.
Family Celebration Sabbath held at Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary
 
Berrien Springs, Mich.? Family was the central theme of the aptly named Family Celebration Sabbath, held July 18-19, 2008, at the Andrews University Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary. The weekend's worships and workshops featured Pastors Mike and Gayle Tucker of the Faith for Today television ministry and culminated with an award ceremony and reception highlighting accomplishments of individuals who have dedicated their lives to family  ministry. Music ministry, led by Michaela Lawrence, an M.Div. student, enriched the fellowship experience.

"Family Celebration Sabbath is a valued reminder of what is most important in our lives and in our faith. There is very little more cherished than these three words and our gathering each summer is a wonderful affirmation to keep first things first," said Family Celebration Sabbath organizer Allan Martin, associate professor of discipleship and family ministry for the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary.
 
Family Celebration Sabbath began Friday evening with a resource reception sponsored by AdventSource followed by a worship experience with Mike and Gayle Tucker that focused on the value of spiritual habits and the need for spiritual disciplines. A spiritual discipline, said Mike Tucker, is "anything you devise to solve a spiritual problem." Sabbath offered more opportunities for family celebrants to experience the Tuckers' ministry. Gayle Tucker focused on prayer as a spiritual habit. "Every relationship requires communication," she said, including our relationship with Christ. 

Nelson Silvia, an M.Div. student, said this was the first time he has attended a Family Celebration Sabbath. "I was curious and wanted to check it out because I believe family is the foundation of ministry."

Sabbath concluded with a commendation ceremony. The Adventist Association of Family Life Professionals (AAFLP) inaugurated the John & Millie Youngberg Award, with both John and Millie Youngberg on hand to be honored and to congratulate the first recipient, Yerusi Fajardo.
 
The Youngbergs, prolific authors of family life education materials, are well-known for directing the Family Life Workshop and Family Life International program at Andrews University from 1975-1998. Concepts they conceived regarding certification in family life education live on in the Family Life Education Graduate Certificate program available at Andrews University and in the bi-level certification program recently adopted by the AAFLP.
 
Karen and Ron Flowers, co-directors of the General Conference Family Ministries Department, said of the Youngbergs, "It is fitting that this award be named in your honor. You have given a life of dedicated service to prepare young people for service in the church. You have been pioneers in bringing to the forefront in the church the heart-turning, family-strengthening Elijah message of Malachi. Nothing has brought you greater joy than to see students' lives and professional careers shaped by that message. We know: we are among those students."

Fajardo is a Master's of Religious Education student with an emphasis in Family Life Education. Her academic excellence and pursuit to enrich family life education in the Hispanic community made her a worthy recipient of the award. The award included monetary support for her education.
 
The featured weekend speakers, Mike & Gayle Tucker, were honored with the Ministries Distinguished Service Award. It is the highest honor bestowed by the North American Division on an individual or individuals who have made sustained and far reaching contributions to stronger and healthier marriages and families across North America.
 
Mike and Gayle Tucker, pastors in the Texas Conference and co-hosts for Faith for Today television's flagship program, Lifestyle Magazine, were the 2008 recipients because of their pioneering work over the last nine years of presenting From This Day Forward marriage conferences across North America with Willie and Elaine Oliver of North American Division Family Ministries. Marriage, family and individual counseling are major components of Mike and Gayle Tucker's ministry.
 
Recipients of the Campus Spiritual Leadership Certificate and the Family Life Education Certificate, along with the award recipients, were honored at a reception following the ceremony. 

Over the past two years, Family Celebration Sabbath has attracted hundreds of people from across the North American Division and around the world, with the simple goal of taking time to enjoy God and each other. Family Celebration Sabbath is sponsored by the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary's Religious Education Program, AdventSource, Adventist Association of Family Life Professionals, and the Family Ministries Departments of the General Conference and the North American Division. 

Founded in 1874, Andrews University is the flagship institution of higher education for the Seventh-day Adventist church, located one-half mile east of the U.S. 31 Bypass in Berrien Springs, Mich.
 
Photo information: 
Front Row - Left to Right 
Karen Flowers, CFLE, co-director, Family Ministries, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists 
 
Millie Youngberg, Ph.D., professor emerita, Andrews University, Family Life International co-director, honored (along with husband John) at Family Celebration Sabbath by inaugurating the AAFLP Youngberg Award 
 
Yerusi Fajardo, Andrews University graduate student, MA (Religious Education, Family Life Education emphasis), recipient of the AAFLP John & Millie Youngberg Award 
 
Gayle Tucker, pastor, Arlington Seventh-day Adventist Church, recipient (along with husband, Mike Tucker) of the North American Division Family Ministries Distinguished Service Award 
 
Donna Mitchell, Andrews University graduate student, recipient of the Graduate Certificate in Family Life Education 
 
Yolando Guerra, Andrews University graduate student, MA in Youth Ministry, recipient of the Graduate Certificate in Campus Spiritual Leadership 
  
Back Row - Left to Right 
Ron Flowers, D.Min., CFLE, co-director, Family Ministries, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists 
 
John Youngberg, Ph.D., CFLE, professor emeritus, Andrews University; Family Life International co-director, honored (along with wife Millie) at Family Celebration Sabbath by inaugurating the AAFLP Youngberg Award 
 
Willie Oliver, Ph.D., CFLE, director, Family Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists 
 
Mike Tucker, speaker/director, Faith for Today, recipient (along with wife, Gayle Tucker) of the North American Division Family Ministries Distinguished Service Award 
 
Dong-bin Seo, Andrews University graduate student, M.Div., recipient of the Graduate Certificate in Family Life Education 
 
A. Allan Martin, Ph.D., CFLE, associate professor of Discipleship & Family Ministry, Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, Andrews University