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African American Church Leaders Conference
to promote strong families, healthy marriages


Registration Open for “Breaking the Silence”
Leadership Conference
August 7 in Cincinnati


Download the Program Booklet here.

Washington, D.C., July 19, 2006—African American clergy and church leaders will “break the silence” about the dismal statistics affecting African American families in an all-day conference on Monday, August 7, 2006 in Cincinnati's Duke Energy Convention Center.  

NCC President Michael Livingston, (left), television personality Judge Mablean Ephriam of the Divorce Court (center), and the Rev. Dr. Wallace Charles Smith, president of Philadelphia’s Palmer Theological Seminary and pastor of the historic Shiloh Baptist Church in Washington, D.C.(right), are among the notable array of speakers who will address the conference.


Recent studies show that African Americans are more likely to divorce than any other racial or ethnic group in the U.S. and are also more likely to come from single parent homes. In addition, African Americans have higher rates of health problems than other groups.


While these challenges seem difficult to overcome, the National Council of Churches USA and the Progressive National Baptist Convention Women's Department have joined together to sponsor “African American Congregations: Breaking the Silence for the Good of All Families, an ecumenical leadership conference focused on the role of African American congregations in promoting strong families and healthy marriages. The conference is being supported by a grant from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.


“The African American Church has always played an important role in improving the lives of African Americans. It is appropriate and significant that we begin to deal with the breakdown of the family in the church,” said Rev. Brenda Girton-Mitchell, Associate General Secretary for Justice and Advocacy for NCC.


“This conference will equip African American church leaders and congregations to strengthen Black families and the community as a whole,” she said.

The training is aimed at empowering and equipping clergy and laity to address family issues in a way not taught in Sunday school or seminary. The conference will also focus on the development of tools and messaging around support for low income families.


Knowing that children who do not live with both biological parents are twice as likely to be poor, to have birth outside of marriage, to have behavioral problems and to not graduate from high school, participants will address the issues that undermine African American families, particularly low-income households, from entering into and maintaining healthy families and strong marriages.


The conference is open to both clergy and lay leaders. Registration is $40 and should be sent to: Breaking the Silence, National Council of Churches USA, 110 Maryland Avenue, NE, Suite 108, Washington, DC 20002.


For more information about the program, visit



EDITOR’S NOTE:  Judge Mablean Epriam, NCC President Rev. Michael Livingston, and other presenters are available for interviews before and following the conference. To set up an interview, contact Leslie Tune at 202.481.6927.

CONTACT:  Leslie Tune, NCC, 202-481-6927; or Joellen Grady, 614-885-9590


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