Prior: Part 19: The System All Hinges on the MRN!

I’ve focused almost entirely on what wards and branches need to do to make the calendaring system function properly.

However, and this is a big caveat, if the stake doesn’t do some basic things, the wards and branches cannot digitally function properly.

There are some things that the stake has to do.

Responsibilities, Roles and Duties

From the Help Center:

Who Are Stake Calendar Administrators?
  • Stake presidencies
  • Stake executive secretaries
  • Stake clerks and assistant clerks
  • Stake website administrators
Other stake calendar administrators can be assigned by an existing stake calendar administrator, but this should be performed with care.

Role and Responsibilities

Stake calendar administrators have rights to create calendars as needed, assign editors, assign other administrators, and manage locations (buildings). By default, these administrators have editor rights to all stake calendars. They do not have editor rights to ward calendars or building calendars.

Stake calendars work like ward calendars. Stake Calendar Editors enter events like Ward Calendar Editors do and they should follow the same rules and guidelines.

To my knowledge, there isn’t a Stake Email Communications Specialist position. However, Stake Website Administrators can be manually assigned to do the same things that Ward Website Administrators do. All the advice and best practices I’ve suggested for Ward Website Administrators and Calendar Editors apply to the stake as well.

Since Stake presidencies and clerks have so many other additional responsibilities, I think it makes sense to have a manually added Stake Calendar Administrator devoted to digital responsibilities to free them up from these administrative details.

A Stake Calendar Administrator needs to do the usual things of overseeing stake events and how they are entered, managing the calendars, and so forth. In addition, they have location/building responsibilities as well.

The Church Recommends Only One Stake Calendar

Although the Church encourages wards to limit their calendars to as few as are necessary, it is now suggesting that the stake needs only one stake calendar – a general stake events calendar, although private calendars for meetings can be created as needed.

From the Help Center:

“Experience has shown that for stake calendars, one “Stake Calendar” is usually the best. Consider deleting the others.”

Initially, the Church created a multitude of stake calendars for all the various organizations. Most stakes still have them although the Church may be limiting this when new stakes are created. I don’t know.

I would suggest one other stake calendar may be a desirable possibility: a secular/holiday events calendar. I’ve found it useful to have a separate calendar that lists secular events like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Daylight Savings Time beginning/end, and so forth in order to keep track of events that could affect when church events should and should not be scheduled.

I’ve done this for my wards/branches in the past. I like it being a separate calendar because you can overlay it if you want it or not. Also, with it being separate, people can choose whether to sync that particular calendar or not. It’s possible that these events already exist on personal calendar systems on mobile devices and people don’t really need to sync them when they sync the church events.

If there is only one secular/holiday events calendar created by the stake then all the wards and branches can use that and they won’t have to create their own.

Stakes Must Manage “Locations”

I hope you picked this up under “Role and Responsibilities.” Stakes “manage locations (buildings).” Wards and branches don’t have any jurisdiction over this although it affects them tremendously when the stake doesn’t do it.

The procedure is easy enough. From the Help Center:

“For stake calendar administrators, select the Locations and Rooms option from the calendar gear menu to manage locations. The locations that can be scheduled by your stake and wards are listed on the Locations and Rooms page.”

“When you click on a location name, you are taken to the Location Details page. In order for a building to be scheduled, it needs to be set up from this page and have scheduling turned on.”

The Stake Must Name Buildings in the Stake

Stakes are responsible for naming buildings and managing the resources inside the buildings. The Church has guidelines for what names to use and what not to do.

The system comes with default names but the Church wants the stake to rename them according to what members refer to them as. Location/building calendars should have the name “Building” in them.

From the Help Center in Naming Guidelines:

“Physical Facilities provides a temporary name for building locations. Stake calendar admins should rename the building in Locations and Rooms to the name that local members know it by. You should include “Building” in the name so it will not be confused with a stake or ward calendar.”

From the Help Center in Managing Locations and Rooms:

“Rename the building to a name your local members know it by. Never name a building “Stake Center.” Include your stake name or initials in the name.”

My stake recently went through a realignment and a bunch of things changed. A new ward was created, a branch was changed into a ward and nearly every unit had its boundaries changed. However, the building locations and names don’t reflect the new changes, yet.

The Stake Must Include/Name Building Rooms and Equipment for Scheduling Purposes

If you’ve ever looked at the scheduling form on the calendars you see a list of locations that can be scheduled for events you want to add to the calendar.

The system comes with some locations pre-loaded, but only the locations that every single building the Church builds have in common – like the Chapel, the Relief Society room, etc.

The Church EXPECTS and WANTS each building to have the building resources customized to each building. If you’ve got a Family History Center, that can be added. That scheduling list should include everything that can be scheduled in a particular building.

Stakes are severely handicapping wards and branches if they don’t add/rename all the various rooms and equipment that each building has. The building scheduling function is of little use if this isn’t done.

I could tell you horror stories that local leaders have had to cope with because stakes are negligent with this.

I once fired off an angry email to all the stake leaders of one of my stakes, quoting chapter and verse from the Help Center, demanding that they get this done pronto. About a day and a half later one of the Stake Assistant Clerks called me up (a family friend as well) and told me he’d done it. His remarks were instructive, he said it was, “ridiculously easy.”

From the Help Center:

“Identify the rooms or equipment (like a television monitor) that you want to be scheduled in the building. Use names for the rooms that the local members know them by or that match signs outside the rooms. Avoid adding rooms that are used only during the normal Sunday meeting block and don’t need to be scheduled. For a cultural hall room with dividers, consider if you need to schedule those separately or always all together as “Cultural Hall.” Custom room names can be renamed at any time, but to change the name of a default room would require moving all the events to a custom room.”

From the Help Center:

“Stakes may have other locations in addition to buildings, such as a pavilion, a ball field, or a recreational property that can be scheduled. You can create a custom location that can be scheduled by wards within your stake as well as by wards from other stakes.”

Stakes Must Call and Assign Building Schedulers so that Location/Building Calendars Can be Managed

Okay, we are back to building scheduling and Building Schedulers. If you haven’t read the separate blog post on this, you need to. Keep in mind that this is a separate category on the Help Center as well.

Building Schedulers are crucial to the efficient operation of everything, especially the calendaring system. The Church’s system allows more than one building scheduler to be assigned to each building.

Building Schedulers manage building events like weddings, funerals, family parties, maintenance, cleaning, etc. They do NOT schedule normal stake and ward events.

From the Help Center:

“Assign at least one building scheduler. A building scheduler must reside in the stake that manages the building. Indicate the primary building scheduler. That person will be listed first when you click on the building name from the main calendar.”

I’m going to repost their roles and responsibilities. From the Help Center:

A stake calendar administrator, such as the stake clerk or stake executive secretary, assigns building schedulers in the calendar system to oversee locations. It is not enough to put their calling in Leader and Clerk Resources (LCR). The building scheduler must be assigned to a specific building using the Locations and Rooms option in the calendar. To check if you have been properly set up as a building scheduler, click on the building name in the calendar’s left panel. You should see your name.

Building schedulers are responsible for overseeing events related to their assigned location, but they do not schedule stake or ward events. The stake and ward calendar editors schedule their own events and reserve the needed building and rooms without contacting the building scheduler.

I don’t think I have ever been in a stake that had a designated Building Scheduler at any building. This is extremely unfortunate because if you notice from what I posted about Stake Calendar Administrator/Editor roles and responsibilities, “They do not have editor rights to ward calendars or building calendars.”

This means the Building Scheduler is the only person on the planet that can manage the location/building calendar. If there isn’t one or they don’t do it, nobody else can.

The only workaround I know of is a Stake Website Administrator, somebody in stake leadership, temporarily designating themselves as a Building Scheduler, assigning themselves to a particular building, and doing the job themselves.

The instructions contain a strong caution. From the Help Center:

“Also, never use a stake or ward calendar as a building calendar.”

Did you get that? NEVER use a stake or ward calendar as a building calendar! 

This means that building events like funerals, weddings, private parties, deep cleaning, facilities maintenance, mission/mission events, should never be put on stake or ward calendars.

Sadly, I’ve never seen them entered anywhere else. I really hope this can change in the future and doesn’t persist from the past.

A Caution

I’ve only covered the basics. There are a lot of caveats. Some stake centers house more than one stake, for example. The Help Center guidance sorts through all of this. It also addresses how to correct the problems a lot of stakes have created by doing things improperly.

All of this features into the despair I cover in the next, and last, post. No matter how conscientious you are at the ward or branch level, you simply cannot surmount the problems created by a stake that doesn’t have its digital act together.

Next: Part 21: Conclusion, Solutions, and Despair

Assignment for Leaders: Do I NEED to list them?
  • Call/Assign/Empower a Stake Calendar Administrator(s).
  • Limit your stake to one stake calendar.
  • Update all your buildings and their names to what the Church recommends.
  • Update all your buildings to reflect all the rooms/equipment to schedule and rename them if necessary.
  • Call Building Schedulers for every building, assign them to a building in the LCR and train them to do their callings.
  • Train local leaders on what the Building Schedulers do.
Assignment for Members: Resolve never to put a private event on a local calendar. If some events already exist, notify the Building Scheduler/stake leaders to move them to the location/building calendar.

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