Balm for hurting families offered in seminar by psychologist-pastor Tan Siang Yang
by Christine Leow // May 22, 2023, 6:45 pm
Impressed upon by God to address the issue of families in pain, The World Needs A Father invited psychologist and pastor Prof Rev Tan Siang Yang to speak on healing for families at a seminar this June. Photo by Trung Nguyen.
It was a regular team meeting. The men met often to pray for fathers and plan events to promote families and the importance of the father’s role.
This time, though, something special came up.
“We were seeking the Lord and two words were given – ‘families’ and ‘pain’,” said Wee Boon Choon, team leader at the Singapore chapter of The World Needs A Father (TWNAF).
TWNAF is an international movement dedicated to ensuring that the father figure in the family is strengthened. Through training, mentoring and sharing stories, they have sought to equip fathers and build up families since 2011.
“Families are in pain. Christian families could be worse off due to deeper and stronger shame and blame.”
Months earlier, the team had been thinking of a theme for a family seminar. The idea of ‘rest’ had come about then.
“We combined ‘pain’ and ‘rest’, and that is how we came to a unified agreement on the theme,” said Boon Choon.
Thus was the seminar, Bringing Healing and Wholeness to Families in Pain, birthed.
TWNAF is bringing in Fuller Theological Seminary’s Prof Rev Tan Siang Yang for the two-day seminar, which will be held June 2 and 3 at Pentecost Methodist Church.
“Families are in pain. Christian families could be worse off due to deeper and stronger shame and blame,” Boon Choon elaborated.
“The shame comes from the thinking that, ‘If I am a good Christian, my family should not be going through so much pain and suffering. So I am bad.’
“Then there is blame: ‘If you had been more spiritual, your family would not be going through so many problems. You are bad.’ ”
In an email to Salt&Light, the US-based Prof Tan said: “This topic is especially crucial and relevant, because many families and kids have been negatively impacted in their mental health and family life by the Covid pandemic.
“Its effects will be felt for years ahead.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the first year of the Covid pandemic increased the prevalence of anxiety and depression by 25% worldwide.
Prof Tan, Senior Professor of Clinical Psychology at Fuller Theological Seminary and Senior Pastor Emeritus of First Evangelical Church Glendale, shared that in his church, older people have struggled with loneliness and depression because of the lockdowns and having to pivot to online church services.
“Many have found new but unhealthy ways of coping in the form of gaming and porn.”
Kids and families have suffered too, with the school closures.
Noted TWNAF core team member David Koh: “These pain experiences, though individually felt, can oftentimes be systemic and affect family members and loved ones.
“They can trigger mental health concerns when coping becomes difficult and living with the pain becomes an issue.
“Many suffering from anxiety and depression have found new but unhealthy ways of coping through the Internet, in the form of gaming and porn to find release.
“Prolonged exposure has led to new addictions.”
That is why four topics have been singled out to be addressed: Addiction, depression, marital conflict, and anxiety.
Rest and love
The seminar will also focus on rest as the antidote to the pain families experience.
Said Prof Tan: “While we are now back to more normal, there is a down side in that we are rushing back to our pre-pandemic lives and lifestyles that are driven, hectic, and over-busy again.
“Most of us have not learned to really slow down enough.
“People and families need to learn to slow down and find true rest.”
“Such stressful lifestyles will only exacerbate or worsen mental health and family problems due to the pandemic.
“People and families need to learn to slow down and find true rest physically, emotionally, socially or relationally, and spiritually, which will enrich and bless their family life together.”
At the seminar, Prof Tan will share nine means of grace for experiencing true rest and peace in Christ, gleaned from his book, Rest Experiencing God’s Peace in a Restless World.
Asked if there was a key ingredient that Christian families need, Prof Tan said: “Love as 1 Corinthians 13 emphasises.
“One essential need is to slow down and have time for one another. Someone once said ‘love’ is spelt ‘time’.
“And not just so-called ‘quality’ time but enough ‘quantity’ time too, during which we are truly present and mindful, and not somewhere else in our minds and hearts.”
Bringing Healing and Wholeness to Families in Pain seminar
You are journeying with someone who has family issues but you are unsure how to help.
You are experiencing some pain within the family and you are at a loss as to what can be done.
Come to this two-day seminar to understand more and be equipped to bring healing and wholeness to the family.
It will put forth a distinctly Christian perspective on the subject of finding true rest in the midst of daily pressures. Learn what ails you, and begin to take thoroughly practical steps to respond to Jesus’ invitation to rest.
- Marital conflict
About the speaker
Prof Rev Tan Siang Yang is Senior Professor of Clinical Psychology at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, and Senior Pastor Emeritus of First Evangelical Church Glendale.
Now a Spiritual Director of the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), he is a also a licensed psychologist and Fellow of the American Psychological Association. He has published numerous articles, as well as 16 books.
He and his wife Angela have two grown children.
For more information, contact Randy Khoo (9789 5693) or email here.
Date: June 2-3, 2023
Location: Pentecost Methodist Church
4 Pasir Ris Drive 6
Cost: $30 (cost includes tea breaks)
Click here to register.
About the organiser
The World Needs A Father is a movement built on the passion of volunteers around the world to ensure that the father figure in the family is strengthened. They have been building families through training and mentoring since 2011 and have shared hours, stories and tears with people of all walks of life from over 100 countries. They work with specialists, researchers, doctors, scientists, governments and presidents, and have done research to equip fathers, build healthy families, transform communities and heal the world.
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