JBU Center Changes Names, Not Mission

Siloam Springs, Ark. (June 14, 2005) - John Brown University’s Center for Marriage and Family Studies is pleased to announce that as of July 1, 2005 they will be known as The Center for Relationship Enrichment and will continue under the direction of executive director, Dr. Gary J. Oliver. Since 1998 when the Center was established, its focus has been on strengthening marriages and families through a variety of programs, activities and resources. This focus has not diminished, but has broadened extensively in its scope. “We are taking the foundation that was laid for the Center and building a better resource for students, community members and people everywhere,” Dr. Oliver said. “It’s more than a name change-it's an expanded vision for making a more significant and lasting impact on relationships.” Research shows that people who have developed good relationships skills tend to have healthier marriages and families. The best time for individuals to develop relationship skills is before they marry and start a family. Therefore, CRE has become more active in helping university students and single adults cultivate the kinds of relationship skills that will sustain them throughout a lifetime of relationships. "The Center for Relationship Enrichment equips people for healthy relationships through biblically-based consulting, education, enrichment, resources, research and assessment," its mission statement says. In 2003 the Center received a three-year grant to implement the University Relationships Initiative and the Church Relationships Initiative. As part of these ground breaking initiatives, CRE is developing assessment tools that help universities and churches measure the health of interpersonal relationships in their organizations and ministries. These assessments will then be used in developing strategies and specific programs for improving and enhancing relationships. The grant has also made it possible to enhance the vision and mission of the Center by adding Dr. Greg Smalley to the staff this summer. Dr. Smalley brings a wealth of knowledge, skills, experience, and heart for ministry that, blended with the gift-mix of the current staff, will serve to strengthen an already vital ministry. CRE will continue to offer services to local, regional, and international communities by offering training in Christ-centered principles of relationships, with a special emphasis on marriages and families. In addition, CRE offers a resource library to churches and universities seeking additional materials, and continued support in the master’s degree programs in counseling and marriage and family therapy at JBU. "Based on research and the experience of those who have lost loved ones, when all is said and done, the most important thing people have are relationships – marriages, families, friends. God has provided us with knowledge, skills, and resources we can use to help people cultivate relationships that are richer, more rewarding, mutually satisfying, and longer lasting." Dr. Oliver said. For more information about The Center for Relationship Enrichment (The Center for Marriage and Family Studies until July 1), please visit www.liferelationships.org John Brown University is a private Christian university, ranked eighth by U.S. News & World Report in the Southern Region. JBU enrolls more than 1,900 students from 43 states and 39 countries. JBU is a member of Arkansas’ Independent Colleges and Universities and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.

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