Georgetown, Guyana (December 14, 2019): President David Granger, this morning, urged the membership of the Guyana Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists to focus more on family relations in their ministry.

The Head of State was at the time speaking at the Church’s centennial Family Ministries Celebration, held at the Central Seventh-Day Adventist Church, Church Street, Georgetown.

“The child is best nurtured in an environment in which both fathers and mothers play their respective roles and complement one another. The family is looked upon as the natural environment for the well-being of its members [according to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child – the 30th anniversary of which is being observed this year, 2019]. The Convention emphasizes, also, the importance of the family to the harmonious development of the child who is entitled to grow up in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding,” President Granger said.

The Head of State said the family is especially significant to children’s development noting that it is the most important institution in shaping a child’s character. “The human child will remain weak without the family. Communities need happy families if children are to be nourished and nurtured for adulthood,” he said, while explaining that violence as is evidenced daily has a ‘secondary impact’ on children.

President Granger said interpersonal violence has become a public security epidemic describing it as the most vicious, virulent crime in the country. “Nowhere is the impact more severe than on the most vulnerable members of society – children, women and youth,” he said, adding that family life is not immune to the public displays of hooliganism.

The President asserted that the Church has the moral authority and the influence to help break the cycle of violence which is corroding family life. “It [the Church] is urged to lend greater efforts to ensuring a culture of peace and non-violence at all levels of society. The Church can do more to repair the damage to marriage and family life and on our young people,” the Head of State said.

The President reminded the congregation that the Church’s mission is to make God and Jesus better known to all humanity as is written in the Holy Bible [at Mark 16:15] that Jesus commanded his disciples to “… Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature”.

President Granger said further that the Church looks to promote good families through the promotion of marriages characterized by mutual love, respect and responsibility towards God, each other and to offspring. He noted that the Church’s ministry to families can be distilled into four main responsibilities: protecting the sanctity of marriage; preparing couples for lifelong and loyal unions; providing support for families in distress; and promoting good Christian values and sound parenting.

“The Church is part of society. The Church has an interest in ensuring an environment which is conducive to family life. The Adventist Church, even after 100 years, accepts that more needs to be done. We are at the dawn, perhaps, of the ‘Decade of the Family’,” President Granger said.

The Head of State said Guyana will launch a Decade of Development on January 1, 2020, which will include measures aimed at strengthening family life.

“Families need comfortable housing for their proper development. Family life will flourish when households live in safe communities with access to education, health care and adequate facilities for children’s play and recreation. Family life is more stable when income levels are stable. Poor families need support in times of need and crises. The ‘Decade’ will contribute towards the stability of family life by implementing policies to ensure that every child has access to education, including free university education; improving housing and safe and secure communities and providing quality health care for all; increasing employment opportunities to guarantee income stability for families. The ‘Decade’ will address the economic and social aspects necessary to promote stable families. Your Government looks to the Church to help launch initiatives aimed at enhancing family life,” the President said, noting that Adventism is a Christian doctrine that is concerned about the future.

The Head of State reminded that Adventists believe that family is “…the soul of the Church and society.” Adventists, he said, believe that the Christian family is a holy covenant which should mirror the love, sanctity, closeness and permanence between Christ and His Church. The family should exemplify the values of Christianity in word and deed; that parents have a primary responsibility, second only to their duty to God, to secure the advancement and comfort of their children.”

President Granger said that the Adventists’ faith and works are admirable adding that the Adventist Families Ministries, established one hundred years ago as the Home Ministries, has been in the vanguard of the Church’s efforts to propagate Christian family values, encourage the development of happy unions and offer support to families in distress.

“The Church is an instrument of hope. The Church must help to build a happy nation. The Church is tasked with the mission of instilling the values of the Kingdom of God in society. The family is the foundation of that Kingdom. The Church can and must help to strengthen that foundation – the family,” President Granger said.

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