Church changes meeting schedule for Easter and Christmas holidays

Visitors look at a nativity scene and the Christmas lights at Temple Square in Salt Lake City on Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023.
Visitors look at a nativity scene and the Christmas lights at Temple Square in Salt Lake City on Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023. | Megan Nielsen, Deseret News
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Latter-day Saint leaders are making another change to the schedule for the faith’s worship services.

Beginning with Easter on March 31 this year, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will hold only sacrament meetings on Easter Sundays and the Sundays nearest to Christmas.

That means the weekly second hour of services will be canceled permanently around those holidays, allowing families to spend more time together. The second hour of church consists of Primary classes for children and Sunday School or other classes for adults and youth.

The First Presidency announced the change in a letter sent to church leaders around the world.

“Each year, church services and meetings should be limited to sacrament meeting only on Easter Sunday and on a Sunday before or after Christmas Day. If Christmas is not on a Sunday, stake and district presidencies decide whether to hold this sacrament meeting before or after Christmas,” the First Presidency said.

The announcement comes just weeks after Latter-day Saint congregations attended only a one-hour sacrament meeting on Christmas Eve under direction from the First Presidency.

Church leaders also mandated a sacrament meeting-only Sunday for Easter 2023.

Church meeting schedules

In October 2018, President Russell M. Nelson and Elder Quentin L. Cook announced at the faith’s international general conference that the three-hour Sunday block of worship would be reduced to two hours and sacrament meeting would be reduced from 70 minutes to one hour.

The most important part of a Latter-day Saint sacrament meeting is taking the sacrament.

“Partaking of the sacrament is a sacred and sanctifying privilege,” President Russell M. Nelson has said.

“The ordinance of the sacrament makes the sacrament meeting the most sacred and important meeting in the church. It is the only Sabbath meeting the entire family can attend together,” President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency, has said.

Church members take bread and water during the sacrament service to remember the body and blood of Jesus Christ and renew covenants to take his name upon them and obey his commandments. In return, he promises they always will have his Spirit with them.

Sacrament meetings also consist of talks, testimonies and hymns.

The second hour of church alternates weekly for youth and adults between Sunday School classes one week and priesthood, Young Women and Relief Society classes the next week.

Children younger than 12 attend Primary classes during the second hour every week.