PENDLETON — The dogs, Roxie and Tucker, trot around the room before opting for a spot on the couch. Everyone else has already settled in and gotten comfortable in the family room, lemonade in hand. It’s Monday night. That means it’s time to pray, learn and talk about things, but mostly, it’s a time for the Reber family to just enjoy being together.
As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the Rebers reserve one evening each week devoted to family. Known as Family Home Evening, the tradition was first instituted in 1915. In 1970, the church designated Monday night for the purpose.
“We basically set aside Monday as our family day. We try to spend that time as a family,” said Sherri Reber of Pendleton. Sherri and her husband, Blaine, have four children, Jacob, 16, Alexis, 14, Jocelyn, 12, and Ashley, 10.
“The most important thing is connecting as a family,” said Sherri. It also means focusing on core values.
The evening is likely to start with a hymn and a prayer. There’s usually a lesson, too, but the time is meant to be fun. The church makes lesson plans and guidelines available to take the guesswork out of FHE.
“When our children were younger, we followed them more closely,” said Sherri. Over the years, the Rebers have learned to be flexible to meet the needs of the family. Sherri noted, “Teenagers need something different.”
Sometimes, it’s a matter of just having time to talk, to plan, to coordinate schedules. Other times, they may help an ailing parent or neighbor. They might share an adventure. Sometimes they share the FHE experience with others.
This week, the Rebers were joined by another family from their church ward for FHE. Doug and Ana Beamer, and their children Ryan, 19, Alina,16, and Landon, 12, came to share the time at the Rebers’ home. They were also joined by the LDS missionaries currently assigned to this district, Elders Troy Gajdos and Zach Waite.