When you hear couples who have navigated the storms and calm of marriage or relationships spanning over forty years, it equips you with some knowledge and contact as you journey along in your own unique experiences and assures you of a happy ending to whatever you might be going through as a couple or family. That is just one of the many cardinal aims of a conference such as this. There is no manual for marriages and no Marriage is the same, so we learn and unlearn.
"Staying in Love ,staying in the family" as a theme of the Couples Koinonia Conference 2022 could not have come at a better time than now when families are still reeling from the adverse effects of the covid crisis and the sudden high rate of inflation around the world. Many families know something is lacking but not many realize what the solution to the never ending crisis in the world which has had many negative impact on the nucleus of the society (Family) .
Pondering over the theme "Staying In Love, Staying in the family " alone would not do justice to the various dimensions through which the various facilitators and guests at this year's conference dealt with it.
From issues affecting the family as a whole to how the society impacts on the family as a unit were at the front burner of the various discussions and lectures taking into cognizance the individual contribution to the various experiences which has continued to shape our lives. The two day event had guests arriving from different parts of the United Kingdom to a very serene atmosphere of Wokefield Estate in Reading. A venue purposely built for relaxation and bonding of families and couples. Situated in a vast expanse of a golf resort likened to being on holiday somewhere in the Bahamas. This venue did not fall short of the various venues that have been used for conferences in the past.
The first night was an awesome experience with an overview of what to expect of the event and testimonies of God's faithfulness in the lives of past attendees.
Pastor Margaret and Tawa Bankole, married for over 32yrs shared a heart touching and faith inspired testimony of the crisis that engulfed their union which caused them to be separated for 18months and only reunited due to the mercy and grace of God. This experience of theirs led to the establishment of a Marriage Couples Fellowship which till date has been a blessing to many from all walks of life.
Such an awesome night and many eagerly looking forward to the second day with registration expected to kick off at 9am after breakfast
On Saturday, praise and worship kick-started the events setting the atmosphere for an awesome time of fellowship.
Children, singles and teenagers had separate events and venues to keep them busy and tune them in line with how they can bond with parents and as teenagers how to find a date, dating with God as the bedrock of their relationship as well as how to know the red flags in relationships.
Bro Demola and Catherine , Dr Lemu and his lovely wife all shared with the over 18 who are single on ways to know the mind of God on these issues.
Bill & Sue Davison who has being in Christian ministry for over 42 years and in a committed marriage shared how they have remained committed to their relationship of over
forty years citing fear of God, forbear ance ,understanding the human limitations as well as reasons for coming together as couple as reasons for a long lasting relationship.
The coordinators of Couple Koinonia,Dr and Mrs Olawale while narrating their experiences on the journey so far were very explicit in giving God all the glory for the impact the charity has had in the lives of many from all parts of the world while also commending the efforts of individuals who had contributed in no small measure to its growth over the years.
Family dynamics with Yemi and Jide Lipede brought to fore issues in mental health that impacts negatively on children and couples. As a psychotherapist ,Mrs Lipede laid emphasis on nurturing the relationship between couples such that children are not in-between them but below them in the bed of love. She also spoke about learning how to communicate with children effectively without allowing cultural inferences to affect them.
Mrs Popoola via zoom call described the family as the foundation of the the society and the church of which Christ is the head without which the much desired bonding and staying in Love cannot be achieved. She reiterated that the duty of bringing up Godly children was bestowed on parents by God and how the children turn out in the society will be accounted for before him. If we wanted to raise an apple we could not live as grapes Likes beget like.
Abuse of all sorts have become common place in the society and the Christian home is no exemption. The toll it has on the children is unimaginable as they grow up to think that is the norm since the parents with whom they grew up lived with it.
However, Mrs Florence Onoghure, a lawyer, pastor as well a wife differs on the approach of some Christian denominations on how they deal with the issues of abuse in whatever form. As a lawyer who deals on family matters in the family courts, she is of the opinion that the church needs to do more in educating its members and Pastors on ways of nipping the issues of domestic abuse in the bud before it results in very catastrophic cases citing the issue of the gospel artist in Nigeria whose husband is alleged to have abused till death while the church continue to emphasis submission on the pulpit.
She concludes by advising couples to take courses and read books on developing and living harmoniously in the home.
Pastor and Dr Brown both with vast knowledge and practice in dealing with autism and autistic tendencies in both adults and children spoke extensively on how to diagnose autism and seek help early. The couple who run MIND GYM sessions, a programme on how to use the mind through the word of God , to heal all sorts of diseases, encouraged participants to use the word of God in the bible for healing which according to them research has proven to be accurate.
The discussion session reflected mostly on how couples can rekindle the bond between them with emphasis on allowing Christ lead the home.
Another special highlight was the launch of a book by Mrs Sola Olawale detailing her journey of over 32yrs as a mother ,wife and mentor of other Christian couples on how they can successfully navigate the bends of marital challenges. The book titled His CHOICE GAVE ME A CHANCE is a must read as evidenced by testimonies from those who reviewed it.
Dinner and dance wrapped up the two day conference with children and Singles as part of the bonding process of the night where they judged their parents dancing steps, something you don't see everyday.