This quarter, Lovin’ Life’s Blessed Family Ministry (BFM) is launching BlessedLIFE, a contemporary, local church-based ministry for Unificationist couples. The mission of BlessedLIFE is to build successful marriages by educating individuals about God’s intention for married love, preparing them for the marriage Blessing and providing couples with skills and support throughout their marriage. BlessedLIFE seeks to coordinate locally-based teams that aid in Blessing education, couples mentoring, and marriage-or couples small groups, creating a stronger framework for growth and development. BlessedLIFE is an extension and a part of the BFM, which continues to maintain a national role and support local ministries.
The BFM has always provided education, support, resources and counseling for individuals, couples, families and specialized ministries, such as Getting Back on Track and 24+. Much of the BFM has been comprised of dedicated volunteers who prepared candidates for the Blessing and addressed the many challenges within families. These volunteers have and continue to contribute to the BFM through counseling, enabling networking and communication, organizing couples’ events, small groups or home dinners and more to build a BlessedLIFE culture. However, following Rev. In Jin Moon’s model of Lovin’ Life Ministries, the BFM has revamped its ministry to help volunteers bring out the best of their talents within their areas of expertise.
“We at the national BFM are excited about the development of local BlessedLIFE teams and are looking forward to visiting each region in 2012 and supporting their growth,” said Debby Gullery, a member of the BFM.
BlessedLIFE ministry teams will move church communities from a state of “crisis management” to that of building healthy support systems and providing more focused education. The BlessedLIFE ministry includes small group studies, interactive programs and participatory education that engage young and old couples alike. This will allow families and communities to grow, as well as empower more to contribute.
The BlessedLIFE ministry focuses on three areas: preparation, enhancement, and healing. All levels begin with building an understanding of the Blessing and provide guidance on how to prepare for and sustain healthy, lasting marriages within a community.
The first area of focus for BlessedLIFE is Blessed Marriage Preparation, which concerns educating and encouraging Unificationists to prepare themselves for the marriage Blessing. Individuals should enter their marriages with the strongest foundation possible. Local BlessedLIFE teams can help them do so in a variety of ways, including putting together a Matching Handbook study group for singles and ensuring that individuals know how to start the matching process and prepare themselves for their future spouse. With the next Blessing Ceremony around the corner on March 23, 2012, now is a great opportunity to help prepare and educate Unificationists on the matching and the Blessing.
The second area of focus for BlessedLIFE is Marriage Enhancement. Support for the Blessing continues beyond the Blessing ceremony. An essential focus of the national BFM and local BlessedLIFE teams is to aid new and old couples alike. This can be accomplished through a couples’ small group or regular couples’ events, either for relationship education or for recreation. Members of the community, especially older, happily-married couples, can also be a source of inspiration for newly Blessed couples and are encouraged to guide those who have questions about their marriages.
BlessedLIFE also encourages couples to take a recently-featured relationship survey called the Couple’s Check-up, which can be accessed online for a minimal fee. This survey is recommended to couples at any stage in their marriages, and allows them to see the strengths and weaknesses in their marriage so as to better solidify the bond as husband and wife.
Another great resource of the national BFM is regular Marriage Education Webinars. These webinars touch upon important issues such as infidelity, effective communication, pornography-addiction and more, and thereby provide an appropriate platform upon which to address and discuss these sensitive topics. Old and young couples are encouraged to watch these webinars together with their community.
The third and final area of focus is Marriage Healing, which is an aspect of BlessedLIFE that supports struggling couples. A list of marriage-friendly counselors and of national emergency and critical care resources can be found at familyfed.org/blessedlife. BlessedLIFE teams can also find local, marriage-friendly, commitment-affirming counselors. In turn, communities can organize or participate in specialized care ministries, such as the Preventing Divorce ministry. BlessedLIFE seeks to empower local communities to care for each other and to create a family atmosphere and a marriage culture that offers a stronger framework for growth and development.
BlessedLIFE also provides curriculum development for small groups and enrichment programs, coaching, consultation and counseling. Lovin’ Life is the top resource and support for the local BlessedLIFE teams. At the national level, the BFM provides training for Matching Advisors, who help families and candidates through the matching process, holds Parents Matching Convocations, and aids in crisis intervention when it is needed.
Additional educational resources and contact information for critical situations is located at www. familyfed.org/blessedlife.
Contributed by Kyunga Orr.