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UK hosts CFC 2017 MegaCon
Thursday, August 31, 2017

Over 1,700 members of Couples for Christ Europe gathered in Brighton, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on 28-30 July 2017 to participate in the 2017 CFC Europe Mega- conference. This year’s celebration is the fourth mega-conference in the history of CFC Europe. A mega-conference (or simply megacon) is a synchronized holding of the conferences of CFC and the various ministries, marking milestone years in the life and mission of the community since the very first Christian Life Program (CLP) was held in the European continent in 1995. The first megacon was held in Rome, Italy in 2005 to celebrate the 10th year anniversary of CFC Europe. This was followed by the second megacon, aptly dubbed, “XV Eurocon” in 2010 in Vienna, Austria to mark 15 years of CFC mission. In 2013, members marched to Dublin, Ireland for the third megacon to honour the 18th (debutante) anniversary of CFC Europe. The fourth CFC megacon in Europe honored the Lord’s blessing of a 22-year old fully matured and vibrant community that is present in 18 countries in the continent. 

 

The 2017 CFC Europe Mega-conference was built on the community’s theme for the year, “Stand Firm in the Faith” (Corinthians 16:13-14) and celebrated in different expressions through the conferences'programmes and view-points. The main conference was called “Strong and Faithful” joined in wholly by the CFCs and partly by the family ministries. The Handmaids of the Lord (HOLD) sisters called their conference, “My Heart in Your Hands”; the Singles for Christ (SFCs) had their “All Out for Christ”conference; the Youth for Christ (YFCs) had their conference named, “Solid Ground”; and finally, the Kids for Christ (KFCs) had their “God’s Little Army” Conference. 

 

The mega-conference started on Saturday, 29 July, with the opening worship led by Junfer Dela Cruz, CFC Netherlands Country Head. This was followed by a festive praise parade with delegations waving their “Stand Firm in the Faith” banners and their country flags. The celebration of the Holy Mass followed, presided by Canon Gerard Tartaglia from the Archdiocese of Glasgow and concelebrated by Fr. Paul F. Mooney, CFC Spiritual Director from UK and all the priests who accompanied several country delegations. 

 

The first talk of the megacon entitled, “A New Springtime” was given in plenary by Eric Villanueva, Regional Coordinator for Central Europe, with all the CFC and family ministry delegates in attendance. The family ministries broke out for their respective conferences after lunch. 


Meanwhile, the CFC Strong and Faithful conference continued with Noli Arzadon, Regional Coordinator for Northwest Europe, giving the second talk titled “Keep Alert”. The first day of the meeting culminated in a food festival, followed by a Royal Ascot fellowship party which was spiced up by the British Icons Variety Show Competition.


On Sunday, 30 July, Michael Ariola, newly–elected CFC President, started the second day of the conference by giving Talk 3, “Stand Firm in the Faith”. After the session, all CFC and family ministry participants reconvened in the plenary for the celebration of the Holy Mass which was presided by Bishop Peter Doyle, Bishop of Northampton Diocese and Episcopal Vicar for the Family in England and Wales. 


After the Mass, the CFC conference continued with Ramuel Garcia, Regional Coordinator for Southwest Region leading the fourth session titled, “Be Strong and Courageous”. Afterwards, all delegates convened in a plenary for the last time to listen to the final talk, “Exuberant Love”, given by Rouquel Ponte, International Council Continental Overseer for CFC Europe.The conference ended with a vibrant praise fest led by Ian Sallegue, CFC Austria Country Head, and the awarding of competition winners. 


The Megacon: Standing Firm in the Faith in action

 

In so many ways, the theme of the 2017 mega-conference, “Stand Firm in the Faith” was very apt and fully descriptive of how CFC Europe responded to the Lord’s call, either as organizers or as participants. It was truly an event where the Lord instructed His people to stand firm in the faith and eventually guided them with much abundance and generosity.


Like the previous three, this fourth megacon was a monumental challenge from an organizational perspective. For starters, finding a venue that was both affordable and sufficient for holding simultaneous conferences with different requirements was already a very tough battle in itself. Despite all these difficulties arrayed against them, the host, CFC United Kingdom, stood tall and firm in their faith, and collectively worked together very seamlessly to ensure that all the needs of the megacon were met. 

 

On the part of the delegates, the stringent requirements for a UK visa application proved to be a test of faith and courage for many participants. A good example was the effort of 22 members of CFC Israel to apply for UK visa. In the end, only two of them were granted a visa to fly to the country. This earned for CFC Israel a special award as the most inspiring delegation.

 

A prophecy at the CFC Leaders Training

 

The megacon was preceded by a CFC leaders training at the nearby Old Ship Hotel and the Handmaids of the Lord’s own leaders’ training at the Mercure Hotel on 28 July 2017. 


CFC Europe leaders were asked to provide inputs to three key strategic directions: i) CFC to be established, enriched and empowered in all 48 countries of Europe; ii) make CFC as the ecclesial ministry of choice, and iii) CFC laying the foundation for future generations of family evangelizers.


It was also during the leaders' training that Nina Ponte declared this prophecy: “If you pronounce my name as a blessing upon my people, I will bless them.” This prophetic message was later affirmed in talk 4 of the Strong and Faithful Conference where the opening statement was taken from a passage from 2 Corinthians 4:5, “We do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord.” 

 

With these prophetic and scriptural inspirations, the collective singing of “Fill the World with Love” at the end of Talk 5, “Exuberant Love” with several brothers waving the flags of the 18 countries in Europe where the community is present, carried a very profound message: CFC Europe stands firm in the faith and ready to march on and win all the four corners of the continent for Christ! (Elmer Pagdilao)




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