The Orthodox faithful, both parishioners and clergy, live in a largely secular society in which marital breakdown, compromised morals, substance abuse, and confusion about the purpose of life are common. In truth, parish priests are often under-trained or ill-prepared to address many of these issues. Therefore, they typically address these concerns for their parishioners via support groups or referrals to counseling. As Metropolitan Gerasimos has stated, “Families - clergy and lay - should be able to turn to their parish or the wider Church, which offers real guidance and real services. Throughout its history, the Orthodox Church has offered Her members, and anyone who seeks Her out, places for learning, for prayer and reflection, and for healing.”
Throughout the Gospels, Jesus offers everyone who comes to Him wellness, as both physical and spiritual wholeness, reintegration, and salvation. The Church, which extends Jesus' salvific ministry upon earth, is charged with this same mission of bringing wellness to humanity, and healing to the world. In keeping with this mission, the Family Wellness Ministry utilizes a program-based approach for people of all ages and at all stages in life. Implemented at the parish level, the programs are facilitated by trained lay people, under the supervision of the Clergy. Specific programs include: parenting classes, marriage enrichment, singles, men's and women's ministries, special programs designed for the elderly, seminars addressing abuse & addiction, mental health, grief & loss, divorce care, suicide, domestic violence, and teenage life among others.
This is more than a ministry program, more than a committee, more than a building. Rather, we offer a new and holistic way of looking at all the ministries and activities of the Church. It is our fervent hope and prayer that the Family Wellness Ministry will help in nurturing healthy parishes that transform lives, bring people closer to God's love and the realization that Jesus Christ must fill all aspects of one's life.