Nicky Lee from Holy Trinity Brompton writes on the impact of the Relationship Central courses.
A young mother, who lives near us, attended an Alpha course at our church. Her faith came alive and she started to come on Sundays. She was desperate to get her husband along to the next course, or the next one, or the one after that. But he was having none of it. Then she saw that we run a Parenting Children Course for parents with children up to ten years old, so she talked to him about whether they might go along together. He wanted to be the best father he could be for their two children, so he agreed. The course made a profound impact on him. He recognised for the first time that he was in danger of imitating his own father, who had always put work before the family. He still felt hurt by the memories. He reorganised his working life so that they could spend time together as a family. The positive effect on their children was immediate.
The course made a profound impact on him.
They then did The Marriage Course and for the first time started to pray together as a couple. The next thing we heard was that this husband was on an Alpha course. He gave his life to Christ and they started to come to church as a family.
This pattern of people going from one course to another before starting to come to a Sunday service is a story we have heard repeated over and over again from churches who are seeking to reach out to the practical ‘felt’ needs of people in their local community.
Six out of ten young adults put looking after family as the most important moral issue for them
A survey commissioned by the BBC for the recent Re:Think festival on religion and ethics suggested that nearly six out of ten young adults put looking after family as the most important moral issue for them, compared with fewer than one in 20 choosing religious faith. [Report by Ruth Gledhill, the Times page 25 on 14.9.12] The church has much to say about ‘looking after family’ and the Relationship Central courses for couples and parents aim to tap into this interest and this need.
Thousands of couples have done The Marriage Preparation Course and The Marriage Course at Holy Trinity Brompton (HTB), where they originated, and at many other churches around the UK. The courses are suitable for any couple, however long or short a time they have been together, whether they have a great relationship and want to invest for the future or they are struggling, and whether or not they are churchgoers. Similarly The Parenting Children and The Parenting Teenagers (for those parenting eleven to eighteen-year-olds) courses are for all parents whether they are parenting as a couple or on their own.
Tools for maintaining or mending relationships within the family.
All the courses, while based on Christian principles for building a strong family life, are very practical. They give the tools for maintaining or mending relationships within the family.
The courses are easy to run. They can be held in homes or other locations and involve a combination of talks and discussion. On The Marriage and Marriage Preparation Courses these discussions are entirely private between the couple. On The Parenting Courses they take place in small groups with other parents at a similar stage of family life. The talks can be played on DVD or given live. The role of the hosts is to create a great atmosphere that is welcoming and that helps the guests to feel relaxed and able to open up in discussion.
To find out more about any of the Relationship Central courses, visit the website relationshipcentral.org