Nicky & Sila Lee
"Relationship Education Works", the Scottish Relationship Central Conference heard on Saturday. ALPHA's expanding portfolio of Family Life Ministries was given a boost as authors Nicky & Sila Lee, spoke to delegates from across Scotland about The Marriage Course & Marriage Preparation Course, which runs in venues around the country. They also gave an official Scottish launch to their new Parenting Children and Parenting Teenagers Courses - which they are encouraging churches to host as a service to their local communities.
The Lee's insistence on the power of relationship education, is based on their experience, and feedback from the thousands of people who have used their courses. The skills for developing and maintaining good relationships in marriage, and with children can be learnt, they said. Coupled to this conviction, they quoted a raft of statistics and quotes from church-leaders and politicians demonstrating the shortage of such skills in contemporary society.
Nicky and Sila Lee went on to affirm the importance of marriage as a vital component in the health of society; and challenged the churches to be more actively involved in supporting marriages. The churches, they said, are ideally placed in communities throughout the land to provide the support for marriages that can make a decisive contribution to social cohesion and human happiness.
Delegates broke into smaller groups during the day to look at the different marriage and parenting related courses, examining the content and discussing the practicalities of hosting and marketing them. They were also given the opportunity to hear from people who have run these courses in local churches and communities to ask questions and draw on their experience.
In his remarks, during the question and answer session at the end of the day, ALPHA Scotland Director Paul Davie drew on lessons from church history. He explained that the great evangelist John Wesley had encouraged William Wilberforce in his struggle against the slave-trade, calling it a "Glorious Enterprise", a "Holy Calling". He encouraged the delegates to press on with the task of benefiting society, in these terms. Many of the delegates responded to the closing invitation to commit themselves to doing just that, while others spoke of a renewed enthusiasm for the work.