Family Foundations Issue 1: April 2016
Family FoundationsThe eNewsletter of MU in the Diocese of Armidale April 2016
Welcome to the first official e-Newsletter of MU Armidale. We hope to produce an edition each term to keep you updated on what we believe and what we are doing.
MU and Marriage
MU has a number of Objects that underlie our beliefs and actions. The first of these is: ‘To uphold Christ’s teaching on the nature of marriage and to promote its wider understanding’. So what exactly does the Bible teach about marriage?
From the very beginning marriage was God’s idea. In Genesis 2 we have the blueprint for what marriage is and is not. When Eve is created she is brought to Adam to become united with him in a one-flesh union, in which they are both naked and feel no shame. The picture is one of absolute intimacy and vulnerability; there is nothing to hide.
In Matthew 19 Jesus refers to this passage, highlighting, among other things, the intended lifelong monogamous relationship of marriage that is between a man and a woman. While divorce is acknowledged as a reality, the Biblical ideal is that marriage is to last unto death. Also, there is no contemplation of marriage being a same-sex union. Marriage is by definition a union of one man and one woman!
Andrew Cameron, in his book, Joined-Up Life, gives three purposes for marriage. Marriage is for procreation, the establishing of a new family. In this way families are created in which children can be loved, nurtured and raised to adulthood.
Marriage is also for lifelong faithful companionship. We were created for relationship, and the marriage relationship is intended to be the closest possible union we can ever experience. Ideally, within such close companionship there is not only the joy of lifelong friendship, acceptance and love, but also ample opportunity to be tested and refined through mutual repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation.
And finally, marriage is the safe-haven for erotic love. The sexual relationship, so idolised in our society, is best expressed within the safety and security of the marriage relationship.
MU Object # 1: To uphold Christ’s teaching on the nature of marriage and to promote its wider understanding’
This is the foundation of what the Bible says about marriage. Other passages throughout the Bible build on this concept of marriage, reinforcing and promoting attitudes and actions such as faithfulness, care and affection. There is more to be said, but for now it is important to lay the groundwork, particularly in a culture that is questioning the very definition of marriage. As Christians we must hold to the Biblical truth in this area!
I write this e-Newsletter as someone who has been involved in MU Armidale for the past 6 years. Upon first hearing about MU in the Diocese, or Mothers’ Union as it is commonly called, I had visions of it being an out-dated, irrelevant organisation that had lost touch with modern society.
And then I read their Aim and Objects!! I was surprised to find that this group of people were passionate about promoting, supporting and nurturing Biblical marriage and family life. That seemed very relevant to me at the time.
Now, six years later, our society has changed dramatically. Not only do marriages continue to breakdown, but the very nature of marriage is being challenged. Our grandparents would never have questioned what marriage stood for. Today we are presented with a smorgasbord of options, and asked to tolerate them all, and furthermore, to make some legal which clearly contradict the Bible’s teaching. So I continue to be challenged about the need for an organisation that will stand for, promote and support Biblical marriage and family life.
Married at the tender age of 20, Brian and I have now been married for 31 years. During that time we have been blessed with 5 sons, ranging in age from 13 years to 29 years, three of whom are now married themselves. As I look back over 31 years of marriage I see both good times and times of struggle.
I think marriage is probably one of the best and hardest things I will ever do. If I have learned anything over these years it is the value of hard work in relationship. Even after so many years we have to protect and maintain our marriage constantly. We both make mistakes, and we can both be distracted by other things – work, church, children, outside relationships – all good things, but capable of intruding on our marriage relationship in unhelpful ways.
Maybe it’s because I’m getting older and had the opportunity to make plenty of mistakes, or it may be because I grew up in a dysfunctional alcoholic home in domestic violence that I now appreciate more than ever the importance of the marriage and family relationships that God has given us. Consequently I feel strongly about helping other Christians to protect their marriages and family life. I don’t have all the answers, but I do know some of the dangers and pitfalls. And that is why I continue to serve in this organisation.
Focus on Uralla
In each edition of Family Foundations we hope to focus on a particular parish within the Diocese of Armidale. We start this time with Uralla…
Uralla is a small town conveniently located on the New England highway, 20 mins from Armidale and one hour from Tamworth. It is a popular tourist town for passing travellers and day visitors from Armidale and Tamworth, who are attracted to its many coffee shops and restaurants and the variety of specialty shops it offers.
Uralla Anglican Church is a small yet warm, welcoming and friendly Christian community. The main centre is St. John’s in Uralla, with smaller outlying centres at Kentucky, Gostwyck, Wollun and Brushgrove. The famous and picturesque church at Gostwyck is a much sought-after wedding venue.
While the Parish largely consists of older members, there is a growing ministry to children and youth through a resident Young Life worker and her family. This has been a great opportunity to reach out to young people who come from a variety of family backgrounds. It has been exciting to see a number of teenagers come to Christ, and to observe the congregation enthusiastically supporting them in their growing faith.
In support of marriage and family life, Uralla Anglican hosted in July MU’s annual marriage enrichment course and on Friday, 16 September, during Marriage Week 2016, is planning a Marriage Dinner with Bishop Rick Lewers as speaker.
A Note to Parish ContactsIf you are receiving this letter as a Parish Contact please feel free to share it with members of your Parish. Please advertise the events noted above. You may print out this letter and distribute if you would like to.
An Invitation to All!
If you are reading this letter and not already connected with MU in the Diocese, we invite you to find out more about MU and to consider becoming an MU Member or Supporter. Please go to our website information or contact Sharon Kirk on 0488192437 or Robyn Perry on 0409314011.
We ask you to join us in prayer:
- For wisdom and guidance for MU Armidale to respond Biblically and lovingly to the challenges of same-sex marriage.
- For the Australian Government as they make decisions about changing the definition of marriage in this country.
- For God’s direction in the planning of a Diocesan Parenting Day for 2017.
- For the protection and growth in godliness of Christian marriages and families within the Armidale Diocese.
Thanks for your support, and for sharing in this important ministry!
For God’s honour and glory,