Marriage and Family celebrated in Britain and the West Indies: The Church of England Newspaper, Feb 25, 2011 March 2, 2011Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of the West Indies, Marriage.
First published in The Church of England Newspaper.
The Bishops of the Church of the Province of the West Indies have inaugurated a “Year of the Family,” calling upon Caribbean Christians to come out of sinful relationships and immoral practices and adopt an attitude that puts the family first.
Their call echoes statements made last week by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions seeking a recommitment to marriage in Britain.
In a statement marking the opening of the Family Year on the third Sunday of Epiphany, Jan 23, Archbishop John Holder of Barbados said that among the challenges “facing our families in the Caribbean” were the “care and support of the elderly,” the “care and guidance of our children,” and “channelling the energy of our youth along creative paths.”
In its social agenda, the Anglican Church has sought to foster the importance of the nuclear family, working to overcome common social patterns of absent fathers, grandmother-dominated households, short-lived common-law unions, and ‘child-shifting’, where children are sent to live with relatives because the parents have migrated or have begun a union with another spouse.
Youth work has also focused on providing alternate models for young boys, who often view family patterns such as matriarchal households, male absenteeism, and extramarital relationships as norms and continue them as adults.
Archbishop Holder stated “we can never over emphasise the critical role the family plays in stabilising and enriching society.”
“This is a role recognised by the Church and every member is being called upon to make a special contribution to this critical process,” he said, citing the work of the Mothers’ Union and other church organizations that were “strengthening our families” and supporting marriage.
Preserving and strengthening marriage was imperative in Britain also, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith, said last week.
In a speech delivered at the start of Marriage Week on Feb 8, Mr. Duncan Smith denounced elitist anti-marriage attitudes, and called upon the government to “ensure people have the opportunity to achieve their aspirations” and to marry.
“Today through our celebrity focused media we give awards to so many different groups, film stars, soap stars, pop stars and football stars,” he stated, “yet the most basic institution, which nurtures each generation and from which so many of us draw our strength and purpose, goes unnoticed and unrewarded.”
“The commitment of two people to put selfish interest to one side for the sake of each other and the children they raise is simply the very best of us as human beings,” the minister said, adding that marriage was the “best antidote to the celebrity obsessed culture we live in, for it is about understanding that our true value is lastingly expressed through the lives of others we commit to.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams stated “marriage nourishes our society and it’s only natural that couples should nourish themselves by making sure they have a proper helping of leisure time together.”
“We know there’s no greater communication than in breaking bread together and I hope Marriage Week will serve to remind those of us who are married that we should be making time to eat and talk and play together all year round,” Dr. Williams said.