by Catherine Bulger
The Marriage in Christ seminar is now available online, for anyone to access and participate in. Married couples can complete it together at home on their own schedules. Thanks to a grant from the Communication Center, people can register for free until March 31.
Marriage in Christ was developed by Servant Branch members as an outreach of the community. Its goal is to help married couples, from newlyweds to 50-year veterans, put Christ more firmly at the center of their marriage, through prayer, conversation and the power of the Holy Spirit. More than 1900 couples throughout the United States, Canada and the Caribbean have participated in the seminar since 2011. Until last spring, the program was mostly run through churches.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced a shift. Since churches were unable to host in-person seminars during the early months of the pandemic, the Marriage in Christ team developed an online format that couples could complete at home. They launched the at-home seminar in September.
The seminar is designed as a five-week program. Each week features a 20-minute video and a conversation guide. Throughout each week, there are additional opportunities and suggestions for daily prayer, conversation and activities as a couple. The fourth week of the seminar includes a prayer to invite the Holy Spirit into the marriage in a new way.
Simeon and Emily Willard (Servant Branch), who were married in 2019, experienced the at-home seminar in its pilot program last summer. Simeon was working two jobs and Emily, a payroll specialist, sometimes worked late. They liked being able to go through the seminar on their own schedule.
“We could do it late in the evening if we needed to,” said Emily, “or while we were eating dinner. It was really accessible.”
Simeon said, “We both really enjoyed it. The seminar sparked a lot of very good conversations.” Emily added,“It definitely got us into a rhythm of praying together and brought a lot of unity and strength to our marriage.”
Fran Willard (Servant Branch), Marriage in Christ’s executive director, believes that the at-home format is here to stay. The team hopes that its accessibility will make the seminar more widely available to couples.
In addition to the seminar, there are other resources at https://marriageinchrist.com/resources, including “Night Prayers for Couples” and a monthly email newsletter that seminar alumni can subscribe to.
Starting this month, email subscribers can download a Bible study on marriage in Scripture. Each month will feature Scripture passages and meditations that focus on what the Bible has to say about marriage and family.
Marriage in Christ is also working on a Spanish version of the seminar, which they hope to release later this year.
Anyone interested in completing the seminar can sign up—for free through March—on the website. You can share the website on social media or directly with friends and family. There is also an option on the site to donate to the work.
Fran says, “We’re very grateful for our donors—they keep us going. And prayer. Please pray for grants to complete the Spanish program, and please spread the word!”