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The 8th Annual Longest Married Couple Project, Sponsored by Worldwide Marriage Encounter, Begins Tuesday October 10, 2017
Contact: Dick & Diane Baumbach, Worldwide Marriage Encounter, 321-544-3440, dickanddiane66@bellsouth.net  
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif., Oct. 9, 2017 /Christian Newswire/ -- For the eighth year in a row the annual search for the Longest Married Couple (LMC) in the United States begins this Tuesday, October 10, 2017, it was announced today by Worldwide Marriage Encounter (WWME), the original faith-based marriage enrichment program in the world.
The project will run from Oct. 10, 2017 to Jan. 10, 2018 with the national winners named in February 2018. There will also be 50 state winners that will be announced in the same time period.
The highly acclaimed activity of recognizing couples for their long marriages, which is in its eighth year, has drawn media attention from around the world.
The first national winners for the project, which started in 2011, were Marshall & Winnie Kuykendall from Lordsburg, New Mexico who were honored for 82 years of marriage, while in 2012 Wilbur & Theresa Faiss of Las Vegas, Nevada were honored for 78 years of marriage. In 2013 John & Ann Betar of Fairfield, CT were honored for 80 years of marriage. In 2014 Harold & Edna Owings of Burbank, CA were recognized for their 82 years of marriage, while in 2015 Dale & Alice Rockey of Olathe, KS were saluted for their 81 years of marriage, in 2016 Maury & Helen Goosenberg of Carlsbad, CA were named the national winners with 80 years of married life, while this year Horace Allen and Beatrice Ricks of Callahan, FL were recognized for 81 years of marriage.
The state winners are recognized for their longest marriages also in the February time frame by Worldwide Marriage Encounter couples from their states. There have been over 2400 couples nominated for the honors during the last seven years. Winners of the LMC project are selected solely from nominations submitted.
"As we begin the eighth year of this wonderful project of recognizing long marriages we want to honor the longest married couple in the United States, as well as in each of the 50 states and territories." explained Bryan & Karen Berland of Guthrie, OK, the new U.S. coordinators for the special project. 

The Berlands succeed Dick & Diane Baumbach of Viera, FL who initiated and ran the project for the past seven years.  

The national winners will be recognized during Valentine's Week 2018, which coincides with World Marriage Day, which is always the second Sunday of February.
An Alumni Group has been established for previous national and state winners. Previous state winners can vie for the national title, but they also are considered members of the alumni of longest married couples in their individual states. This allows for new couples to be recognized for both state and national recognition. "It has been such a joy and inspiration to recognize a husband and wife, both nationally and statewide, who have been married for many, many years," the coordinators explained.
The 2018 national winners will be formally recognized in person by WWME's United States Leadership/Ecclesial Team Joe & Sue Talarico of Concord, CA and Fr. Tom Ogg from Ten Sleep, WY.   They will present the winning couple special gifts at a ceremony to be held at the winner's location during Valentine's week. The state winners will also 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 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 bkberland@gmail.com, regular mail Bryan & Karen Berland 530 S. Academy Guthrie, OK 73044, and special phone number 405-850-4274. Nominations must be received by midnight January 10th, 2018.
Worldwide Marriage Encounter has been offering weekend experiences for over 49 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 almost 100 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. Priests are also encouraged to attend a WWME weekend, which offers insights into their relationship with the church and their parishioners, and how their Sacrament of Holy Orders interacts with the Sacrament of Matrimony. WWME 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 contact the WWME national office at (909) 332-7309.
Media inquiries should be directed to: Dick & Diane Baumbach (321) 544-3440, dickanddiane66@bellsouth.net