Pastors and pro-family leaders across America are being encouraged to take part in a weeklong effort next month to help strengthen, enrich, and repair marriages in their churches and in their communities.
"National Marriage Week USA," which will be observed the week leading up to Valentine's Day, is a collaborative effort to encourage churches and many diverse groups to strengthen individual marriages, reduce the divorce rate, and build a stronger marriage culture, which organizers say in turn helps curtail poverty and benefits children.
"There is no question that more needs to be done within our congregations to create a more thriving marriage culture and assist marriages and families to remain happily intact," campaign organizers say.
Referring to a recently released report on marriage co-published by the Institute for American Values and the National Center on African American Marriages and Parenting (NCAAMP), the organizers note that the percentage of United States' adults who are married has dropped from 78 percent in 1970 to 57 percent in 2008.
Even more concerning, they say, is that 40 percent of all American children today are born out-of-wedlock and 71 percent of African American children are born without married parents.
"Children not brought up by both a mother and father have lower graduation rates, higher incidence of incarceration, and lower performance in school. For the sake of women and children, the church must get involved to strengthen, enrich, and repair marriage," say organizers including Chuck Stetson of the Let's Strengthen Marriage Campaign in New York and Jim Garlow of the Pastors' Rapid Response Team in San Diego.
"The church can play a truly unique role as a 'school' for marriage," they add.
One month before National Marriage Week, organizers will host a free webinar to inform pastors and other interested marriage and family leaders how they can incorporate a National Marriage Week USA emphasis into what they are already doing at their church to strengthen and support marriage and families.
A wide-range of speakers will share about available opportunities, programs, tools and resources that can aid in planning a sermon series, developing an ongoing marriage enrichment program for their families, making marriage education materials and resources more widely available to their congregation and community, expanding discussions with their youth about what it means to be a godly husband and wife, hosting or co-hosting a marriage conference in their area, learning about the successful implementation of National Marriage Week in other countries, and much more.
The webinar, which will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 13, at 9 a.m. PT/12 p.m. ET, is open to all who register in advance.
National Marriage Week, itself, will run from Feb. 7 to Feb. 14, Valentine's Day.
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