Open Door hosts marriage retreat


From left, First Lady Margaret Jones, Fred and Ericka Harden and Pastor Sanuel Jones Jr. during one of the sessions during the marriage retreat. (Special to the Guardian)

Published: Thursday, September 1, 2011 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at 3:22 p.m.

Open Door Ministries recently held its 6th annual Marriage Retreat and Seminar that centered around the theme, "Exposing the Enemy Within."

Facts

OPEN DOOR MINISTRIES

Pastor: Pastor Samuel Jones Jr.

Location: 601 NE 19th St.

Services: Sunday School 10 a.m., morning worship 11 a.m. Fit Sisters Group Exercise, 6 p.m. Monday, Men's Bible Study, 9 a.m. Saturday, Leading Ladies Bible Study, 6:30 p.m. second Wednesday.

Phone: 352-377-8162.

It was hosted by Pastor Samuel Jones Jr. and First Lady Margaret Jones, along with transitional Pastor Timothy and Minister Nona Jones, and held in early August at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando.

More than 50 participants enjoyed seminars, workshops, activities and a banquet.

"The importance of perseverance and strong fruitful marriages cannot be overemphasized," said Pastor and First Lady Jones. "Marriage was the first institution that God established after the creation."

The retreat and seminar began with a couples fellowship gathering, where church and committee members Tamikca Griffin and Cynthia Tennell engaged the couples in a variety of activities, including one called "knee mail." In this activity, couples were encouraged to anonymously write down one thing they wanted another couple to include in their prayers for them.

The couples randomly picked another couple's prayer request, then sat knee to knee and prayed for that couple for three minutes. The activity allowed the couples to have gentle physical contact with each other, focus on a common goal and begin the process of reconnecting with God and each other.

On the second day, seminars presented by Pastor Jones and Lady Margaret Jones included "Identifying the Ways We Deny or Reveal the Enemy Within" and "The Consequences of the Enemy Within."

Some of the identifying elements of ways we deny or reveal the enemy within include harsh/spiteful speech, being easily offended, and being sensitive to hard facial features. "Consequences" targeted the five basic ones, including physical problems (chemical imbalances in the body that cause sickness and disease), spiritual problems (a lack of love and no design influences), emotional problems (depression), unbalanced focus and a spirit of doubt.

On the third day in the morning, Open Door members Irma and Darrell Gaskins presented "Exposing the Enemy." In the session, Irma Gaskins revealed to the wives an appeal consisting of seven rights: right standing, right motives, right time, right information, right response, right attitude and the right words.

Darrell Gaskins spoke to the husbands about ground that is given to the enemy through attitudes of overt pride, subtle pride and fear. He also discussed how leadership, protection and wise decision-making will enhance and improve the marriage covenant.

That afternoon, Pastor Timothy and Minister Nona Jones spoke about "Creating Protective Boundaries Around Your Marriage." This seminar encouraged couples to develop positive boundaries in their marriages. The couple also discussed ways to show interest in your spouse without it being interpreted as jealously.

That evening at the banquet, Charmaine and Scherwin Henry were the keynote speakers. Scherwin Henry is a member of the Gainesville City Commission and his wife, Charmaine, is the founder and administrator of Genesis Preparatory School, an Alachua County charter school. The Henrys delighted the audience with stories about their marriage and encouraged the couples to review their materials and utilize the tools and information they received from the seminar.

The evening concluded with a couples praise dance of eight couples from Open Door performing to the song, "You are the Best Thing" by Fred Hammond. Several of the couples said the praise dance made them feel like teenagers again and they enjoyed the closeness with their spouse.

On the last day, Pastor and Lady Margaret Jones ended the seminar with a session called "Victory Over the Enemy Within," which focused on obtaining and maintaining victory/success in marriage. The overall theme was forgiveness and included three components of forgiveness: not keeping a record of past hurts, not sowing discord among others (stop "bad mouthing" to others) and refraining from bringing up the past.

"The collapse of marriage in our society is a disaster that reaches far beyond the hurts and wounds of the couple involved," said Pastor and First Lady Jones. "It devastates their children and establishes iniquities that are passed on for generations to come. Marriage is the house that families live in."

The next retreat and seminar will be a cruise scheduled from July 30-Aug. 3 to Key West and Nassau and Coco Cay in the Bahamas. The cost will be $975 for each couple. For more information, call 352-376-3415 or 352-258-9352.

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