"Family Matters" Theme Guides AREA 8 Gathering in Cambridge

"Family Matters" Theme Guides AREA 8 Gathering in Cambridge

Pastor Rio Espulgar

In a vibrant display of unity and fellowship, the recent AREA 8 event held last Sabbath, April 27th, resonated with warmth and a sense of belonging. Themed "Family Matters," the gathering at The Netherhall School in Cambridge brought together SEC directors and ministry leaders in a concerted effort to address various facets of family life through insightful presentations and discussions.

The event commenced with a dynamic worship experience, enriched by soul-stirring songs and heartfelt prayers. Devon Boyd, the Men’s Ministry Director, took the pulpit as the worship service speaker. Drawing from the timeless parable of the prodigal son, he emphasized the theme of reconciliation and celebration within families and churches. He underscored the significance of welcoming back those who may have strayed, echoing the unconditional love exemplified by the prodigal son's father. Following the uplifting worship service, attendees went into breakout sessions, each led by the SEC directors and ministry leaders.

Thembie Mapingire, Director of Cornerstone Counselling, discussed how family dynamics impact mental health. Judy Clements, SEC Safeguarding Director, focused on abuse's impact on families and safeguarding children. Pr. Rio Espulgar, Director of Family and Children Ministries, provided insights on raising children in the 21st century and predictors of marital breakdown. Devon Boyd, Men’s Ministry Director, led discussions on men's issues within families. Pr. Warren Gillin, SEC Youth Director, inspired young attendees to embrace their purpose and calling within church communities. Edith Samambwa, Health Ministry Director, emphasized holistic family health approaches. Sophia Nicholls, founder of the Adventist Special Needs Association (ASNA) highlighted parenting with special needs and disabilities, advocating for inclusivity and support within the church.  These sessions covered a broad spectrum of topics crucial to understanding and nurturing healthy family dynamics. Dr. Lubica Mueller and her team from Newbold College also promoted the One Year in Mission and Service program designed specifically for students residing in countries within the Trans-European Division.

The AREA 8 event ended with everyone feeling stronger and more united. People learned a lot about supporting families in their communities. They realized that by focusing on "Family Matters," they can make families stronger and more resilient. They left the event with a renewed commitment to love, understand, and support each other.