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Family Ministries

Jeffrey Brown
Ernestine DeGraff
Associate Director
Christine O'Brien
Singles Ministries
Men's Ministries
 Pattijean Brown

I. Family Ministries Mission
II. Family Ministries Goals
III. Family Ministries Calendar
IV. Family Ministry: What Is It?
V. 2005-2010 Initiatives and Resources

I. Family Ministries Mission

Our mission is to develop resources, coordinate and promote training events, and provide networking opportunities for those who work on behalf of families in the diverse communities that comprise Bermuda. Working under the power of the Holy Spirit, our efforts will help to restore people to wholeness, to intimacy with God, and to unity with each other, and to be ready for the coming of the Lord. We are inclusive, not exclusive. We reach out to young and old; married and single; dual parent and single parent; orphaned, fostered, and adopted; separated, divorced and widowed; red and yellow, black or white, all are precious in God’s sight.

II. Family Ministries Goals

Ours is not a one man show. Skillfully supported by a first-class administrative assistant, Pattiejean Brown, Family Ministries has now become a team of passionate leaders to cover the whole spectrum of the family. As Women’s Ministries, Disabilities Ministries, and Youth Ministries are separate departments, we have:

►Men’s Ministries Eric Bean
►Adventist Singles’ Ministries Christine O’Brien
►Seniors Ministries Pastor Eugene Virgil
►Family Ministries Director Dr. Jeffrey Brown
►Family Ministries Associate Director Ernestine DeGraff

 ►Family Ministries Administrative Assistant

Pattiejean Brown




1. Binding the Wounds Seminar – Drs. Ron and Nancy Rockey
2. Family Life at Camp Meeting – Dr. Gina Brown
3. Two Family Life days at every church
4. Biblical Marriage Seminar – Pastor Merlin & Cheryl Knowles
5. Form a relationship with Family Intimacy Center, Bermuda



1. "From This Day Forward" – Willie and Elaine Oliver
2. Family Life at Camp Meeting – Dr. Barry Black
3. Biblical Marriage Seminar – Pastor Merlin & Cheryl Knowles
4. Dr. Lewis Edwards, Happy Marriages, Happy Families
5. Pastor John Lomacang, Amazing Family Life Series



1. Parenting Seminar – Nancy van Pelt
2. Organize marriage clubs
3. Family Life at Camp Meeting – Dr. Kay Kuzma
4. Pastor Halsey Peat
5. Pastor Cyril Sweeney

III. Family Ministries Calendar


Bermuda Conference Grief Recovery Seminar , January 26, 2008, 4:00 p.m., Devonshire Seventh-day Adventist Church. Adventist Single Adult Ministries (Christine O’Brien) presents Dr. Sydney Gibbons and Ernestine DeGraff.

Bermuda Conference Family Ministries Director’s Training, January 27, 2008, 9:00 a.m., Hamilton Seventh-day Adventist Church, featuring Dr. Jeffrey Brown.


NAD Christian Marriage Day, February 9, 2008

NAD Christian Home & Marriage Week, February 10-16, 2008. A wide variety of materials are available from AdventSource, including Family Ministries Planbook, Managing God's Resources at Home. For more information, e-mail: family@nad.adventist.org.

NAD Christian Parenting Day, February 16, 2008


The Prescription for a Happy Marriage/Family/How to Fall in Love and Stay in Love, March 7-8, 2008, Southampton Seventh-day Adventist Church, Bermuda, with Dr. Lewis Edwards, Southeastern Conference, Florida.

NAD From This Day Forward (Miami, Florida), March 8, 2008, Hilton Hotel Miami (formerly known as Radisson Hilton), 1601 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami, FL 33132. This one day event is open to married couples, engaged couples and singles wanting to learn how to develop relationships. Phone: 301-680-6462. For more information, e-mail: family@nad.adventist.org.

Live With All Your Heart, for Women, March 15-16, 2008, Willowbank Hotel 295 3762. 334 8574 sbean@northrock.bm, kasandra@logic.bm


• Strengthening Families in the 21st Century: Health, Wholeness, and Faith Conference, Loma Linda University, April 28-29, 2008. www.llu.edu/llu/wholeness.


Atlantic Union Conference Family Life Church Leaders’ Retreat, May 2-4, 2008, Hudson Valley, N.Y.


NAD From This Day Forward (Bermuda), June 21, 2008, Fairmont Southampton Hotel, 101 S Shore Road, Southampton, Bermuda. Enjoy a one day marriage conference that will encourage stronger and healthier marriages and families. Couples will experience practical, professionally-sound, biblically-based direction for their marriage. This event is open to married couples, engaged couples and singles wanting to learn how to develop relationships. For more information, e-mail: family@nad.adventist.org


NAD Adventist Association of Family Life Professionals (AAFLP) Research Forum, July 1, 2008, San Francisco, California.

Smart Marriages Conference, San Francisco Hilton Hotel, July 2-5, 2008.

NAD Adventist Single Adult Ministries Convention, Orlando, FL, July 5-7, 2008.

NAD Family Celebration Sabbath, Andrews University, July 18-19, 2008.


NAD Men's Day of Prayer, September 6, 2008. Contact NAD Family Ministries. Phone: 301-680-6462. For more information, e-mail: family@nad.adventist.org.

National Grandparents Day, September 6, 2008. Grandparents have been stepping-up-to-the-plate in a big way to take care of their often uncared forgrandchildren, or simply supplementing love, nurture, guidance and sustenance.Let’s celebrate these heroic, often unsung heroes.

NAD Family Togetherness Week, September 14-20, 2008. A wide variety of materials are available from AdventSource. For more information, e-mail: family@nad.adventist.org.

Atlantic Union Conference Family Life Directors’ Retreat, September 26-28, 2008, Bermuda.

NAD From This Day Forward (Phoenix), Sep 27, 2008, Embassy Suites Hotel, Phoenix Airport, 1414 N 44th Street, Phoenix, AZ 85008. This one day event is open to married couples, engaged couples and singles wanting to learn how to develop relationships. Phone: 301-680-6462. For more information, e-mail: family@nad.adventist.org.


Atlantic Union Conference Hispanic Family & Marriage Retreat, October 17-19, 2008, venue TBA.


NAD From This Day Forward (Seattle), November 8, 2008, Embassy Suites Hotel Seattle-North Lynwood, 20610 44th Avenue W, Lynwood, WA 98306. This one day event is open to married couples, engaged couples and singles wanting to learn how to develop relationships. Phone: 301-680-6462. For more information, e-mail: family@nad.adventist. 

IV. Family Ministries: What Is It?

1. First Family of Faith
Members of the community of faith understand that we are part of the family of God before we are part of our nuclear families. Jesus stated that allegiance of the members of this community must first be to him (Matthew 8:21, 10:21-22, 34-39). While Jesus affirmed the importance of the family (Matthew 19:18), he also indicated that it alone wasn't the vehicle of salvation (John 3:5-6). Domestic families alone aren't able to nurture faith in their children. Only as they assume their rightful place within the body of Christ will God use them to point the way to Jesus.

2. The Role of the Domestic Family

The typical family unit (father, mother, children), often referred to as the "nuclear" or "domestic" family, is what most people think of when we discuss family ministry. However, as Dr. Diana Garland, who has written several books on family ministry, has pointed out, a major problem with using this type of definition is that the Bible, the church's statement of values, offers little support for defining a strong nuclear family as the goal of Christian relationships. Nuclear family terms—parent, child, brother, and sister—are common in Scripture, but they aren't used to limit family to nuclear relationships. Instead, they prescribe how God's people are to relate to one another across the sociological boundaries of family units. Jesus said that his family was defined not by biological ties but by the community of faith (Mark 3:33-35). The focus of the Bible is the communal nature of the church. Nuclear family boundaries are to be opened and Christians encouraged to invite others into their personal networks and families, not shut them out.

This understanding of family and of the role of the faith community doesn't demean the nature and purpose of the family. Rather it seeks to honor the family by placing it in its proper context within the Kingdom of God. Because the community of faith is designed to operate like a family, it takes seriously the role of parents in the spiritual nurturing of their children. The community of faith understands that it has a responsibility to equip parents to: think theologically; recognize their roles as the primary Christian educators in the lives of their children; and raise their children in the context of the community so that the children can ultimately come to know Christ. Does the Church replace the domestic family? By no means! The Church exists as a covenant family of families that share a mutual commitment to nurture the faith of all its families.

3. Potential Problems of Family Ministry

As we've examined various models of family ministry, it's apparent that there are both good and bad expressions of those models. One of the potential problems is that the local church can become so focused on meeting the needs of domestic families that it neglects:

•     Those who do not come from a Christian family;

•     Those who come to worship without their family;

•     Those whose families are not intact; or

•     Those whose families are not close by.

The reality is that the community of faith has a responsibility to be family to these folks. No one should ever feel inadequate in the church because their domestic family doesn't fit the profile. In fact, it's precisely those whose homes aren't intact who need our warmest nurture and love (James 1:27). Particularly for the "widows and orphans," the church should function as the first family of faith.

4. True Family Ministry

Drs. David and Diana Garland give family ministry a whole new significance. They interpret Jesus’ words, "Woman, behold thy son, son behold they mother" (John 19:26, 27) to mean that family is to be understood in a wider context than simply nuclear blood ties. "The symbolic significance of this disclosure has evoked much discussion, but only a few have noted its significance for a new under-standing of the family" (David Garland, A Biblical Foundation for Family Ministry).

Jesus’ radical statements in Matthew 12 regarding his bringing apparent division in families, are for the purpose of emphasizing His eventual point, "For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother" (Matthew 12:50):

Jesus said that he had not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17). We may also say that Jesus came not to destroy the family but to fulfill God’s intention for the family. It is to be the source of nurture and the channel of God’s love for all of God’s children. Those who for various reasons have been deprived of traditional family relationships can now belong to a family.

Dr. Penny Long Marler, Professor of Religion at Samford University, concurs: "In the Christian tradition, the church is a family whose ties transcend those of blood and marriage." On this basis, the Garlands offer the following definition of family ministry:

Family ministry is any activity of a church which 1) develops new family relationships in the community of faith; 2) increases the Christlikeness of the family relationships of Christians; and 3) equips, encourages and supports Christians to use their families as a channel of ministry to others.

Drs. George and Yvonne Abatso concur: "Family ministry means creating a supportive community for all who enter the gates." Thus marriage enrichment for the Garlands was never meant to be inward-focused, but always others-centered. The Garlands believe that:

•     "The importance of families rests squarely in the fact that families are one of the most significant contexts for Christian discipleship." Families "are one of the most significant contexts for" faith development. Garland goes on to say that

•     "A second Christian assumption about families that grows out of the New Testament is that we are to reach beyond the bonds of blood and marriage to embrace others as family." Families do, indeed, "reach beyond the bonds of blood and marriage.

•     Families "were created to provide partnership in work." In a justice-oriented tradition such as ours, that work can and should be service to others--in our congregations, our local communities, and the wider world.

5. In conclusion. Family Ministries:
     1.  is not a certain set of program, it is an all-encompassing ministry;

     2.  increases the Christ-likeness of the family relationships of Christians;

     3.  embraces male and female, Black, White, Hispanic, and Native, young and old;

     4.  equips, encourages, and supports families as they minister to those who have families and those who don't

     5.  encourages everyone to be a part of the family of God.

VI. 2005-2010 Initiatives and Resources (cf www.adventistfamilyministries.com)  

Family Ministries Conventions/Training Events: In collaboration with Conferences, Union Conferences and Andrews University, organize FM Conventions to train and certify pastors, lay leaders and professional Family Ministries personnel.

Marriage Conferences and Retreats: In collaboration with Conferences and Union Conferences foster the proliferation of marriage conferences and retreats to help stem the tide of marital distress and divorce among lay members and clergy by strengthening existing marriages and serving as an outreach event to the community.

Parenting Conferences: In collaboration with Conferences and Union Conferences foster the proliferation of parenting conferences to teach effective parenting skills to enhance the process of discipleship, harmony and values transmission in homes across North America.

Premarital Preparation: In collaboration with the NAD Ministerial Association, develop a premarital preparation resource and strongly encourage the practice of premarital preparation across NAD.

Family Expo: In collaboration with Conferences and Union Conferences, organize Family Expos to train workers and raise the awareness level of our membership and the general public on effective modalities for fostering stronger and healthier families.

Gay/Lesbian Issues: In collaboration with other NAD entities, sensitize and educate our membership on gay/lesbian issues for the purposes of fostering a non-hostile environment for gays/lesbians in the church in order to be biblically redemptive in our approach to this community and these issues.

Sexual Integrity: In collaboration with other NAD entities develop or idnetify a curriculum on premarital sexual abstinence and integrity to be implemented in congregations and schools throughout NAD.

Single Adult Ministries: In collaboration with Conferences and Union Conferences facilitate an effective process of single adult ministries in the NAD.

Family Ministries Resources (cf. www.adventistfamilyministries.com)

Change is inevitable. To keep up with change, we must continue to grow. In Family Ministries, we believe that each day and every new experience is an opportunity for growth. This is why North American Division Family Ministries has collaborated with AdventSource to develop an online resource catalog.

Here you'll find new resources that reflect the diversity of families found within the North American Church.

You will find resources for:

Baby Dedications
Baptismal Preparation for Younger Children (ages 8-10)
Dealing with Abuse
Family Friendly Church
Single Adults
Youth & Young Adults
...and much more!

In addition to AdventSource, we also have resources for:

Adventist Adoption
Kettering Counseling Care Center (Personal Counseling, Clergy Care, etc.)
Drug and Alcohol Addiction
Grief Recovery
Family Financial Matters

We pray that there will be something for everyone in our quest for stronger and healthier families...

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