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In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a ward is the larger of two types of local congregations (the smaller being a branch). A ward is presided over by a bishop, the equivalent of a pastor in other religions. Two counselors serve with the bishop to help with administrative duties of the ward and also preside in the absence of the bishop. A branch is presided over by a 'branch president' who may or may not have counselors (depending on the size of the branch).
A ward-sized congregation typically consists of 200 to 400 active church members within an area that is a reasonable travel time of the meetinghouse. ("Reasonable" will vary between countries and regions.) A stake may be organized if there are at least three ward-sized congregations in adjacent areas. Once the stake has been organized, the ward-size congregations are organized into wards. If there are not sufficient congregations in an area to form a stake, a district (analogous to but smaller than a stake) is formed to oversee local congregations. Congregations not in stakes or too small to be wards are organized as branches. Branches may be organized in stakes, but wards may not be organized in districts. Where there are greater numbers of active church members (such as Utah), the area of a ward can be as small as a few square miles.
The main organizations (called auxiliaries) of a ward that are overseen directly by the Bishop are the Relief Society (the LDS Women's organization), the Young Men and Young Women's organizations, the Primary Association (the children's organization) and the Sunday School. In branches, these organizations are filled as there are sufficient active members to fill these positions. The offices of the lesser or Aaronic Priesthood (typically males 12 to 18 years of age) are not considered auxiliary, as they are priesthood offices, and the priesthood is central to, and directs the Church and its auxiliaries. All auxiliaries are considered appendages to the priesthood.
In addition, within stakes, offices of the higher or Melchizedek Priesthood (Elders and High Priests) within individual wards and branches are advised by the Bishop but overseen by the Stake President. Within districts, offices of the higher or Melchizedek Priesthood within individual branches are advised by the Branch President but overseen by the District President.
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