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There’s no ‘I’ in Teams: The international lay movement building stronger marriages

Teams conference

Marriage help: Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge (right) meets Teams conference organisers (from left) Mal Thomson, Susie and Tim Jones, and Evelyn Thomson.

PRESSURE in a fast-paced world is one of the biggest challenges to building a strong marriage, one of the Brisbane organisers of an Oceania conference on marriage says.

“Even just having time together – we can easily be robbed of that,” Susie Jones, who together with husband Tim will be hosting the Teams Oceania 2017 conference entitled Marriage beyond the Wedding – You’re not alone on this journey, said.

“People are isolated from support. Perhaps parents don’t live close by.

To have others help us to keep on track in our marriage journey is very important.”

The two-day conference in Brisbane, open to all couples, is a triennial event for Teams in the Oceania region.

Teams is a lay movement within the Catholic Church that offers couples a chance to discover a spiritual presence in their marriage and to live in Christian fellowship with other couples.

This is a way of giving thanks to God and bearing witness to Him in the world.

The goal of the movement is to help couples live their lives with more strength, light and hope.

Mrs Jones, who joined Teams 12 years ago, said a Team was a community of four or five married couples, often from all walks of life, and often with a spiritual counsellor, who meets once a month in the home of one of the couples.

“Usually they share their life stories and events over a simple meal, as well as their attempts to grow together as a couple in union with God,” she said.

“It can be a great source of encouragement and support in your marriage to share the ups and downs.”

Teams originated in France in 1938 as Equipes Notre-Dame (Teams of Our Lady).

It was formed by four couples and Fr Henri Caffarel and has spread as an international movement to 90 countries.

The Teams movement has about 1150 members around Australia, as well as members in New Zealand and the Philippines.

As the Teams regional couple for Queensland, Northern NSW and New Zealand, the Joneses hope to raise awareness of the movement and gain support from parish priests.

They also hope to encourage the existing Teams to seek couples among their parish and communities, as well as to form new Teams.

Mrs Jones said the Teams Oceania Conference 2017 would be an opportunity for couples to be enriched and encouraged on their marriage journey.

The conference will feature experienced speakers that will share on a variety of perspectives on marriage:

  • Fr Adrian Farrelly, who is chancellor of the Archdiocese of Brisbane and regularly leads workshops on marriage disciplines.
  • Dr Ryan Messmore, Catholic theologian and author of “In Love: The Larger Story of Sex + Marriage”.
  • Shayne and Shanelle Bennett, who have been married for 40 years and have three married adult children and 10 grandchildren. As a counsellor, Shanelle has worked with individuals and families to address abuse, addictions, domestic violence and marriage difficulties.
  • Paul and Helena McCloskey, from England, who are leading the Eurasia zone for the Teams movement.

The Teams Oceania Conference 2017 will be held at Marist College Ashgrove on July 1-2.

For a conference program and to register to attend, visit the Teams website at or go to

Early-bird price for the two-day conference is $75 per person and ends on May 31. Other prices range from $30-$95.

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