Smarter Families Canada Conference

The 2008 Smarter Families Canada conference takes place May 9 & 10 at Trinity Western University. The conference equips church leaders to counsel those struggling in their marriages.

With workshops and seminars on "Affair Recovery Principles", "How to Run Pornograpy Recovery Groups", "Imperfect Parenting for Imperfect Kids", and "Teaching Couples to Embrace Differences", those attending the 2008 Smarter Families Canada Conference presented by ACTS Seminaries of Trinity Western University are guaranteed to learn a thing or two about improving relationships in churches.

Smarter Families Canada, now in its 6th year, aims to equip lay-leaders, pastors and Christian counsellors with practical tools to help with marriage, parenting and recovery ministries in the local church. Taking place May 9 & 10, the two day conference will feature plenary speakers, Psychologist and Pastor Dr. Paddy Ducklow, and Registered Clinical Counselor Carole Ducklow.

The husband and wife team have over 30 years of experience in counseling, coaching and consulting and are recognized experts in Marriage Mentoring, a congregation-based approach to helping enrich and strengthen marriages. Their philosophy is that "most people's lives get stuck because their thinking gets stuck." Hence the Ducklows provide training in marriage ministry development for churches, "giving them tool boxes of useable skills" says the couple's website

Dr. John Auxier, Acting President & Dean of Trinity Western Seminary at ACTS Seminaries and director of Smarter Families says, "We are thrilled to have the Ducklows at our 2008 Smarter Families Canada Conference as our plenary speakers.

"The variety of offerings at SFC 2008 are unique in Canada," continues Auxier. "Our presenters really represent some of the best resources in premarital counselling, marriage enrichment, and marriage repair ministry. They include licensed mental health experts, the current president of the Canadian Medical-Dental Society, and the author of a leading book on affair recovery who has appeared on Oprah, and Gottman model trainers, among others. There is no doubt that churches that send leader couples and pastors to this conference will find the tools they need to help strengthen and repair marriages in the church and community. "

The Smarter Families Canada Conference also offers pre-conference and post-conference institutes. Training in internationally recognized marriage programs and tools such as Christian PAIRS, Prepare-Enrich Inventory Training, and Marriage Mentoring will be offered May 5-9 at various times. The conference is also offering a post conference graduate course May 12-15, (PTh 616: Marriage Enrichment) taught by Dr. John Auxier, licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and Clinical Member of AAMFT. This course includes PREP training, an evidence-based program developed by researchers at the University of Denver that can reduce divorce rates. (See for the course syllabus; check for information about PREP).

Auxier says, "When relationships are in trouble due to infidelity, addictions or financial pressures, the Church can provide informed pastoral care and supportive ministries to come alongside struggling couples, including Christian support groups, mentoring, relationship education programs and referral to Christian marriage and family therapists. That's what Smarter Families Canada aims to do - provide training for leaders in the church that can help those that may be struggling."

More information regarding the 2008 Smarter Families Canana Conference can be found by visiting the website at or by contacting Susan Mattam at 604-888-7511 ext 3830 or emailing

Event at a Glance: 2008 Smarter Families Canada Conference
"Equipping the Church for Marriage, Parenting and Recovery Ministries"

Date: Pre-Conference Institutes May 5 - May 9
Smarter Families Canada '08 Conference May 9 & 10
Post-Conference Graduate Course May 12-14

Location: Trinity Western University
7600 Glover Road, Langley, BC.

Cost: Program schedule and registration information are available at

Contact: Susan Mattam Tel: 604-888-7511 ext 3830 or email:

The purpose of Smarter Families Canada, as an educational outreach of ACTS Seminaries of Trinity Western University, is to equip local churches across Canada to become recognized centres of excellence for premarital counseling, marriage enrichment, parent education and recovery resources, in order to strengthen the institution of traditional marriage, to reduce the prevalence of divorce in our churches and communities, and to promote godly and healthy family relationships in our congregations.

Trinity Western University, in Langley, B.C. is an independent Christian liberal arts and sciences university enrolling approximately 4000 students. TWU offers undergraduate degrees in 40 major areas of study ranging from biotechnology, education, nursing, theatre and music, to psychology, communications and biblical studies. TWU's 16 graduate degree programs include counseling psychology, business, theology and leadership, and offers interdisciplinary studies in English, philosophy and history. TWU holds Canada Research Chairs in Biblical Studies, Biology and Interpretation, Religion & Culture.

Last Updated: 2008-04-15
Author: Erin Mussolum