Marriage and Family


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Marriage and Family

Year-End Review of UPF-Spain's Marriage & Family Initiative

Madrid, Spain - A summary of the vision, activities, participants, and practical aspects of UPF-Spain's Marriage & Family Initiative.

After working for six years on family issues, I wanted to start developing the area of marriage and family education for UPF. The Family Initiative started in London with my vision and that of Mr. Edward Hartley of UPF-United Kingdom. Based on this, I decided to create a schedule of monthly programs in Madrid to provide education and guidance to the participants (youth and adults).

The main purpose of the seminars is to promote the UPF Founder’s vision of a marriage and family culture, moral values, and family peace education. I felt a desire to connect with people from related organizations in Spain. During the past two years, we have had many good exchanges of ideas and projects that awaken the conscience of people, prepare people for marriage, and promote the sanctity of marriage. We have spoken about models of true love relationships, the character and attitude of a good citizen, and the need to change from selfishness to goodness. The best way to create peace in the family and society is through living for the sake of God and others. We also encourage people to pray for care for children and families suffering in areas of war and conflict.

We have had Catholic, Mormon, Muslim, Buddhist, and Unificationist speakers. Some came originally from Central or South America, the Middle East, and Asia, in addition to Spain or other European nations.

Creating a calendar for the year focuses our energy and commitment. Having a clear outline of the year, the ideas will flow to elaborate all the programs for the Seminars. A typical program includes:

  • Cultural entertainment, which helps create an atmosphere of peace, joy, beauty, and creativity.
  • Inviting people to participate in a toast for peace is beautiful tradition promoting purity, unity, and high ideals.
  • Offering interreligious prayers for peace in areas of war, conflict, and natural disasters helps create bases for a unity of heart among diverse people.

In addition to Ambassador for Peace certificates, we have presented various outstanding couples with Awards for Large Families, Recognition for More Than 20 Years of Marriage, Awards for Loyalty and Support for our programs, and Awards for Generosity and Support for our projects as expressions of our respect and love.

Each seminar includes a PowerPoint presentation based on the UPF's peace principles. A notable example is the presentation entitled “The Attitude of a Good Citizen,” which describes citizenship in terms of the five principles of Ambassadors for Peace. It is part of the collection of educational material (in Spanish) at our slideshare site:

These seminars have also been opportunities to introduce our proposal for an interreligious council at the United Nations.

Additional practical aspects:

  • Invitations: We invite people via e-mails, fliers, posters, and phone calls. Fliers are distributed in public places and among friends beginning ten days before the event. Personal phone calls are especially effective.
  • Funds: We don’t pay an honorarium to the speakers but I always buy them a gift as a token of our appreciation. Sometimes we have given gifts to musical and dance groups. The UPF office covers the cost of food and refreshments, and volunteers prepare and set up the buffet. Other expenses such as flowers, gifts, other materials have been covered by fund-raising activities. We have also invited people in the audience to contribute to charitable causes represented by the speakers or musical groups who perform.
  • Attendance: Usually between 25 and 50 people come to the seminars. More than 85 people attended the Family Festival on December 12, 2010. The cause (raising money for Palestinian children) and the chorus helped attract the larger audience.
  • I ask speakers to give me a ten-line summary of their main points to include in reports about the event.

UPF advocates a peaceful substantial revolution in the hearts of people through education. Our ongoing programs communicate the true purpose of life for individuals, couples, families, and the world. Even though the general current of culture is towards relativism and tolerance of evil, we can give people hope and guidance. I believe God needs us and our fellow human beings. We are to be His channel to create situations where His love, peace, unity, ideas, and ideals for all mankind can be expressed.

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