The 2018 Pastors’ and Principals’ Retreat was held at Camp Hope with the theme of “The Pastoral Couple.” Claudio and Pamelyn Consuegra of the North American Division office of Family Ministries led the pastoral couples through a seminar designed to strengthen the home. The seminar was held on the weekend, and child care was provided to enable more spouses to attend. The attendance was the largest we had experienced in many years with all but a few of the pastoral spouses attending.
Children’s programming was led out by Tom and Linda Glatts, Lisa Clarke from the office of education, and Michael and Marilyn West. Action-filled songs, participatory Bible stories, and fun crafts kept the children active while their parents attended the seminar. We were grateful for the volunteers who helped with guiding little hands in making the string art projects.
The seminars included:
- Plugging the Hole: Eliminating What Destroys Marriages
- Meeting His Most Important Emotional Needs
- Meeting Her Most Important Emotional Needs
- A Balancing Act: Walking the Tight Rope Between the Family and Ministerial Life
- How Changes Happen: Bringing Life Back to a Dead Marriage
Pastoral couples face a great deal of expectations on their time and energy. After a full week of responsibilities, there is often little left for marriage family life. The Consuegras’ seminar was designed to help the pastoral families re-establish priorities and develop skills for long-lasting relationships.
Another concern the conference has is planning for retirement. If pastoral families are similar to the general public, only a small portion are actively planning for retirement and their children’s education. The Royal Bank of Canada was invited to offer two seminars on financial planning. Younger pastors attended the class on RRSPs and RESPs, while the older pastors focused on how to build wealth before they retire. Each family was offered the opportunity of payroll deductions for education and retirement.
Pastors are now required to complete two units of continuing education each year, including a required seminar about sexual abuse. Sharon Aka of Adventist Learning Community (ALC) spoke Thursday evening on the variety of subjects covered on the ALC website. The course about sexual abuse is a 10-hour class covering how to prevent abuse of children at church, the 10 steps abusers follow in grooming a child for abuse, and when to report suspected abuse. While all full- and part-time pastors and teachers are required to complete the course, volunteers are also welcome and encouraged to take this course.
Brian Wahl, youth director of the BC Conference, presented a vision of Churches Growing Young. Brian cast a vision for small churches that lack children or youth to develop a ministry that will fill their Sabbath school rooms. If you are interested in having Brian come to your church, he would be glad to schedule a seminar.
I really appreciate the churches that were willing to cover their services while the pastors were away at the retreat. I believe this weekend will bear good fruit in the churches of British Columbia and the Yukon.