What is Couples for Christ?
Couples for Christ (CFC) is a movement intended for the renewal and strengthening of Christian family life. The members have committed themselves to the Lord and to one another so that they may grow in maturity as men and women of God and fulfill their primary vocation of raising up families under the lordship of Jesus Christ and for the service of the Kingdom of God.Couples for Christ is a work of Christ which raises up Christian couples and establishes Christian families committed to the work of evangelization, winning the world for Christ and Total Human Liberation through the power of the Holy Spirit. CFC began in 1981 in Manila when a local Christian community tried a new approach in evangelizing married couples. The method used consisted of bringing together a small group of prospective couples in a private home. There they were brought to a living relationship with Jesus Christ and to renewal in the power of the Holy Spirit through a series of weekly informal discussions of the gospel in a social environment.
Soon, CFC became a Christian family life renewal program made available to parishes and groups of married couples who wished to live out their Christian life in an active supportive relationship with one another.
Through the years, CFC has blossomed into a worldwide ministry, becoming a major force for the renewal of the Christian family life and also of the church. It is now present in the way of life of people of different nationalities in ninety six (96) countries, as of December 2000. It grows mainly through the establishment of localized units in different parishes throughout the world.
What is CFC Singles for Christ?
CFC Singles for Christ (SFC) is for single men and women with ages from 21 to the 40’s. Truly, most single professional men and women have been burdened in climbing the ladder to success. Fortunately, thousand of these singles have responded to God’s call and acknowledged that only He can lessen the burden and make them live joyful and peaceful lives. They may be in the world, but they are not of the world. One exciting and interesting highlight about SFC’s existence is its smooth integration to CFC, not only in terms of its structure, but also because a good number of its members have found their lifetime partners in SFC, while those who came in ahead invited their “loves” to join as well, thereby forging a stronger relationship focused on the Lord.
Why is such a ministry necessary?
It is God’s plan that the family be the basic unit of society. However, there are many forces in the world today that would , wittingly or unwittingly, destroy the very foundations of the family. SFC wants to rise in defense of the family which is God’s work. SFC wants to bring God’s strength and light to those who are struggling to be truly Christian families in the modern world.
How does SFC intend to work for Catholic Christian renewal?
Singles for Christ intends to carry out its works and its mission by focusing on three specific objectives:
1. Individual renewal. SFC first takes the basic message of Catholic Christianity and proclaims it anew so that those who hear it can make a renewed commitment to God in a way which will allow them to receive a fuller experience of the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
2. Family renewal. As individuals renew their commitment to God, they also renew their commitment to their family and to their Catholic Christian family life. Gradually, the new life that they find in the Lord filters down to all their family relationships.
3. Church renewal. As individuals are renewed, they form a network of equally committed Christians who not only support one another but also strengthen the Church of which they are members.
What is the Mission Statement of SFC?
The single men and women today live in a difficult age. In a new world rapid change and unprecedented evil, they need to chart the course of their own lives. The face an uncertain future, without much to hold on to since traditional support structures are starting to break up around them. Being on their own now, they experience tremendous pressure to succeed, or perhaps for most, simply to survive.
Life after school is a time for excitement and challenge. But, many single men and women soon realize that real life is very different from what they have learned in school. Many lose their idealism as the are confronted with the reality of evil in the marketplace. And so they start to compromise their values. Earning money gives them a new freedom to make choices and a new sense of power to buy and to own. But the lack of values and a sense of responsibility to go with this new freedom can lead many of them in a path away from God. The chart career paths that do not consider God as a priority and, worse, develop new activities and habits, including vices, that make them turn away from God. This will only lead them to a life of loneliness, frustrations, and despair.
We believe that God has a plan for us to live meaningful, happy and productive lives at this stage of our human existence. Given the formidable obstacles that we face, we need a renewed relationship with God and the power of the Holy Spirit to live a new life. We need a support environment where God’s plan is revealed to us and where we can draw strength from other single men and women who are committed to love and support us. We need a group where our energy and talents can be developed and put to good use to serve God and His people. We need a place where we can be formed to prepare us for the next stage of our lives, to marry or to live a single life in total dedication to the Lord.
We therefore commit to the work of personal renewal and evangelization in our milieu as part of the larger work of the Couples for Christ family and in line with it’s global mission of “renewing the face of the earth.”
What is the Philosophy Statement of SFC?
The following embodies the beliefs and ideals of the CFC Singles for Christ as a ministry, from which flow the Christian attitudes, values and behavior, as well as its programs, teachings and approaches to Christian renewal.
1. WE BELIEVE that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and we safeguard its sanctity by being pure in thought, in word and in deed.
2. WE BELIEVE that God gave us gifts and talents with which we can serve and glorify Him and which allow us to live fruitful lives. We believe in the proper stewardship of these gifts by striving to succeed in our chosen work or profession without sacrificing our Christian values and ethics.
3. WE BELIEVE in the indissolubility of Christian marriage and the importance of family life in the plan of God, in the sanctity of human life and the right of the unborn child.
4. WE BELIEVE that we are called to live out our faith fully and to share actively in the life and mission of our Church — through prayers, evangelization and service to others.
5. WE BELIEVE that Christian family renewal can best be achieved by inviting Jesus to be the Lord of our homes and by allowing the power of the Holy Spirit to lead our family lives and through the full use of all charismatic gifts at our disposal.
6. WE BELIEVE in living productive lives as citizens of our country, obeying its laws and respecting its institutions. We believe that we have a duty to the future generations, in protecting our natural environment and in combating the proliferation of evil in our social environment.
7. WE BELIEVE that individual and corporate renewal can best be achieved by having a deep personal relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior by calling upon the power of the Holy Spirit in our day-to day life and by making full use of all charismatic gifts at our disposal.
Who can become members of SFC?
Any single person can become a member of Singles for Christ. SFC is mainly a Catholic organization, but is open to membership to all Christians of other denominations. The participants need not have any specific religious and/or spiritual background to become a member. Singles for Christ draws its membership from all sectors of society – young and old, rich and poor, etc. SFC is transcends all cultural, economic, educational, social and other distinctions. SFC is equally adaptable to all local and foreign settings.
How does a person become a member of SFC?
Those who want to become members of Singles for Christ go through a seminar which is called a Christian Life Program (CLP). The CLP commences with an Orientation session, then goes through 12 talks. The talks are usually held in the afternoons or evenings and usually last about two and a half hours per session.
What is the nature of the Christian Life Program?
The Christian Life Program (CLP) is an integrated course leading into a renewed understanding of God’s call to us as Christian Singles. It is divided into 3 modules of 4 session each. Each session consist of a talk, group discussion, and some time for fellowship.
The different topics of the talks are as follows:
Who is Jesus Christ?
What it means to be a Christian
Repentance and Faith
The Christian Ideal : Loving God
Loving your Neighbor
The Christian Family
Life in the Holy Spirit
Receiving the Power of the Holy Spirit
Growing in the Spirit
The Life & Mission of the Singles for Christ
Transformation in Christ (and dedication)
The first module (first 4 talks) presents the absolute basics of Christian life, with emphasis on our hearing it with an adult perspective.
The second module (next 4 talks) presents the kind of life that God calls to us: it spells out the personal response involved in receiving Jesus as Lord and Savior and helps singles to make a reorientation of their lives around Jesus.
The third module (last 4 talks) helps the Singles to commit their lives in a serious way to Jesus. It helps them appropriate for their lives the power of the Holy Spirit. It provides the basic for continuing spiritual growth.
Is there any cost involved?
There are no fees or any monetary expenses required of participants. The only investment required is their time and their openness.
What happens after the Christian Life Program?
After the CLP, those who finish are invited to join SFC. When they do, they are made part of a small cell group called a household. The household is composed of from 5 to 7 Singles who meet weekly for mutual support and encouragement in the Christian life, under the direction of a household leader.
What is the nature of the household?
The purpose of the household group is to build an environment for the support of the Christian life of Singles, and to provide a means for encouraging and hastening spiritual growth. It provides friendship and brotherhood. It helps people overcome obstacles to growth in the Christian life.
The household meeting is held in the homes of the group members, on rotation basis. A typical meeting would involve some time for prayers, a time for sharing or discussion, and finally some time for fellowship. It would normally last about 2.5 hours.
How about Christian formation?
Finishing the CLP is just the beginning of a long process of growth and transformation in Christ. As such, SFC provides a continuing program of formation, which includes teachings, recollections, retreats, etc.
How is Singles for Christ different from other movements or organizations?
SFC differs in a number of ways but the most significant are the following:
1. It fosters deep spiritual renewal which involves personal conversion, developing a personal relationship with Jesus, and living in the power of the Holy Spirit.
2. For those in a relationship, there is emphasis on men and women of God and how they can grow together in their Christian lives and love.
3. It provides continuing support and formation, recognizing that programs can only plant a seed, but that growth is a long and difficult process.
4. It concentrates on evangelization, reaching out to more and more Singles, in line with the Church’s call for lay people to participate actively in the building of God’s kingdom on earth.
Is SFC recognized by the Catholic Church?
Yes, SFC is a servant and lay arm of the Roman Catholic Church in the work of family renewal and evangelization, and has a number of bishops as its Spiritual Directors. The Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has granted Singles for Christ recognition as a PRIVATE ASSOCIATION OF THE LAY FAITHFUL in accordance to Canons 321-329 of the Code of Canon Law. Furthermore, SFC operates under the auspices of the Family Life and/or Evangelization Offices of parishes and dioceses throughout the world.
What benefits can a parish derive in welcoming a SFC ministry?
There are a number of benefits:
1. Singles are renewed and strengthened in their Christian lives. Strong Singles makes for strong families, which make for strong parish.
2. A basic SFC objectives is to be relevant to the life of the Church, specifically in the parish, SFC members is expected to support their parish priest and be available for parish services.
3. SFC can be effectively used in the strategic evangelization of parishioners who are potentially strong servants and workers for the parish.
4. SFC has proven to be an effective tool for fostering unity among mandated organizations and other parish groups, by redirecting leaders to focus on the Lord rather than on their service.
5. SFC can be a conduit for social action in the parish, one of our objectives being the economic and spiritual upliftment of our less fortunate brethren.
6. SFC can hasten the formation of a strong, vibrant Christian community.