Liverpool couples attend marriage conference

By Tony and Pat Banks

Five couples from Liverpool Archdiocese took part in a recent weekend of reflection on married life.

More than 100 members of Teams, the British branch of the Equipes Notre Dame movement, gathered at the Hayes Christian Conference Centre in Swanwick, Derbyshire, the first weekend of October to explore the theme of 'Living the Gospel with joy through changing times'.

Teams is an organisation that supports Christian married couples in their pursuit of happiness in both their marriage and their living out of the Gospel. One of the two main speakers at the 2016 regional gathering was Father Chris Thomas, director of spirituality at Liverpool Archdiocese's Irenaeus Centre. As with the other main speaker, David Wells of Plymouth Diocese, Fr Chris based his talk on our call to be witnesses to the mercy of God, declaring that "love is mercy's other name".

The Teams movement began in France and today stretches across 80 countries. The October get-together featured presentations by couples from India, Trinidad and South Africa, along with an excellent explanation of the organisation's work by the UK-based Piotr and Dzidzia Chodsko-Zajko, who assist in the capacity of 'transatlantic super regional couple'.

Additionally, there were workshops titled 'We Stand on Holy Ground' (a response to 'Laudato Si'') and 'Responding to Change in Marriage and Family Life', based on 'Amoris Laetitia'. Delegates also reflected on how 'God loves infinite variety' as well as their efforts to pray daily as a couple or family.

For those couples who had brought their families, there was a separate children's programme. The children present – aged three to 10 – took part in a lantern procession as dusk fell on the Saturday and prepared a drama and music for the closing Mass, celebrated by Abbot Martin Shipperlee of Ealing Abbey, the super regional counsellor for Teams in the UK. All the couples left uplifted by the time shared together and an increased desire to follow the Gospel more readily each day.

For more information about Teams, visit: www.teamsgb.org.uk.