Communities of Faith: Church aims to aid marriages
Expansion sought of program created for black couples
By Candice Hannigan
For the Journal-Constitution
Published on: 11/01/07
Zion Baptist Church is taking the lead in promoting a program to
strengthen African-American marriages.
The Marietta church hosted a workshop recently to inform African-American
couples about a program created at the University of Georgia to
strengthen their marriages.
It's one of the first steps in encouraging Cobb churches to take
a look at the curriculum, called Program for Strengthening African
American Marriages (or ProSAAM). "We are very impressed with the
program because it deals with couples. That's where so many problems
originate —- in the home," said the Rev. Evelyn Taylor.
"It's a spiritual program based on prayer that teaches couples
how to get along and pray for each other."
Taylor added that even the men who were hesitant about participating
agreed that they were glad they did.
ProSAAM is a curriculum designed to help couples committed to sustaining
their relationships, and it addresses issues important to African-Americans.
The program is in the research phase now, and participants have
been asked to take part in four in-home interviews to discuss their
marriage, family life, and individual well-being.
Program coordinator Tera Hurt expects the research to be completed
by the end of 2008 but said plans are under way to launch the marriage
workshops in area churches by next summer. Training will be made
available to those interested in facilitating.
The program began a year ago in northeast Georgia and has already
involved about 300 couples, according to Hurt. A modified version
of the ProSAAM curriculum is being presented through a project called
Promoting Strong Families, also available to faith groups.
Taylor hopes to contact area African-American congregations to
create interest in ProSAAM. She's working to generate enough interest
in the Cobb area to set up couples' workshops at Zion Baptist. "If
there's anything that we can do in the church that strengthens marriage,
that's what we want to do," Taylor said. "That's where a lot of
our problems are in the African-American community."
For more information, contact Taylor at 770-427-5856 or Tera R.
Hurt at 706-542-7015, firstname.lastname@example.org, or www.uga.edu/prosaam for
marriages and www.uga.edu/prosaaf for strong families project.