The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Starting smart

Lutherans join the effort to save marriages from the beginning

One by one, pastors proceeded to the front of the church gymnasium and signed a document pledging to raise standards of marriage preparation in their congregations. After all had signed, the 37 clergy representing more than a dozen Christian denominations in Seattle sang Bind Us Together.

The goal of the ceremony, organized by Ron Marshall, pastor of First of West Seattle Lutheran Church, is to lower the city's divorce rate. These ceremonies are becoming common because laity and clergy say they've had enough of failed marriages that leave injured, angry children shuttled between wounded, warring parents.

Seattle was the 12th Washington city in the past two years to conduct this ceremony. Nationwide more than 100 have been held since 1986. "It's time," Marshall says. "People are fed up. How many divorces do you have to have in your family before you start caring?"

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February issue


Embracing diversity