Fr. Lawrence Ventline is a great friend of ACLC and very much inspired by our focus on the restoration of marriage. Upon his 40th anniversary in the priesthood he went back to visit the churches around the Detroit area that he pastured over the years. One of them is now a Baptist Church named New Liberty. He spoke with the pastor, Rev. Maurice Simage, and they decided to celebrate by having a symposium. In their discussion on a topic they both agreed that a panel discussion centered on marriage would be most valuable for the church and the community.
The event took place on Sunday, April 24, 2016, at Pastor Stimage’s church. Fr. Ventline asked his Catholic friend, local Fox 2 TV news anchor Ron Savage, to be the guest moderator for the panel discussion. The panel included an elderly couple married 40 years from Rev. Stimages’s church plus a couple married 30 years who are friends of Fr. Ventline. For a third couple Fr. Ventline specifically asked for a recently married young couple from ACLC, August & Chiyo Lindsay, to come to represent the youth of today. The panel also included a Muslim professor who is an expert on the sociology of marriage.
Fr. Ventline opened the program with comments about his 40 years in ministry and the need for families to be restored. He said that in his case he was one of nine children in a blended family and his father stressed that they all eat together. He said that eating dinner together kept them close and this is sorely missing today.
Mr. Savage led the panel discussion with a host of questions on how couples relate to each other when they have differences of opinions, in dealing with children and what it has been that has kept each couple together. He then opened the program to Q & A from the audience which brought insights from them as well. The event closed with refreshments.
When reviewing the program Fr. Ventline, Rev Stimage and all of us who helped put it together agreed that this kind of event could benefit any church. It was relatively easy to put on; it was low cost and yielded rich and helpful content. We in our ACLC work plan to share this strategy for enriching couples with other churches as we continue to promote God’s original ideal of marriage and family.
Submitted by Rev. David Kasbow, ACLC coordinator, Detroit