Family Wellness Ministry
Contact Kristen Bruskas
The Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco recently established a Family Wellness Ministry that will develop programs and ministries serving specific needs of the Orthodox faithful throughout the Metropolis. The Orthodox faithful face the same challenges of living in a largely secular society rife with marital breakdown, compromised morals, substance abuse, and confusion about the purpose of life. Reflecting this, the marriages and families of our clergy often suffer the same fates as those of their parishioners - marital dissatisfaction, divorce, troubled children, and substance abuse. Currently, individual Greek Orthodox parishes throughout this Metropolis are attempting to address some of these concerns for their parishioners with support groups or referral to counseling. Unfortunately, parish priests are often under-trained or ill prepared to address many of these issues with their parishioners, let alone in their own homes. The reality is that parish priests are often overwhelmed just trying to meet sacramental obligations to their flock.
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 brining wellness to humanity, and healing to the world. Throughout its history, the Church has fulfilled this mission in a variety of ways, demonstrating great creativity and flexibility in its approach, while at the same time retaining an essentially unified and cohesive vision of salvation as healing and wholeness. In keeping with this mission, the Metropolis is developing a new and visionary outreach programs, which will encompass and integrate all if its ministries. The Family Wellness Ministry is more than a ministry program, more than a committee, more than a building. Rather, it seeks to offer a new and holistic way of looking at all the ministries and activities of the Church.
The Family Wellness Ministry will be a program-based ministry for people of all ages and at all stages in life. The initial programs will be implemented at the parish level, facilitated by trained laypeople, under the supervision of the Clergy. Other programs will be designed as traveling classes, seminars, retreats, and encounter groups to be offered regionally.
The ministry of the Family Wellness Ministry is being developed as a permanent program offered by the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco. The Family Wellness Ministry will act as an umbrella under which the majority of Her ministries will function. Future areas of program development include: parenting classes, singles, men's and women's ministries, special programs designed for the elderly, plus addressing topics such as substance abuse, addiction, depression, teen pregnancy, anger management and suicide.
For too many years, the Greek Orthodox Church has not responded with in-depth programs for Her members. While there are many successful ministries that do involve the greater membership, the real issues facing the lives of Orthodox Christians on a daily basis are often overlooked or given a token amount of attention. Through the ministry of the Family Wellness Ministry, it is our fervent hope and prayer that we will be able to bring people closer to God's love, and the realization that the Lord must be the center of every aspect of one's life.
The ministry of the Family Wellness Ministry is made possible through a generous grant from the Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Endowment Fund.