Today marks the beginning of Christian Family Week. That can be a limited thing if it brings up a certain U.S. stereotype – perhaps a Leave It to Beaver image of a stay-at-home mom, successful-gone dad and 2.2 kids in a 1950s white suburb. But these days families come in all types and sizes, like Modern Family and more. They include friends who choose to become families, grandparents with grandkids, caring neighbors in person or online, house churches, some congregation groups, and emergent faith communities.

Diversity in a family also is a gift! Recently I attended a small-but-mighty congregation where at least five different ethnic cultures were present in worship, with four generations active and involved.

And “Christian” isn’t a monochromatic term, either. It can mean a rich-hued tapestry of personal faith – people covenanted with God and committed to one another who may use different language for their experiences, and who turn their understandings into different kinds of advocacy and action. I know at least one congregation like that, and a number of chosen and biological families.

This week would be an excellent time to notice and celebrate creative, loving, Christian families of all shapes and sizes, encouraging their group life and personal witness. The United Methodist Church also offers some tips for celebrating May as Christian Home Month. How can you recognize and empower the Christian families that surround you?

Your partner in ministry,

Betsy Schwarzentraub