(AP) — The Mormon church is scaling back the Sunday time commitment expected of its members from three hours to two.
Russell M. Nelson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, announced the change Saturday at the faith's twice-yearly conference. He says the new "home-centered church" strategy reflects the faith's increasingly global membership where not all Latter-day Saints live close to a chapel or even have a chapel.
Since 1980, church members have been expected to attend a one-hour sacrament worship service each Sunday, followed by two hours of meetings such as Sunday school and men's and women's groups.
Under the schedule change, which takes effect in January, members will continue attending the one-hour Sunday service but then have only one additional hour of meetings.
Quentin L. Cook, a member of a Mormon leadership group called the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, says church leaders have been aware for years that the three-hour block was difficult for many.
The news comes as the leaders recently announced renaming the famed Mormon Tabernacle Choir to drop the word Mormon.
The decision to rename the singing group the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square was the first major move since Nelson in August called for an end to the use of shorthand names for the religion that have been used for generations by church members and the public.