Mel. Priesthood Form Process

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toddnielson-p40
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Mel. Priesthood Form Process

Postby toddnielson-p40 » Wed Aug 19, 2009 11:25 am

I'm a new Stake Clerk and the biggest headache I've had so far is trying to get the process for recording Mel. Priesthood ordinations to flow properly. I've read the two different ways this process can work. The problem is that we use the high councilmen to ferry the forms to and from the Stake. Once the ordination is completed, the form comes back to the Stake, we create a certificate, make a copy of the form, and send the original form and certificate back to the ward (via the HC) to be recorded on the individual record.

Two major breakdowns:

1. The HC aren't getting the completed forms back to us after the ordination has taken place.
2. The Ward Clerks aren't getting the ordination recorded promptly. So I'll have young men coming in with temple recommends who still show on our records as Priests.

Can anyone share with me a good way to keep track of this flow so that it is being done in an efficient way? We have done training on how the process should be working with the bishops, HC, and ward clerks but we're still having problems.

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Wed Aug 19, 2009 11:39 am

toddnielson wrote:Can anyone share with me a good way to keep track of this flow so that it is being done in an efficient way? We have done training on how the process should be working with the bishops, HC, and ward clerks but we're still having problems.


I imagine this process doesn't work perfectly anywhere in the Church, but here are some things we do in our stake to help keep the process moving:

  1. When a MP recommendation form is submitted to the stake presidency, one of the assistant stake clerks is assigned to enter the brother's name in a spreadsheet we use for tracking these ordinations.
  2. In the spreadsheet, we have columns for:
    • Stake presidency interview completed
    • Ordination complete (which we only really know when the HC returns the form to the stake)
    • Certificate delivered
    • Ordination recorded
    • (there may be others -- I'm not sure)
  3. For each ordination that is not complete in every way, we follow up:
    • In each meeting with the High Council, we review outstanding ordinations. If the HC in charge says the ordination happened, we ask him to deliver the paperwork; if it hasn't happened, we discuss why it hasn't happened yet.
    • We check weekly in MLS to see if the ordination has been recorded. If it has not, we follow up with the HC or directly with the ward clerk to make sure it gets recorded.
By following this process, nothing slips through the cracks. Some situations require a frustrating amount of follow up, but at least it all gets done.

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Postby crislapi » Wed Aug 19, 2009 3:49 pm

toddnielson wrote:2. The Ward Clerks aren't getting the ordination recorded promptly. So I'll have young men coming in with temple recommends who still show on our records as Priests.


Just a little outside perspective on this issue. In our stake (student stake) most brethren receive the Melchizedek priesthood within weeks of taking out their endowments, if not at the same time. We are also continually receiving those warnings when we activate recommends.

Part of the problem is that the stake membership records are only automatically updated at the beginning of each month unless a ward pushes a newer record to the stake (option under File menu). So your clerks may be entering the records as soon as they get the completed forms, but you at the stake will not see the change in your database until the next month unless they send their membership data to you.

For us, the main issue is names not showing up because turnover is so high. The wards have the membership record in their computer, but the stake database has not yet been updated. To activate the recommend, I just have them send their membership data to the stake. I wait about an hour, do a send/receive and I have the name and can activate the recommend.

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Wed Aug 19, 2009 4:10 pm

crislapi wrote:Part of the problem is that the stake membership records are only automatically updated at the beginning of each month unless a ward pushes a newer record to the stake (option under File menu). So your clerks may be entering the records as soon as they get the completed forms, but you at the stake will not see the change in your database until the next month unless they send their membership data to you.


While this is an interesting theory, I don't see how it applies to the topic of MP ordinations. The MLS Help file says (topic "Send Membership Data to Stake"):

The stake automatically receives any new membership data the ward has transmitted each time the stake uses Send/Receive Changes. This does not, however, include all data, such as some callings.
MP ordinations are part of the membership data that is automatically transmitted with every S/R. We see such updates happen at the stake level very quickly, anytime of the month.

In particular, at the stake level we often need to see MP ordinations appear at the stake level so that we can activate temple recommends. A ward clerk can record the ordination and a few hours later we are able to do a S/R at the stake level and see that ordination, even when the ward clerk is not doing the "Send Membership Data to Stake" option. I haven't experimented to see what the minimum time is, but it's a matter of hours, certainly not days.

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Postby crislapi » Wed Aug 19, 2009 4:28 pm

Alan_Brown wrote:While this is an interesting theory, I don't see how it applies to the topic of MP ordinations.


Read the quote - it doesn't apply to MP ordinations. I was giving a potential cause for why a stake computer does not show the ordination, specifically noticed when trying to activate recommends (giving clerks credit for actually having entered the info as they have been trained), all be-it, apparently incorrectly according to your reply.

toddnielson wrote:2. The Ward Clerks aren't getting the ordination recorded promptly. So I'll have young men coming in with temple recommends who still show on our records as Priests.

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Postby lajackson » Wed Aug 19, 2009 6:49 pm

crislapi wrote:Part of the problem is that the stake membership records are only automatically updated at the beginning of each month unless a ward pushes a newer record to the stake (option under File menu).


This has changed. Once the ward does a S/R and CHQ processes the information (usually within the hour), the stake should be able to do a S/R and have the updated data. The monthly update brings more mundane things to the stake nowadays.

The stake should have had the MR to begin with before the ordination takes place. Our problem is getting the ordination done with a stake witness and getting the MR updated by the ward. It is mainly a matter of followup and tracking, as has been pointed out.

One thing we do is ask the stake representative to have the ward record the ordination at the time it is performed. The stake rep then returns the paperwork and the certificate follows.

A few of our wards think they have nicer certificate paper than the stake uses, so they will also print the certificate out at the time of the ordination. The stake rep will then take it back for signatures and it will be signed and returned to the ward.

Recording the ordination when it is done also helps at this time of year when new elders go off to school and their student wards snag their records most efficiently. This way they get elders instead of priests.

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Postby jbh001 » Wed Aug 19, 2009 7:32 pm

toddnielson wrote:Can anyone share with me a good way to keep track of this flow so that it is being done in an efficient way?
As a ward clerk, I never waited on the stake. I would print out the ordination form and hand it to the bishop. After he completed his interview, he was the one that forwarded to the stake for the stake president's interview. Immediately (i.e. within minutes) after the ordination was done, I recorded it in MLS, printed the certificate, and handed it to the high councilor to autograph and get the stake president's signature. On those lucky occasions when the stake president also happened to be at the ordination, I got all the signatures on the certificate within minutes of the ordination being completed before anyone had a chance to leave the building.

That may not exactly follow procedure, and most ward clerks aren't that proactive about Melchizedek Priesthood ordinations, but with that system if anything got hung up it was at the stake level.

I don't know what you can to as a stake clerk to eliminate these problems. Some of it may depend on how spread out your stake is geographically. If you could be there for each ordination to "encourage" the ward clerk to promptly record the ordination, that might help. Our stake is too spread out for that to be feasible.

Perhaps a weekly stake to unit MLS message or phone calls letting the ward clerk you are still waiting for the ordination to be recorded might also work.

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Postby PNMarkW2 » Thu Aug 20, 2009 8:59 am

lajackson wrote: One thing we do is ask the stake representative to have the ward record the ordination at the time it is performed. The stake rep then returns the paperwork and the certificate follows.

A few of our wards think they have nicer certificate paper than the stake uses, so they will also print the certificate out at the time of the ordination. The stake rep will then take it back for signatures and it will be signed and returned to the ward.


Actually, the "Melchizedek Priesthood Ordination Record" printed from MLS indicates that the ward should be printing the certificate. Yea, our stake still does the certificates too, trying to use up an old supply of paper forms they type up, so it's not printed from MLS. In the past the stake has refused to sign anything we've printed. We have a new Stake President now, so who knows. Except, last month when I asked the Stake Clerk he said they were printing certificates. Oh well, as long as it gets done.
~Mark
Ward Clerk
Colonial Heights Ward
Portland Oregon Stake

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"For a list of all the ways technology has failed to improve the quality of life, please press three."
---Alice Kahn

toddnielson-p40
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Postby toddnielson-p40 » Thu Aug 20, 2009 5:19 pm

Brethren,

Thanks for the good information. I guess the key is lots of follow-up and pepto bismol.

But I can't help but think that half of the problem could be eliminated if the state membership clerk was allowed to record the ordination information instead of sending the form back to the ward. Is there some holy writ or system requirement that dictates that the ward clerk enter this information? (Keep in mind I'm a newbie... I can hear the gasps now!)

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Postby aebrown » Thu Aug 20, 2009 5:37 pm

toddnielson wrote:But I can't help but think that half of the problem could be eliminated if the state membership clerk was allowed to record the ordination information instead of sending the form back to the ward. Is there some holy writ or system requirement that dictates that the ward clerk enter this information? (Keep in mind I'm a newbie... I can hear the gasps now!)


Oh, there will be no gasps. Many people have requested this before. See the MLS Suggestions and Feedback page on the wiki, which links back to forum discussions on the topic.


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