Local congregation under new leadership
The Vidalia Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is under new leadership with the sustaining of Harold Fred Tippett, Jr., of Vidalia as bishop on Jan. 10. His counselors or assistants are Rusty Burns and Jeff Russell, both of Vidalia. Bishop Tippett replaces Bradley Young, also of Vidalia, who had been serving as bishop since July 2015. A bishop is the leader of a local congregation (known as a ward) with duties similar to those of a pastor, priest or rabbi. In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, this position is unpaid. Each bishop is assisted by two counselors. Together, this bishopric oversees the spiritual and social needs of their ward members.
The bishop helps each member of his congregation in their efforts to follow Jesus Christ. In addition to spiritual matters, a bishop helps members who are struggling financially or in other ways to become self-reliant through welfare assistance. A bishop also oversees practical matters such as records, reports, finances and the meetinghouse where members meet.
Bishops typically serve for about five years. They report to stake presidents (a stake is similar to a diocese). These local leaders have a significant amount of local autonomy to make decisions regarding the members in their wards and stakes.