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Adventists celebrate and reaffirm marriages with free couples convention

Published:Monday | February 2, 2015 | 2:00 AM
FILE Pastor Astor Bowers in his office

The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Jamaica is launching an offensive against the uptick in local divorce statistics by hosting a convention aimed at helping couples rediscover intimacy.

The couples convention, hosted through the church's family ministries department, is slated for next Saturday at the Northern Caribbean University (NCU) Gymnatorium.

The all-day programme, starting at 8:30 a.m., will be held under the theme, Journey Toward Intimacy.

Pastor Astor Bowers, family ministries director of the Jamaica Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (JAMU), said the conference will take couples on a journey to discover or rediscover God's plan for oneness in marriage - the intimacy they desired and hoped for when they first married.

"The convention is to celebrate and reaffirm marriages," said Bowers.

"As couples, we must fight against the natural drift toward growing apart, which leads to loneliness in marriage. Husbands and wives can be best friends, intimate friends, lovers, and allies for a lifetime."

According to a report from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica, there has been a decline each year in the number of couples getting married for the period 2010-2013, while at the same time the divorce rate has increased - moving from 11.34 per cent in 2010 to 12.80 per cent in 2013.

JAMU said it was expecting that, at the end of the day's activities - which include discussion on topics such as Rekindling the Spark, Becoming Intimate Allies, Nurturing Fun, Friendship, Sensuality and Sexuality, Forgiveness and the Restoration of Intimacy - there would be a grand marriage recommitment service with all or most of the more than 1,000 couples who have registered.

"The event is free and open to all married couples in Jamaica who believe in the Biblical marriage and want to spice up their own marriage to help preserve this precious gift, which was given to us from the Garden of Eden, but which is being threatened by various forces in the world today," Bowers added.

Among those who will address participants in the conference are guest presenters for the convention Willie and Elaine Oliver, directors of the Department of Family Ministries for the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church World Headquarters.

JAMU said the Olivers have conducted marriage conferences, retreats, and relationship seminars around the world and have written extensively on issues related to marriage, family and relationships.