Rumor was that a stake in Boston announced they would begin piloting a new two-hour block schedule in the coming year. Throw in coffee & donuts, and allow for shorts, and we might be able to compete with all the surrounding megachurches in my community!
There will be an “elimination of all but essential Sunday meetings, i.e. fewer firesides, choir rehearsals, etc,” according to the original post. “Emphasis of the day is the taking of the sacrament, and having time for families.”
I’m old enough to remember church before the 1980 change to the 3 hour meeting block. When we had the split meeting schedule, we were living 26 miles from the church. In winter months especially, it could take us 45 minutes to travel each way. Families in our ward who lived near the church were asked to invite those of us who lived farther away to come over between meetings for a meal. One of these meals was the first time I ever saw someone put an ice cube in soup to cool it, and it was a Pennsylvania staple: chicken corn soup. Good stuff. Those ward family dinners fostered bonds of friendship that are so typical for Mormonism, and I still think of those families we spent our Sundays with as a great part of my extended Mormon family.
When my ward switched to the 3 hour block, we had two wards meeting in the same building (not the standard three so common nowadays), so our meetings didn’t overlap. If my dad had ward meetings after our block ended, I would sometimes stick around to go to sacrament meeting with my friends in the other ward. Three hours of church wasn’t enough for teenage me apparently.
Cue 35 years later. The 3 hour block rotates. Wards usually start at either 9am, 11am or 1pm. Everyone has a preference for their start time. What’s yours?
In our house, Sunday meetings are followed by a family meal. The meal is followed by what we call a homework hostage crisis: the deathbed repentance our kids do to catch up on their weekend homework before bedtime. This is coupled with two other frantic tasks: cleaning up before the maid comes (we have Monday cleanings) and taking out the trash and recycling (we have an early Monday morning pick up time). We usually like inviting another family over to dinner on Sundays, but we haven’t been able to do that given how crazy the three-hour block afternoon schedule is. By the time we get home, the rest of our day is completely shot. What are your thoughts about the current three hour block?
What do you think will happen to church attendance if we ever do move to a two-hour meeting block as the norm?
After the leaked information about the pilot was made public, the pilot was pulled.
 To further illustrate the inanity of the 3rd hour, my ward did a 5th Sunday meeting on indexing. Indexing. That’s the Mormon equivalent of spending an hour talking about the Dewey decimal system.