Boston, MA * May 20, 2006
Seventy couples spent Sabbath, May 20 together in an atmosphere of reverence, love, and intimacy at the From This Day Forward one-day marriage seminar held at the Embassy Suites Hotel at Logan Airport in Boston, Massachusetts. Couples traveled from the island of Bermuda, the New England states, New York, and as far away as Nova Scotia, and at least one couple preparing for marriage was among the group.
From This Day Forward was launched as an initiative to help combat the high rate of divorce and/or marital distress among couples in the general population as well as the church membership. “For me, [this] is the core of Christian ministry. For when we have healthy marriages in the church we are more likely to have healthy families in the church. In healthy families, children are more likely to be discipled, faithful stewardship is more likely to be practiced, and a faithful witness is more likely to take place, all of which translate into a stronger and more vibrant church to help prepare people for the coming of the Lord,” says Willie Oliver, North American Division (NAD) Family Ministries director.
The presenters for this event included Elaine and Willie Oliver from the North American Division, Januwoina and John Nixon, pastor of the Collegedale church in Tennessee, and Gayle and Mike Tucker, pastors of the Arlington church in Texas and where Mike serves as speaker/director for Faith for Today. This was the 21st such conference held in the NAD since October 2000 and the second held in the Atlantic Union territory. The first conference ever held was at the General Conference Complex in Silver Spring, Maryland.
The seminars have had far-reaching effects. The evaluation sheet includes space to request Bible studies or accept Jesus. According to Oliver, during the time seminars have been hosted, dozens of people (more than 200) have requested Bible studies and follow-up has been done by Kurt Johnson at the Voice of Prophecy. Dozens have reversed their plans for divorce, and dozens have experienced a fuller and more satisfying marital experience.
The day was spiritually refreshing and rewarding and a delightful way to spend the Sabbath. Although the room was full, every couple had their own private space. Maria Shakes from the Cambridge church in Massachusetts says, “It was well worth the time. I really appreciated coming.” She is joined by Gwen Rullerford from the Faith church in Connecticut, who said that she “will be able to use the tips shared during the seminar forever and ever to enrich our marriage and I look forward to coming back next year.”
Every couple should attend the seminar at least once. The next seminar will take place at the Embassy Suites Hotel Orlando-North, 225 E Altamonte Drive, Altamonte Springs, Florida 32701 on September 30, 2006. For more information visit PlusLine at http://www.plusline.org/eventdetail.php?id=155.
Written by: Ednor A. P. Davison is the editor of the Atlantic Union Gleaner and assistant communication director for the Atlantic Union Conference.