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Pastor teaches marriage classes to employees at state capitol

OKLAHOMA CITY (BP)–After saying in his 1999 State of the State address he wanted to lead Oklahoma in lowering the divorce rate one third by 2010, Gov. Frank Keating put feet to his words.
In March, he and First Lady Cathy Keating hosted the state’s first marriage conference at the capitol building with about 200 participants.
And in June, Ted Kersh, pastor of Oklahoma City’s Village Baptist Church, began teaching a series of five marriage classes in the governor’s conference room.
Kersh, who was at the March marriage conference, said he called the governor after the meeting and made an appointment to discuss the possibility of scheduling the seminars.
“I told him my wife and I teach these marriage seminars, and I thought it would be neat if he and the First Lady hosted marriage classes at the capitol,” Kersh said.
He said the governor agreed, and Kersh led the Keatings through the material he would be using.
The first class, which began June 8, was attended by about 50 people, including some from the governor’s office, state supreme court, department of energy, welfare department and state senators and representatives’ offices.
The hour-long classes at noon include lunch served by Village members.
“We try to keep it to an hour, so as not to interfere with their work schedules,” Kersh said.
Kersh said he is using materials from Intimate Life Ministries with which Oklahoma Baptists have a partnership arrangement.
During the first session, Kersh said he talked about intimacy.
“We discussed what intimacy is and gave them homework to do with their spouses on evaluating intimacy in areas such as spiritual, physical and emotional,” Kersh explained.
He said he told them the primary reason for marriage is to remove one another’s aloneness.
“God looked at the world he created, and said everything is good,” Kersh noted. “But when he got to Adam, he said it is not good that he is alone, and he created Eve.”
The pastor said he realizes that in only five hours, about all that can be done is “to whet their appetites.”
But, he said, after the five weeks, they will be given an opportunity to enroll in small-group ministries that Village provides.
“We do intimate encounter small groups in homes all the time,” Kersh said. “These [are conducted for] eight weeks and go into more depth. It gives couples more time to respond to the things that are taught.”
Although Kersh said he believes most of those coming to the classes are Christians, some told him they didn’t go to church but had heard about the marriage classes and wanted to come.
Kersh added that the Keatings said they plan to be at all the classes when their schedules permit.

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  • Dana Williamson