Despite local and national opposition the 9th World Congress of Families (WCF) will be held this week in Salt Lake City, Utah, the first time a meeting of this group has been held in the United States since it began in 1997. Gatherings of both faith and family-promoting groups such as Focus on the Family, Alliance Defending Freedom, Family Research Council and many others have been involved with WCF in past years and will contribute to the list of speakers this year.
Among those involved, Laura Bunker, who started United Families Utah and is now the president of United Families International, has stated the involvement of her organization and invited local leaders to attend. This meeting promises to be a meeting of “goodwill” intended to bring interested parties together to “affirm, celebrate, and encourage the natural family.” (From the current WCF website).
I am thrilled at the coming together of like-minded groups to encourage the proliferation of pro-family and pro-marriage teachings. I first learned about this group nearly 2 decades ago when my parents attended one of the gatherings in Europe to lend their support to pro-family groups. I have read about the determination of attendees to lovingly stand strong for their beliefs and make a difference in their community while ignoring intimidation and opposition.
I was thrilled when I discovered the opportunity to volunteer at these meetings and signed up immediately. Because of the conference schedule I am finding the need to rely on family members to watch my children while I am away at the classes and I am grateful for the blessing of extended family in my own life to support me in my endeavors.
As I spoke to my 5 year old this week about why I would be gone in the coming days and why his grandparents and others would be watching him instead, I told him that there was a common belief in our world that getting married wasn’t important and having children wasn’t important. I said I wanted to help others and find support myself to know how to teach people about the crucial role that natural families play in our society. I told him that families were so important to us in our home and to our whole world that I wanted to be involved and making them stronger, even while those ideals seem to be deteriorating, particularly in media and politics.
I tried to explain all of this so a 5 year old could understand and still know why this was so important to me. At the end he just sagely nodded his head and said, “I’m sure glad families are important to us.” Oh, I agree kiddo. And I hope we can help people understand that we don’t hate them and that sometimes the bigger picture is more important– and families are the bigger picture.
If you would like to attend or be involved in the upcoming conference you can find more information, including announcements of speakers from around the world, here.