Clergy & Faith Leaders


The faith community plays a pivotal role in strengthening marriages and reducing family breakdown!

NEW RESOURCES for Clergy & Faith Leaders:

• Download CHMC’s How-To-Kit to Start and/or Expand a Marriage Ministry.

(1) First Steps to Launch a Marriage Ministry

(2) Guide to Developing Your Marriage Ministry

• Teach Your Congregation How to Love. Take "The Agape Adventure"!

(1) The Agape Adventure Information Packet

(2) The Agape Adventure Request Form


The faith community plays a pivotal role in strengthening marriages and reducing family breakdown!

California Healthy Marriages Coalition (CHMC) will help you and your house of worship play a key role in bolstering marriages. Not for our sake …but yours and the couples and families you serve! Stronger marriages make families healthier. Healthy families make houses of worship stronger. Stronger houses of worship make communities healthier.

According to CHMC’s 2008 survey of California adults*:

• 75% of weddings are officiated by a minister, clergy or priest.

• 85% of Californians believe faith-based organizations (including churches and houses worship) should offer relationship and marriage education programs.

• Two-thirds of California adults who belong to a local faith community believe that churches and religious organizations should “do more to offer programs that help couples who are experiencing difficulties in their marriage.”

CHMC’s mission is to improve the well-being of children by strengthening the relationship of parents through Marriage Education and Relationship Skills classes.

In 2006, CHMC received the nation’s largest Federal Healthy Marriage Demonstration Grant ($2.4 million per year for five years) to increase access and availability of Marriage Education (ME) and Relationship Skills (RS) programs in California. In the first 36-months of the project, over 35,500 people attended ME/RS classes conducted in English, Spanish or Korean.

Faith-based organizations, congregations and denominations were instrumental in providing ME/RS to couples and individuals through our project. But, while the need is great, the laborers are few. There are many more people who want and need Marriage Education, but not enough organizations providing classes and workshops to meet the demand.

Here are practical ways CHMC can help your marriage-strengthening efforts:

(1) We Have Marriage Education PARTNERING ORGANIZATIONS Throughout California: CHMC is a coalition made up of dozens of organizations that provide ME/RS classes throughout California. More than likely, at least one of our partnering organizations is in your area. Find a partnering organization near you.

(2) We Offer an EXTENSIVE Number of TRAIN-THE-FACILITATOR WORKSHOPS in Marriage Education Programs: CHMC and our partnering organizations provide training in many of the most effective ME/RS programs including Mastering the Mysteries of Love, Family Wellness, PREPARE/ENRICH, Active Relationships, World Class Marriage, Relationship Enhancement, Bringing Baby Home, Connections, and more. Many of the trainings are offered at a reduced price in convenient locations throughout the state. Select trainings are available in Spanish and Korean. Find trainings now.

Some of the curricula have Scriptural complements, such as Mastering the Mysteries of Love - Biblical Validations of the 10 Skills.

»»» “Marriage Education helps our efforts to strengthen families and communities. Partnering with CHMC has helped us expand our work with couples.” Pastor Bruce E. McAlister, L.C.S.W., Administrative Assistant to Bishop J.W. Macklin, Northern California Jurisdiction COGIC

(3) We Empower Congregations on HOW TO LAUNCH OR EXPAND A MARRIAGE MINISTRY: CHMC has created a How-To-Kit to help churches and houses of worship take the necessary steps to start and develop a marriage ministry. The guided steps are designed to help congregations of any size, any budget, and any affiliation create a program designed to improve the relationships of seriously dating, engaged, and married couples. Download First Steps to Launch a Marriage Ministry and/or Guide to Developing Your Marriage Ministry.

(4) We Provide FREE PROMOTIONAL SUPPORT for Your Marriage Education Programs: Our website ( is California’s only statewide clearinghouse of ME classes. Find ME classes in your area to refer couples to, spread the word by listing your ME programs on the site, and download FREE, eye-catching, full-color promotional brochures and posters for select ME curricula. Also, benefit from the statewide “…because of ME!” campaign aimed at raising public awareness about the benefits of Marriage Education. List your M.E. classes now!

»»» “CHMC’s ‘because of ME!’ campaign caused a buzz in Fresno! The yard signs, web banner ads, and bus boards resulted in a much higher volume of inquiries and participants in our Marriage Education classes. Divorce filings in Fresno are the lowest in five years!” Ron McLain, former pastor at Santa Cruz Bible Church, director of Healthy Marriage Coalition of Fresno/Madera County

(5) We Encourage Communities of Faith to FORM & SIGN A MARRIAGE EDUCATION AGREEMENT: Clergy and church leaders in communities are beginning to see they can reduce family breakdown when they work together in promoting, providing, and supporting Marriage Education in their own congregations, in other houses of worship, and in their community. The first community in California to form and sign a Marriage Education Agreement was Orange County. Download the Orange County Marriage Education Agreement signed on May 20, 2008.

Hundreds of congregations, religious groups and faith-based organizations are providing Marriage Education in communities all over California. Literally, thousands more are needed.

CHMC is here to help you and your house of worship!

* The California Marriage Baseline Survey was conducted in January 2008 by phone interviews with 2,005 California adults by Interviewing Services of America and Gomez Research. Response accuracy is 2.2%.

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Partial funding for this project was provided by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Grant: 90FE0104. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.