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"WORK-FAMILY SEE-SAW" ADDRESSED IN 2001 FAMILY WEEK RESOURCES

May 4, 2001, New York City—Families and individuals struggling to juggle all the demands on their time and lives in a more faith-centered and balanced way can find help in this year’s Family Week resources, produced collaboratively by the National Council of Churches and the American Bible Society.

A poster and Web site on the theme "The Work-Family See-Saw" offer a few simple activities to help congregations and their members work toward a balance in their lives together, a balance that nurtures individuals and families in body, spirit and mind.

The 17 X 23 inch, full-color poster graphically presents the theme. The accompanying Web site (www.ForMinistry.com/seesaw) lists many resources along with Bible studies and suggested activities. Families who don’t own a Bible can even request a free Contemporary English Version (CEV) Bible at www.ForMinistry.com/seesaw. The CEV Bible is published by the American Bible Society.

Congregations are encouraged to utilize the resources to introduce the concept of Sabbath time. This can be done through Bible study, book discussion groups, and a time of dedication for people in the congregation, whether they reside in family groups or alone, to express aloud a commitment to center their lives in God’s Word.

Then the congregation is challenged to declare a church Sabbath, canceling all committee meetings and extra programs beyond worship during a liturgical season or another specified period and encouraging families and individuals to use this "found" time to nourish their faith at home.

Families are instructed in how to do a family-time audit. After charting how their time is spent among school, church, jobs, recreation and so forth, they are encouraged to compare their chart to what they hope and expect. Families are asked, "What changes would bring your chart closer to your ideal? How might you plan differently for the coming month?"

The 2001 Family Week materials were produced through a collaboration between the ForFamilies Initiative of ForMinistry.com, which is a program of the American Bible Society, and the Committee on Family Ministries and Human Sexuality of the National Council of Churches.

Family Week materials are undated, for use anytime. Some churches use the week ending with Mother’s Day in May for the observance. In Canada, Family Week is observed in connection with Canadian Thanksgiving in October. Posters are being distributed by denominational family ministry offices and also are available for $2 from Ministries in Christian Education, National Council of Churches, 475 Riverside Drive, Room 834, New York, NY 10115.

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