Church leaders can learn how to offer creative date nights to their congregations during Sept. 7 meetings

Tracy Family Foundation

MOUNT STERLING, Ill. — The Tracy Family Foundation and Communio are partnering to make an impact on marriages in west central Illinois this fall.

Three two-hour informational gatherings for church members or leaders will be held Thursday, Sept. 7 to hear more about the West-Central Illinois Date Night Challenge and to learn how to offer creative date nights to members of their congregations and the public.

Anyone can sign up to attend one of the gatherings listed below at www.tracyfoundation.org/datenight. The exact locations for each meeting will be made public closer to Sept. 7.

  • Breakfast in Quincy from 7:30-9:30 a.m.
  • Lunch in Mount Sterling from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
  • Dinner in Jacksonville from 5-7 p.m.

There is no cost or catch. The Tracy Family Foundation is providing the financial support for this project. There will be opportunities for participating churches to receive additional funds if they want to offer additional marriage enrichment programming in the future.

Communio is a nonprofit organization that consults with churches to equip them to make an impact through the renewal of healthy relationships, marriages and the family. Communio commissioned a Barna Survey to understand where Evangelical, Catholic and mainline churches are allocating their ministry time and resources. The study found that marriage and relationship ministry is a big gap within American churches. Communio believes closing this gap is one of the largest cultural health opportunities.

The study specifically found:

  • 72 percent of all churches in America lack a substantive marriage ministry.
  • 74 percent of all churches have no ministry for newlyweds helping them through their first critical years of marriage.
  • 99 percent of churches do not offer any ministries for singles.
  • A large majority of churches report spending 0 percent of their ministry dollars on marriage and relationship ministries.

In a press release, Tracy Family Foundation Executive Director Dan Teefey said, “Families is a focus area for the Tracy Family Foundation. We want to foster strong, healthy and resilient families throughout west central Illinois, and we believe our churches are vital partners in this work. Relationships are hard. We need commitment, community and resources for our relationships to thrive.”

Participants at the informational gatherings will get everything they need to help to offer creative date nights in October, November, and December through their churches. This includes a plan for date nights, meaningful discussion questions, email and social media templates for promotions and follow-up strategies.

Communio leaders will share a vision for healthy marriages and families and additional ideas for helping people enhance their relationship skills.

Anyone can sign up at http://www.tracyfoundation.org/datenight

Communio is a nonprofit organization that consults with churches to equip them to make an impact through the renewal of healthy relationships, marriages and the family. Communio equips churches to run a data-informed full-circle relationship ministry. It helps churches develop and execute a holistic ministry game plan that provides vision, skills and community to individuals at each stage of relationship: single life, pre- marital formation, marriage enrichment and marriages in crisis.

The Tracy Family Foundation was established in 1997 by the Robert and Dorothy Tracy family to advance innovative, collaborative and sustainable change in Brown County and the surrounding region through organizations that share the values of family, faith, education, leadership and community. The foundation has awarded more than 7,000 grants for nearly $70 million.

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