African-American Pastors Issue A “Call to Action” To Combat Declining Marriage Rates And Fatherlessness

BY: - 3 May '11 | Home

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By Edward C. Lee

The African American church has long been the launching pad for lasting social, political and economic change in and for the African American community. From the days of slavery on through the Civil Rights movement, the church has been the most consistent voice of change and hope of unity to address concerns facing our community.

It was announced last week that a group of 10 pastors has partnered with the National Fatherhood Initiative, Urban Ministries, Inc., and The National Center on African American Marriages and Parenting, to initiative a “Call to Action” that will recruit clergy from around the country to join together and take the lead in working toward reversing destructive trends pertaining to declines in marriage and rise in fatherlessness in African American homes.

This Call to Action specifically states, “Similar to how the church had a central role in the civil rights movement of the 20th century, we believe that now is the time for the African-American church to lead the way in reversing the alarming decline in marriage and the exponential increase in father absence that we have witnessed in the African-American community over the past several decades. The consequences are too great for the church to accept anything less than a leadership role in joining the national movement to renew marriage and fatherhood, starting in the African-American church.”

The organizers of this new initiative have targeted five broad strategies to ensure their goals are met and the African American community is best served:

  1. Acknowledge and eliminate the barriers to promoting marriage and fatherhood in the church.
  2. Be a voice and a guide for God’s plan for marriage, fathers, and families.
  3. Advocate for strong marriages and help others to enjoy them.
  4. Help and encourage men to be the fathers their children need.
  5. Enlist and guide the community in strengthening marriages, fathers, and families.

In addition, several specific tactics for each of the five strategies will be distributed nationally to clergy, along with a Pastors’ Toolkit containing sermon notes and information about programs provided by the movement’s partners. For example, National Fatherhood Initiative provides several fatherhood skill-building resources that churches can use to help men be better dads, such as the 24/7 Dadâ„¢ Power Hour, a small group discussion kit for fathers.

The leaders and founding signatories of the Call to Action are: Edwin Bass, Founder and Senior Pastor, The Empowered Church (Church of God in Christ) and President of COGIC Urban Initiatives, Inc., St. Louis, MO; Alex Gee, Founder and Senior Pastor, Fountain of Life Family Worship Center, Madison, WI; David Guy, Associate Pastor, Life International, Research Triangle Park, NC; Rob Harrison, Founder and President, 4ever Marriages & Families; Ray Johnson, Senior Pastor, Calvary Revival Church Peninsula, Newport News, VA; Bernie Miller, Founder and Pastor, New Covenant Fellowship Church, Chattanooga, TN; Johnny Parker, Men’s Ministry Director, First Baptist Church, Glenarden, MD; John Penton, Founder and Pastor, Greater Roosevelt Heights Church, Tacoma, WA; Clarence Shuler, President and CEO, Building Lasting Relationships; and Sherman Strong, Pastor, Restoration Temple (Church Of God in Christ), St. Louis, MO.

Personally, I am really excited about this “Call to Action” and am looking forward to participate in any small way I can. Although, this movement is organized and initiated by Pastors and their partners, anyone that is interested in showing their support and getting involved can sign the Call to Action. For more information go to www.fatherhood.org/calltoaction.

What do you think BMWK, will you support this initiative by African American pastors to take a stand for marriage and fatherhood?

Edward is an Ordained Minister, host of the blog: elevateyourmarriage.com and Author of two first of their kind marriage books, Husbands, Wives, God: Introducing the Marriages of the Bible to Your Marriage and his new book, Husbands, Wives, God – Weekly Devotions: 52 Weeks of Relationship Enriching Devotions. Follow Edward on his blog or on facebook at Husbands, Wives, God.

About the author

Edward Lee wrote 65 articles on this blog.

Edward is a husband, father, founder of Elevate Your Marriage Marriage Coaching, author of three books: "Elevate Your Marriage", "Husbands, Wives, God" and "Husbands, Wives, God Weekly Devotions." He is also the Pastor of LongView Bible Church in Owings Mills, Md. Visit Edward's blog at: elevateyourmarriage.com

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20 WordPress comments on “African-American Pastors Issue A “Call to Action” To Combat Declining Marriage Rates And Fatherlessness

  1. TheMrs

    I personally look forward to hearing this message. Although I know of several couples/families that have made it through when one or both of the adults did not have an example of what the roles of wife, husband, father, and mother meant, the majority of people I come across have skewed ideas of what to do when placed in these roles.
    I actually would love to be involved in one of these ministries, hoping that education is also brought to the forefront as this is the greatest problem in ensuring that family units can work. Without education and the ability to provide for ones’ family, males are taking the “fast money” way where they are potentially leaving their families for the penn or the morgue….

    Reply
  2. Loe

    I know we live in the 21st century but if we want to reverse this trend in our community we need to reverse our thinking. We need to go back to the days when women prided themselves on being pure. I know the onus is suppose to be on the man but the reality is that women are what motivates men. If Men can continue to get sex from women without marrying them, They won’t. If women decided to close up shop and just have sex with their husbands then the men will follow suit. Women,because they are looking for husbands instead of sex partners will then naturally look for stable guys who are respectable in behavior and model traditional Good Man characteristics, and men in turn will see they can only get some Play if they become respectable will then be MOTIVATED to be better men. So we can have all these conferences and workshops and discussions but until are women go back to being Ladies, It’s not gonna happen. Leave the sexual revolution behind and recognize the reality of it’s effect on Both men and Women. Women need to be discriminating on who they sleep with cu of what they have to deal with later. And if Most women are this way then Most men will amend their ways. It’s that simple, but people gonna still believe what they want to believe even if the results continue to come back empty!

    Reply
    1. Reggie Williams

      Loe, yes women need to do all the things you’ve stated. But it is a sad commentary when you suggest that men can only grow to be the men that they are suuppose to be when women pride themselves and return to being pure. As men should we not pride ourselves on being the men of the past worthy of a pure woman. C’mon man!

      Many of the women who aren’t pure (as you suggest) are not so because they’ve grown up in a fatherless home never seeing how a husband (her father), loves his wife (her mother). So when she gets grown she goes out seeking love never given to her by a father [this ain't 100% of the time, but a great portion of the time].

      Women no doubt have some work to do, but don’t dare sit back with the spirit that things will change when women do. No bruh, things change when men stand up, understand what it is to be a man (not a male) and act accordingly. You have been created for a purpose beside getting busy with unpure women. Your statement makes brothers look extraordinarily weak. I’d love to believe that you believe we (men) are better than that.

      http://www.ruleyourwife316.com

      Reply
      1. Loe

        Reggie it may be a sad commentary but it’s real. Now granted i’m responsible for myself ultimately but the point is we all have influence on each other. The proper influence can help steer someone in the right direction, and if women took this tact then we will see a revolution in our community. Women are our weakness, vice versa. I don’t have any unreal views of men i’m a man and i know our strengths and weaknesses. A Man will do anything for a woman, That’s real, it may be weak but its real!

        Reply
        1. Reggie Williams

          So Loe, you say you are ultimately responsible for yourself (true that). But brother you are ultimately responsible for another brother and as you so eloquently stated “we all have influence on each other. The proper influence can help steer someone in the right directio.” So with what you stated, which I know to be true, has your life been an influence on men so that they stand up and be men? And in case you ask — yes I do!

          Reply
        2. Reggie Williams

          So Loe, you say you are ultimately responsible for yourself (true that). But brother you are ultimately responsible for another brother and as you so eloquently stated “we all have influence on each other. The proper influence can help steer someone in the right directio.” So with what you stated, which I know to be true, has your life been an influence on men so that they stand up and be men? And in case you ask — yes I do!

          Reply
        3. Reggie Williams

          So Loe, you say you are ultimately responsible for yourself (true that). But brother you are ultimately responsible for another brother and as you so eloquently stated “we all have influence on each other. The proper influence can help steer someone in the right directio.” So with what you stated, which I know to be true, has your life been an influence on men so that they stand up and be men? And in case you ask — yes I do!

          Reply
    2. Ashleigh L.A.

      I wish people would abandon this idea that people are having so much more sex now than they did back in the day. There is evidence that shows otherwise. How about we stop making sex such a taboo and trying to sweep the issues under the rug. It’s obvious that saying “don’t do it!” and shaming those that do isn’t working.

      Reply
      1. Loe

        I guess it aint working seems the fatherless problem and the marriage problem directly coincided with the sex on demand movement. Fornicating without shame seems to go hand and hand with single parent households. Maybe i’m missing something. The sexual revolution didn’t work, it’s hurting us, sex has actual consequences pleasure is the secondary purpose of it. Being discrimmatory with who you have sex with is Good for society as a whole. But like i said people gonna believe what they want to no matter what the facts are.

        Reply
      2. Loe

        Wonder what the fatherless rate is in the Amish community. how bout the arab community and the muslim community. Wonder what’s the marriage rate in those communities, how bout the mormons. Seems religious communities where they are serious about sex being inside marriage have a non existent single parent problem. Wonder why they can do it while the rest of the world believes it’s impossible.

        Reply
      3. Loe

        Wonder what the fatherless rate is in the Amish community. how bout the arab community and the muslim community. Wonder what’s the marriage rate in those communities, how bout the mormons. Seems religious communities where they are serious about sex being inside marriage have a non existent single parent problem. Wonder why they can do it while the rest of the world believes it’s impossible.

        Reply
      4. Loe

        Wonder what the fatherless rate is in the Amish community. how bout the arab community and the muslim community. Wonder what’s the marriage rate in those communities, how bout the mormons. Seems religious communities where they are serious about sex being inside marriage have a non existent single parent problem. Wonder why they can do it while the rest of the world believes it’s impossible.

        Reply
  3. Keepin' It 100

    I already see this as less than successful because they are basing it in faith and religious principle. Because young people, who are already beating down the doors to get into church, want to still down and hear more sermons about what they are doing wrong. Great idea.

    I’m not religious (or spiritual or atheist, for that matter). I am highly interested in working with our community to solve these problems, but under the conditions of church as the moral authority? Wouldn’t even tune in, nor is the average 18-28 yr old.

    Reply
    1. letjusticerolldown

      Who is “our community?” What do you perceive to be “these problems?” If you are unwilling to join them–on what basis do you want them to join you?

      Reply
    2. Jacquiemdc

      If you’re not down with the religious community doing this, then start a revolution of your own outside the religious community. There is a problem that needs to be addressed on every front. Stop complaining about who you don’t want to be aligned with and either help, add to the solution, or don’t criticize those who are trying to do SOMETHING.

      Reply
    3. Ashleigh L.A.

      I feel you. I’m not religious either. But like jacquiemdc said, start ya own stuff! I’ve just gotten my first freelancing job as a writer on African American relationships. I want to do more but this will be my starting point.

      Reply
  4. Reggie Williams

    BRAVO, BRAVO and BRAVO. Throughout the bible you will find scripture that addresses man’s role in the community, which is God’s kingdom. And in that role within the community man uses God’s word as the direction for how he is to work within the community. Truthfully, you don’t have to read any further than Adam being placed in the garden – where his role as the priest of God’s garden was to watch over, tend to and be fruitful and multiply in it.

    Absolutely Great to know that the church (as a collectively movement) are back in the business of working in the garden.

    http://www.ruleyourwife316.com

    Reply
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