REALity Volume XXXV Issue No. 9 September 2016
By: Cecilia Forsyth & Gail Johnas
The World Congress of Families X held in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia May 15 – 18, 2016 was attended by three REAL Women of Canada members – Gail Johnas, Manitoba, Peter Bradley, Ontario, and Cecilia Forsyth, Saskatchewan.
The World Congress of Families is a gathering of people from around the world to discuss challenges and solutions to the common problems facing families. One goal is to educate and inform the residents and politicians of the host country on the importance of pro-life, pro-family issues. A Congress is, also, an opportunity to meet new people, renew old friendships and to stand together as a voice to the world for faith, family and freedom.
The theme of the Tbilisi Congress was “Civilization at The Crossroads: The Natural Family as the Bulwark of Freedom and Human Values”. The opening speech by Georgian host, Levan Vasadze, set the tone for the remainder of the Congress. His passionate plea in defence of his country and its distinct culture reminded the rest of us to renew our efforts to protect and defend our children, our family, and our freedoms within our own countries.
The numerous presentations over the next two days showcased pro-family leaders from around the world. Most of the talks addressed the radical assaults on family, marriage, education, and culture. It seems no country is spared from the secular, relativism, sexual revolution that is exploding across the world. We are standing at the crossroads — will it be the culture of life or the culture of death?
The topic most addressed was the ideological reality of the ‘gender agenda’ — gender equality, gender identity, gender expression, transgenderism, and so on. The list is endless as are the consequences. The endgame is to destroy the family, religion, the concept of male/female, to sexualize children and to expand the control of the state.
Several speakers spoke on the education of children emphasizing home schooling or private schools as alternatives to state operated schools. A variety of topics were addressed including: abuse of language, the fatherless generation, surrogacy world trade of infant children, demographic winter, abortion and the link to breast cancer, and the United Nations push to declare comprehensive sex education for children and abortion on demand as universal rights.
More details and videos of the talks are on the World Congress of Families website at: www.worldcongress.org .
On the afternoon of May 17th, the Congress attendees joined the people of Georgia in their traditional Family March in honor of Georgian Family Day Celebration. This day had been designated “A Day to Strengthen Families and Honor Parents” by His Holiness and Beatitude Catholicos Patriarch of All Georgia, Ilia II. It was a hot sunny day, but thousands of people of all ages endured the very long walk to the beautiful Holy Trinity Cathedral.
In closing, I want to share my impression of this beautiful country of Georgia nestled in the Caucasus Mountains between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. It is one of the earliest Christian countries in the world, and is famous for its wines. Old Tbilisi was bustling with tourists. The Christian Orthodox church plays a prominent role in the lives of the people who, in turn, have a great reverence and respect for the church. Orthodox churches were everywhere – ancient churches from the third century to the newer huge Church of the Holy Trinity on a hill overlooking the city.
We had the honor and the pleasure of attending special Georgian cultural events. We attended three different gala dinners, called a ‘supra’. Each meal was a feast of Georgian cuisine consisting of more food dishes than I could count, much less eat. A ‘supra’ has a Master of Ceremonies who, throughout the evening proposes toasts – to God, to our ancestors, to mothers, to peace, to the people in attendance and many others.
The closing ceremony of the World Congress included a magnificent music and dance performance by the ‘Georgian State Academic Folk Song and Dance ensemble Erisioni’. This was an enchanting evening with beautiful polyphonic singing and energetic dancing. As the host, Levan Vasadze, said, “once you experience this, your life will never be the same”. He was right. To hear the unique and beautiful singing: Google search “Erisioni” or “Georgian polyphonic singing”. Georgia was spectacular – its history, landscape, food, churches, and its people!
Comments by Gail Johnas
It was a thrill for me to represent Real Women of Canada at the World Congress of Families X in Tbilisi, Georgia. I was so encouraged to meet people from many different countries of one mind and spirit for the purpose of promoting families as the foundation of all societies of the world.
Based on the truth and reality of Judeo-Christian beliefs, we can intentionally move forward with hope and love in our hearts. Living in these times of social and political upheaval is not permission for despair. Let us not forfeit our rights as parents to provide safe passage for our children and grandchildren into adulthood.
As one of the speakers at the Congress stated, “We are living in the most exciting times in all of history.” I agree.