Relief Society is a worldwide women’s organization and an official auxiliary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It has over seven million members in more than 188 countries and territories. The Relief Society General Presidency, under the direction of the First Presidency, oversees the activities of all women in the Church, ages 18 and over.
Jean B. Bingham serves as president of the general Relief Society with Sharon Eubank as first counselor, and Reyna I. Aburto as second counselor. The General Relief Society presidency “conducts training for local leaders around the globe and assists with general welfare services, among other responsibilities” (churchofjesuschrist.org).
Local Relief Society units are established in every ward/congregation of the Church, including in the greater Chattanooga area. Tiffany Mattison serves locally as president of Relief Society in the Hixson ward (congregation). Celeste Ward serves as Relief Society president for the Chattanooga Stake (a larger geographic region). A Relief Society presidency consists of a president and two counselors.
According to the Church, “Relief Society helps prepare women for the blessings of eternal life as they increase faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and His Atonement; strengthen individuals, families and homes through ordinances and covenants; and work in unity to help those in need.” The Relief Society motto is “Charity never faileth.”
When Joseph Smith reestablished the ancient church of Jesus Christ, he said, “The Church was never perfectly organized until the women were thus organized,” affirming scriptural accounts of female disciples “such as a Mary, Martha, Tabitha, Priscilla, Phebe” and many other women who the original church relied on to “strengthen and sustain the church” (see newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org).
Today, women of the Church of Jesus Christ continue to administer temporal and spiritual relief through Relief Society. In Hixson, Ms. Mattison and her counselors are coordinating ministering activities to “help women pull together and help and serve each other.” Ms. Ward and her counselors are doing the same in the greater Chattanooga area. Whether delivering meals to people who are sick or making hygiene kits for people who have been affected by natural disasters or volunteering to assist refugees who are relocating to Chattanooga – whatever the situation – Relief Society functions to help those in need.
Relief Society also functions to invite all to come unto Christ. “As Christians, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that salvation and eternal life are made possible by Jesus Christ. The Relief Society is one way The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints testifies of Christ and shares the principles of His gospel” (comeuntochrist.org). To learn more, please visit at https://www.comeuntochrist.org/blog/4-functions-of-the-church-of-jesus-christ-relief-society.