Teams is a lay movement within the Catholic Church that offers couples a chance to discover the Lord’s presence in their marriage and to live in Christian fellowship with other couples as 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.
The movement was formed in France in 1938 and now exists in many countries in the world. Max and Stephanie Charlesworth brought it to Australia, starting a Team in Victoria in 1960.
In Oceania, there are now some 180 Teams comprising about 1,700 members.
Generally, a Team is a community of five to seven married couples and perhaps a spiritual counsellor, which meets one evening each month in the home of one of the couples.
They meet to share prayers, a simple meal, their life stories and events, their attempts to grow together as a couple in union with God, their thoughts on agreed discussion topics, and importantly, support each other in good times and in bad.
Team life is one of encounter and communion that builds our capacity for dialogue, mutual respect and openness. Over time, such a group sharing can create a community whose members grow in spirituality and support of one another. Members of Teams value the opportunity to be heard and accepted by others. However, there is no compulsion in all this and members are free to contribute, as they feel moved.
The monthly meeting follows an agreed format and is chaired by one of the couples. Where spiritual counsellors are included in individual Teams, they participate as equal members with unique gifts that can be shared with everyone else.
Each Team is autonomous and elects a ‘Responsible Couple’ each year to guide and co-ordinate its activities for the coming year. However, each Team is also part of a wider movement of Teams encompassing local, regional, national and international functions.
Team life does not consist simply of meetings. Couple spirituality is encouraged through practising ‘Endeavours’ that involve a rule of life, regular reading of the Bible, retreats, prayer, and interpersonal dialogue. Most teams could be expected to meet socially from time to time and to attend wider Teams and Church events.
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