The Edinburgh Community Seventh-day Adventist Church gathered at the Balgeddie House Hotel from October 27 to 29, 2023, for their much-anticipated Family Ministries Retreat. Centred around the theme Families Flourishing Through Diversities, the retreat aimed to explore the myriad facets of family life with a focus on unity and diversity.
The retreat commenced on Friday, October 27, with early birds indulging in pre-retreat activities such as swimming, sauna/spa sessions, and gymnastics. Dinner at 6:45 pm marked the official beginning, accompanied by an opening prayer, a warm welcome, and essential housekeeping details. The Scottish Mission Family Ministries Sponsor, Tarzan Bhebhe, set the tone for the weekend at the joint evening session, delving into Forms of Diversities and Their Impact on Family Flourishing in the 21st Century.
Sabbath morning dawned with spiritual vigour as the pastor of the Edinburgh Church, Pastor Fitzroy Morris, led the morning prayer followed by the song service which included the theme song for the weekend, "Love at Home." The Sabbath School comprised breakout sessions for teens and children, facilitated respectively by church members Neacha, Ifeoma and Caroline. The adults engaged in an interactive session led by Elder Tarzan exploring the topic "Families Flourishing Through Loving Discipline and Authentic Communication." Church member Sylvie imparted valuable insights during a health talk on Family Health and Wellbeing using the NEWSTART acronym. The climax of the morning was Pastor Fitzroy's inspirational sermon, Families Flourishing in a Diverse and Broken World.
After a leisurely Sabbath lunch and rest, attendees immersed themselves in a session on "Families Flourishing in Nature," which included discussions on gardening, water, and body care. The day continued with engaging indoor activities featuring Bible games and a Bible quiz. The evening concluded with a breakout session for different groups, followed by a joint session where insights and feedback were exchanged on the topic, Families Flourishing Through Loving Unconditionally, Appreciation of Individual Differences, and Imperfections. Pastor Fitzroy sealed the day with a prayer of consecration for all the families represented, including the church family.
Sunday morning commenced with Elder Tarzan leading an early morning prayer, focusing on the prayer requests placed in the Prayer Box. The day unfolded with another soul-stirring song service and a joint session on Quality Time and Commitment to Family Flourishing, led by Pastor Fitzroy and his family. Concluding the weekend with a profound sentiment, Pastor Fitzroy, aided by Elder Tarzan, bestowed a prayer of consecration upon each participant, accompanied by a charge to carry the invaluable lessons learnt back to their respective families.
The retreat organisers, Edinburgh Church Family Ministries coordinators, Tola and Temitayo Odewusi, expressed heartfelt gratitude to sponsors, speakers, and hotel staff and management for contributing to the overwhelming success of the retreat. As the retreat concluded with group photographs, farewells, and check-outs around 12:00 pm, the participants reflected on an inspiring time of learning, fellowship, and the shared goal of flourishing and interacting as families of God amidst diversities. To God alone be all the glory!