When children leave the church and faith in Jesus Christ, parents often find themselves feeling isolated and alone. The feelings of guilt and shame can become overwhelming as they wonder what they did wrong, could have done better, or failed to do. The end result is that parents feel alone with the need to carry this burden on their own.
If you have faced this feeling yourself or want to learn how to help share the burden felt by others, Faith Family Reunion invites you to begin the journey of discovery together with us and other like-minded parents at a one-day retreat at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church of Centreville on Saturday, September 28. Join us from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. as we explore the notion that we might all share similar stories and are really not alone on this road.
Paula Isakson, co-founder of Faith Family Reunion together with her father, the late Rev. Dr. Jakob Heckert, states: “My hope with Faith Family Reunion is to address the issue of children leaving the faith and the church, giving parents a network to reach out to other parents/families who are going through the same thing, sharing testimonies of families that have been reunited in faith, and offering encouragement, inspiration, and hope to parents/families.”
Isakson was one of those children who left despite being the child of a pastor, being educated in a parochial school, and faithfully attending church while growing up. After twenty years away from church, guided by the Holy Spirit she returned to the truths she had learned so many years before. Drawing on her experience and her family’s response to her departure and return, Isakson and Heckert have developed resources to come alongside families still waiting for the “prodigal” to return and to help those families find hope, peace, comfort, encouragement, and inspiration so that they may retain the joy found in Christ.
“During this retreat, we hope to provide you a warm, comfortable, loving, and non-threatening environment where you might feel the freedom to express yourself,” says Isakson. “We hope that this time together can help break down the walls of shame and secrecy. As we join together with one another, we hope to create a community within the church family where you feel safe to open up a dialogue and begin the conversation with others.
“We are not going to ‘tell you what to do’ or ‘tell you what you could have done better’ but rather offer you a time where you can hear from a prodigal that has returned to the faith and to be surrounded by other parents going through similar situations in life. Our goal is to have you find support and leave with hope, realizing that you are not alone.”
The presentation will include a number of resources, a light continental breakfast, and a working lunch—all of which is covered by the ten-dollar registration fee. For more information and to register, click here.
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