may want people to realize you don’t always know how things work. Ask to be introduced to a member of the bishopric (the bishop or his counselors) so he knows you have arrived. Ask him to introduce you to someone who can show you where the classes are held. This will let you walk in with a new friend who can take you under his or her wing.
One quick way to settle into your new ward is to offer to help. Tell the bishop you want a calling as soon as possible. Tell the Relief Society president or Elders Quorum president you’d like to be called on when service needs to be done. Sign up when volunteers are asked for. When you’re working with others on a project, you make new friends more quickly.
It may take some time, but you
Try not to compare your new ward to your old one. Each ward is different (although the programs are just the same) and you want to accept it as it is. Look for the good and you’ll probably find it.
Terrie Lynn Bittner
The late Terrie Lynn Bittner—beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and friend—was the author of two homeschooling books and numerous articles, including several that appeared in Latter-day Saint magazines. She became a member of the Church at the age of 17 and began sharing her faith online in 1992.