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Annual Search Begins for Longest Married Couples in United States
Contact: Dick & Diane Baumbach, Worldwide Marriage Encounter, 321-544-3440, dickanddiane66@bellsouth.net
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif., Oct. 10, 2011 /Christian Newswire/ -- The annual search is on for the longest married couple in the United States it was announced today by the U.S. leaders of Worldwide Marriage Encounter (WWME), the original faith-based marriage enrichment program in this country.
This is the second consecutive year for the highly acclaimed project recognizing couples for their long marriages. This past February Marshall and Winnie Kuykendall of New Mexico were honored nationally for their 82 years of marriage. There were also 50 state winners recognized for their longest marriages at the same time. There were over 350 couples nominated for the honors during the last event. Winners were selected from nominations submitted.
"Once again we want to honor the longest married couple in the United States as well as in each of the 50 states and territories. The national winners will be recognized during Valentine's Week 2012, which coincides with World Marriage Day, which is the second Sunday of February," explained Scott & Karen Seaborn and Fr. Tom Griffith, SVD, the United States Ecclesial Team for WWME. 
They added that an Alumni Club has been started for all those couples honored this year and that the Kuykendalls will pass on the U.S. honor to a new couple in 2012. Previous state winners can vie for the national title, but they also are now considered members of the alumni of longest married couples in their individual states. This allows for new couples to be recognized across the country.
"It is an appropriate time in our marriage enrichment ministry to recognize a husband and wife who have been married for many, many years," the U.S. ecclesial team explained.
Jose and Marilyn Garcia and Fr. Mitch Walters, the North American Ecclesial Team for WWME, added, "We are so pleased that the decision had been made to have this very special activity become an annual project. We believe that this activity will continue to highlight not only the many positive benefits of long term marriages, but also honor those couples that are committed to their marriages."
The Kuykendalls, who will celebrate their 83 anniversary on Feb. 14 of next year, were also recognized this year by President Barak Obama as well as the New Mexico governor and the state legislature for their longest marriage. Governors from other states also recognized their state winners. There also was congressional recognition on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives for the project.
In addition to the longest married couple for the entire United States, recognition will also be given to a couple from each state and territories who has achieved that distinction. In the case of the United States couple, appropriate gifts will be presented to them at a ceremony to be held at their location during Valentine's week. The state winners will receive personal recognition and a special certificate of achievement from the Worldwide Marriage Encounter movement.
Nominations, which are open to all husband and wife couples regardless of religious affiliation, may be submitted by email, regular mail or by calling a special phone number. The process will be overseen by Dick & Diane Baumbach and Fr. Dick Morse, who serve as the North American Weekend Pillar for the WWME movement.
The contact information for sending in a nomination, which simply requires the name of the couple, their wedding date and where they currently reside plus a contact phone or email address of the individual nominating the couple, is as follows: email dickanddiane66@bellsouth.net; regular mail Dick & Diane Baumbach 1430 Scorpious Ct. Merritt Island, FL 32953 and special phone number 321-453-2475. Nominations must be received by January 10th, 2012.
Worldwide Marriage Encounter has been offering weekend experiences for over 42 years and is considered the original faith-based marriage enrichment program. The programs are continually updated to keep abreast of changes in society, and WWME now offers evening and half-day programs that are presented at parishes and other church facilities. The weekend program, traditionally presented as an overnight experience at a hotel or retreat center, can also be presented at the parish where the couples return to their homes in the evenings.   WWME has a presence in over 90 countries, which makes it the largest pro-marriage movement in the world. In North America, the WWME programs are presented in English, Spanish, French, and Korean languages.
Worldwide Marriage Encounter offers married couples the opportunity to spend time together away from the busyness of the world to focus on each other. It offers tools for building and maintaining a strong, Christian marriage in today's world. To learn more about the Worldwide Marriage Encounter weekends online, go to wwme.org, or you can call 1-800-795-LOVE (English) and 1-800-599-AMOR (Spanish), or contact the WWME national office at (909) 863-9963.