Sunday, July 4, 2010

Singles Wards

Having been Young, Single, and an Adult for coming on 2 years now, I've been in my share of singles wards (Three, to be exact). My ward has usually been my prime source for new friends, a place where I can find those going through the same trials and adventures as I am, and of course, a venue for all kinds of fun activities (ok, I have a history of being too "busy" to attend the activities, but sometimes I try).
And yet I wonder if we're missing out on something.
I can understand the purpose of singles wards: to give young singles like myself an opportunity to be strengthened by those our age, to give us a sense of community at an age when it's so easy to feel like a social nomad, and, of course to Get Us All Married Off.
But sometimes, in the company of so many so much like myself, I wonder if I could benefit from a little...diversity. I like going to my Relief Society in my home ward, and hearing the comments from the mothers and grandmothers, those who have experienced so much more of life than I have. I miss teaching Primary with all my heart. I wonder what it would be like to learn and serve with those whose life experiences varied from mine-- those outside the range of BYU-student-ness.
The other day, I was exploring random blogs with Blogger's "Next Post" option. For some reason, when I use that button it tends to take me to Christian blogs (probably because the first few months of my blog have a New Testament theme). I was reading the blog of a young minister who'd been asked to become the pastor of a trendy, hipster-ish new congregation. He refused. This pastor explained his decision on his blog, saying that he didn't think it wise or even Christlike to target congregations to a consistent demographic in that way. To him, that kind of pigeonholing is what the world does, but as people of Christ, we need to recognize that we are all brothers and sisters, to love our differences, and to recognize our most important similarity: our shared faith in Jesus Christ. His words reminded me of these words from the Sermon on the Mount: "For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans do the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? Do not even the publicans so?" (Matthew 5:46-47).
I'm not saying that the way wards are set up now is entirely wrong, nor am I sure how I would change things were I put in charge. Even if wards were to be constructed with based solely on geography, most wards around BYU would still consist of mostly single students, with a few marrieds mixed in. And I can see how young singles living at home or at non-Utah colleges could feel lonely and isolated in a family ward situation. Singles wards bring a sense of community. I just wonder if the homogeneity within stifles the growth of the members.

On the other hand, when you come right down to it, most of us don't intend to stay in singles ward long enough for any growth-stifling happen. ;)

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