Comments about the Mission Reunion Planning Guide may be submitted here.
Organize a Mission Reunion Committee
Select a Date, Time and Place for the Reunion
Plan the Mission Reunion
Get the Word Out
Prepare for the Next Reunion and Cleaning Up
Mission Reunion Planning Worksheet
Alumni Directory Form
The purpose of a mission reunion is to allow return missionaries to gather as brothers and sisters in the gospel and rejoice in the spirit of our Heavenly Father that we shared while serving as full time servants of the Lord. It is also a time to again be instructed in the gospel by our mission president and his wife. A reunion can be spiritually uplifting, as well as time of rejoicing. However, planning a reunion can be a big task. It is our hope that the following pages will serve as a guideline, and act as a resource while planning a successful mission reunion.
At the end of this reunion planning guide you will find a Mission Reunion Planning Worksheet to record your reunion plans, as well as other forms suggested throughout the Missionary Reunion Planning Guide. Simply click on the link to open the form in Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you do not already have Adobe Acrobat Reader you will need to download it from http://www.adobe.com.
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Preparing a mission reunion is such a large task, it can be helpful to form a small committee of 2 or 3 return missionaries to organize the reunion. Use your committee to organize ideas, and delegate responsibilities. An essential part of this committee is your Mission President. The President and his wife should be included in the planning stages of the mission reunion. The President is still the priesthood leader with respect to the returned missionaries with which they served. They are also your best resource, because they know each missionary individually, and can provide direction for the planning of the mission reunion. When possible, your Mission President should be given the opportunity to chair the reunion committee. However, he can choose to delegate that responsibility as the priesthood leader responsible for the reunion.
Usually each Mission President holds a separate reunion for missionaries that served with them. Return missionaries specifically want to see the people they served with, and the President that they served under. Holding a reunion for only one President is often the best way to organize your reunion. However, there are a few instances when you might want to combine reunions for more than one President. For example, if there is a visiting General Authority that will be attending you may want to include return missionaries from over more than 3 years. Another reason to hold a multi-president reunion is if a President has recently returned from the mission. A majority of recently returned missionaries will have served under both President's, and might appreciate not having to choose between reunions. If that is the case, involve returned missionaries from each President's era on the reunion committee, as well as both Mission Presidents.
If your Mission President does not live near by, is not in the United States, or is still serving in the mission field, that should not be a deterrent to holding a reunion. As a return missionary you can act and organize the reunion, but it is still essential to include your President in the planning process when possible as they may be able to participate in the reunion, depending on their situation and current church assignments.
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One of the most important aspects of reunion planning is finding a time and place that works for the majority of returned missionaries and the mission president. If the President and his wife are going to make special travel arrangements, their travel schedule will dictate when the mission reunion is to be held. During the first few years after the mission, many North American returned missionaries congregate in Utah to study at various universities. Those not living in Utah may choose to travel and attend General Conference. For this reason, many mission reunions are scheduled in Utah around General Conference, where they are convenient to a large concentration of return missionaries. However, for varying reasons, not every return missionary will be able to attend a reunion at General Conference time. When choosing a time for the reunion consideration may be given to their schedules as well. You can plan a successful mission reunion anytime when a majority of return missionaries can participate. Eventually as return missionaries graduate from college, get married and relocate around the world, many missions continue the practice of regular reunions in more regional locations, and hold a central reunion once every 5-10 years.
You will also need to find a location for the reunion. Some suggestions include holding the reunion at your mission president's home, or the home of a return missionary. You may wish to reserve a park, hold the reunion at a local LDS chapel, hotel and reception center or on a college campus. Whatever you choose, you should begin planning early. With the vast number of mission reunions, meeting space along the Wasatch front is at a premium during General Conference. A word of advice: Mission Presidents usually have priority in scheduling the building for a reunion, and can often reserve their local chapel or Stake Center for the evening. As you select a location, be mindful of the rental cost of the facility and any restrictions specific to the facility that may affect your activities.
Here are some numbers to use when scheduling a location.
- BYU Campus Scheduling: (801) 422-3134. There is no fee to reserve a room for a mission reunion on the BYU Campus. All rooms on campus are reserved for this purpose on the weekend of General Conference. You can also schedule rooms at any time during the year, except the week of Women's Conference, CES Conference and Campus Education Week. Scheduling begins for reunions in October on Monday after the April General Conference, and for reunions in April on Monday after the October General Conference. You may also try the BYU Conference Center at (801) 422-7700, as they schedule rooms at the Conference Center seperate from Campus Scheduling.
- LDS Chapels: All LDS Chapels worldwide must be scheduled through the local Stake President. You can get the Stake President's number from the church offices in Salt Lake City. The phone number is (801) 240-3500, option #3. You will need to know the address of the building you would like to schedule.
- City Parks: Most parks can be reserved through the City Parks and Recreation Department. To get their number check the local phone book, or an internet phone directory. In Utah the local internet yellow pages are supplied by DexOnline.com, a service of Qwest.
Most facilities have restrictions on what type of food or drink may be served, as well as the source of that food. An excellent example is the BYU Campus. Most buildings do not allow red punches, and as a general rule, all food at BYU must be supplied through BYU Catering. You can not bring purchased food to the BYU campus unless BYU Catering has been given the opportunity to provide it first, and they decline. Most commercial convention facilities have similar restrictions. Be aware of these restrictions as you make your plans.
If you choose to hold your reunion over the Conference weekend, be mindful of the many church activities that occur in Utah at that time. You will want to plan with the conference schedule in mind, being especially aware of the Priesthood session on Saturday night. Pick a time after most people will be finished with their normal activities, late enough to accommodate travelers, but early enough that you can have a successful reunion, clean-up, and get home before it is too late. Be mindful that usually LDS chapels should be locked for the night by 10pm. A good starting time is between 6:30pm and 7:00pm, ending no later than 9:30pm, but these can be altered depending on your reunion activities, for example: a barbecue between conference sessions on Saturday wouldn't start at 6:30pm.
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Now that you have decided on a location for the reunion, it's time to plan your activities. To keep track of your plans and delegate responsibilities you may wish to use the Reunion Planning Worksheet. Remember to keep the restrictions of your meeting place in mind when planning reunion activities and refreshments. If there is a rental fee or a cost for providing a meal, plan a way for each missionary to contribute to the cost. It is acceptable to ask each return missionary and spouse/date to bring a few dollars to help cover the costs of the reunion. Remember to plan for setup crews and cleanup.
As you plan your reunion, make sure you have arranged for everything that you will need. We obviously cant anticipate everything you might encounter, but we offer these suggestions. Don't assume that items such as TV/VCR, microphones, access to the chapel, kitchen facilities, tables and chairs will be automatically available. Most church buildings keep these items locked away when not in use, and at most other locations these must be arranged for in advance. If using the kitchen in a local LDS Church remember to check if it is permissible to cook in the kitchen. The oven in many chapels have been set to a maximum temperature that will only allow you to warm food, and actual cooking will need to be done before the reunion. Also keep in mind that you may need to bring your own soap and dish towels, as these are often locked in the Relief Society closet.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Devotional/Fireside and Message from your President and his wife in the Chapel (if your president is not able to attend, a
video taped message, a message recorded to cassette tape or a written letter from the President would be a good alternative.)
- Songs in Mission Language
- Mission Photo Albums
- Called to Serve (Hymns 249) in Mission Language
- Gather current addresses
- Post Mission Awards (ie: baptized someone
in the Baptistery at the temple, Taught a
discussion on the plane trip home, Fastest
to get married, First to have a baby after
getting married, etc.)
- Update on the mission
- Sisters Slumber Party
- Potluck/Catered Dinner or Desserts
- Self Catered Meal (ie: Committee arranges for
food and preparation, and then each
missionary brings $2 dollars to cover the
- Ice Cream
- Taking Photographs
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If no one knows about the reunion, what's the point of having one. It is important to get the word out, or advertise. There are several free listings of Mission Reunions available. The more advertising sources you notify about the reunion, the greater possibility of contacting every returned missionary. Here are few contacts that can help you announce the reunion for free.
- Deseret News:
Publishes reunion notices in the newspaper and on their website
You can contact them online at http://deseretnews.com/dn and click on the
mission reunions link, or you can also submit your notice by faxing it to
801-237-2121; e-mailing it to firstname.lastname@example.org; or mailing it to
Deseret News Missionary Reunions, 30 East 100 South, P.O. Box 1257,
Salt Lake City, UT 84110. Deadline for publication in Deseret News is on
- BYU Daily Universe:
Publishes reunion notices in the campus paper the week before General
Contact http://Newsnet.byu.edu for more information.
- Mission Alumni Site:
Post a reunion announcement (which will automatically send email notification to the registered return missionaries)
Contact the Webmaster to email all registered missionaries for a President.
Contact the webmaster for a list of registered missionaries and addresses
- Email returned missionaries with a reunion announcement
Be prepared with the following information for a good reunion announcement:
At your reunion it would be a good idea to gather current contact information from every return missionary. This can be done by simply placing a clipboard on a table near the entrance, and making an announcement to update your contact information. Often the Mission Presidents wife will want to keep track of this information. Then you can also send out an email announcement before the next mission reunion. We have included an Alumni Directory form you may wish to use at the end of this Reunion Planning Guide. On our Mission Alumni Site we can maintain that information for you, in a manner that allows missionaries to log on and update their contact information without having to wait until the next reunion. We would suggest that you announce the mission alumni website directory, http://www.mission.net at the reunion, and encourage missionaries to register themselves with their mission alumni website.
- Date: Friday, October 3, 2003
- Time: Program with President begins at 6:30pm
- Location: BYU Campus, Harman Building, 900 E and University Parkway.
- President: Which Presidents are included in this reunion
- Main Activity: Ice Cream Bar and Socializing
- What to Bring: Is there a cost for the reunion, or is it potluck?
- Dress: If you are using the chapel, suggest church dress.
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Your reunion is not over until you have prepared for the next reunion. The current reunion is your best place to prepare for the next reunion. Be consistent in planning reunions. If held at General Conference time, hold your next reunion the same day of the week, time and place at the next general conference. If there is an expected change, now is the time to announce it. For example, when a Mission President and wife returned from the mission, for the April reunion the chapel was already booked, so the reunion was held at another building in the Stake, a few blocks away. However, the mission President had already reserved his Chapel for October, so an announcement was made at the April reunion. Let people know where they can find out about the next reunion. By gathering an address list of missionaries at the current reunion you are well on your way to notifying everyone of the next reunion. You can also prepare by inviting people to help plan the next reunion.
It would be a good idea to meet one last time as a planning committee and make sure that everything has been covered after the reunion. If you will no longer be involved in the reunion planning process, be prepared to pass on what you have learned from your experience, so the next reunion committee can learn from your experiences, and avoid similar problems and mistakes. Make sure that you covered all of your costs associated with the reunion. If changes need to be made to cover the costs, be sure to record those changes. After 6 months it's pretty easy to forget. Also, if you can arrange a location for the next reunion, do so now.
Post pictures from your reunion on the Mission Alumni Site so that others can enjoy the reunion, even if not able to attend. You may even consider posting the highlights of the President's message from your reunion. The current webmaster/maintainer will serve as a resource to help you.
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Click here to download the Mission Reunion Planning Worksheet. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to be able to open the file.
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Click here to download the Alumni Directory Form. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to be able to open this file.
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The Mission Reunion Planning Guide was created by Karl Kamper of the Argentina Buenos Aires West Mission Alumni site, with help from David van der Leek of the Japan Tokyo North Mission Alumni site.
Created on: June 13, 2003. Last Updated:June 13, 2005.