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Yukon Couple Married for 77 Years -- The Longest Married Couple in Canada

Contact: James & Connie McNeill,  Fr. John Juhl, Canadian Ecclesial Team, Worldwide Marriage Encounter Canada, 902-367-2061, renewmarriage@gmail.com

ROSS RIVER, Yukon, April 30, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ -- Worldwide Marriage Encounter Canada (WWME) is pleased to announce that Alice and Arthur John of Ross River, Yukon, are the longest married couple in Canada, based on nominations received during a recent promotion led by the faith-based marriage enrichment movement.

"Although Mr. And Mrs. John have been married 77 years, their story begins even earlier than that,” said James and Connie McNeill and Fr. John Juhl the Canadian National Ecclesial Team for Worldwide Marriage Encounter. "Their marriage has not only stood the test of time; but they are a wonderful couple with a long and exciting history together."

That history includes three wedding ceremonies. Mr. and Mrs. John were first married in an arranged marriage, according to Dena'ina (Dena) tradition, in 1932. They traveled to Fort Selkirk where they were married on October 6, 1935 in a small Anglican church with some family and friends present. Later that year, while they were working on their trap line, a Roman Catholic priest again blessed their union.

They've lived in the Ross River area for most of their lives. In 1956, when their children were taken to attend a residential school in northern British Columbia, Arthur and Alice moved, by dog team, to Watson Lake to be near their children. They returned to Ross River in 1967.

Arthur was a renowned trapper and prospector for many years, and was known as an excellent provider for his family. Alice often supplemented his salary with sewing that she sold. She made most of the clothing for her children. The Johns lived and taught their children the Dena traditions. Their house was always full, with their own children, other children which they took in, and many friends. Mr. and Mrs. John had 11 children; four are still living. They have 38 grandchildren.

Worldwide Marriage Encounter representatives will travel to Ross River, Yukon, to join the community to celebrate and honour Mr. and Mrs. John as the Longest Married Couple in Canada on May 19, 2013.

"Alice and Arthur are a delightful couple," said John and Irene Morin, a mission couple currently living in Ross River who nominated the Johns based on the wedding date of October 6, 1935. "The whole community of Ross River is looking forward to celebrating this special honour with them."

Mr. and Mrs. John were also honoured on the occasion of their 77th anniversary for their gift of "faithful marital love" in October 2012 by St. Michael's Church in Ross River, Yukon. Read more about the celebration at www.whitehorsediocese.org/blog/2012/10/sing-a-song-of-joy.

The Canadian Ecclesial Team notes that other couples in Canada may have been married longer than 77 years, but Mr. and Mrs. John have been married longer than all others who were nominated as part of the recent Worldwide Marriage Encounter promotion.

Worldwide Marriage Encounter offers married couples the tools for building and maintaining a strong, Christian marriage in today's world. WWME has a presence in almost 100 countries, which makes it the largest pro-marriage movement in the world. In Canada, WWME programs are presented in English, French, Spanish, and Korean languages. To learn more about Worldwide Marriage Encounter go to www.wwme.org or email renewmarriage@gmail.com

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"The mission of Worldwide Marriage Encounter is to proclaim the value of Marriage and Holy Orders in the Church and in the world."