PME History

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The History of Our Movement
Worldwide Marriage Encounter has its roots in the Roman Catholic marriage ministry started by Father Calvo in Spain in the 1950s.  It eventually spread to the US, and in 1967, Father Gallagher and several couples began presenting weekends in NY.  The movement spread rapidly from there.  In the early 1970s, the Catholics actively encouraged couples of other denominations to form their own faith expressions.  They provided encouragement, active support, and often financial support.

From Spain to New York...

to Portland...

In 1974 in Portland Oregon, a Presbyterian clergy couple, Jack and Sue Harland, attended a Catholic Marriage Encounter weekend.  Seeing how their lives were changing, the priest that presented the weekend told them that they were the ones God had chosen to take Marriage Encounter to the Presbyterians.  Our Catholic brothers and sisters trained the Presbyterian team and helped finance the first Presbyterian Marriage Encounter weekend which was held in Portland in 1976.  From there, the Portland community reached out first to the San Francisco area and then to Los Angeles.  It then persistently moved across the United States.
One of the giants of our Presbyterian expression, Bob & Marjorie Gay, were early visionaries who saw that our outreach went to many new cities in the US.  They seemed to have a knack to draw and call people who did not know the gifts that lay within.  Many of the team couples in Presbyterian Marriage Encounter today are there because of this couple. 

and throughout the U.S.

Beyond our borders...

Early in its history, the Presbyterian expression reached out and helped the Church of Canada to start, and it assisted Episcopal couples in putting on two weekends for Protestants in Northern Ireland. In recent years, there have been several weekends put on in Peru for missionary families, Wycliffe translators, and American business and church families.

In 1997, our National Board heard from a Presbyterian Executive in Kenya who sees the need for his clergy and lay leaders to experience the weekend.  As a result of much prayer and the support of literally hundreds of couples, the first Presbyterian Marriage Encounter weekend was presented in Kenya in August 2000 with three more presented in August 2001. And, Worldwide Marriage Encounter offered matching funds to see that these weekends happened. Recently, contact was re-established with couples from Korea who have been encountered on Catholic weekends there and now wish to start a Presbyterian expression in their country. 

international outreach...

and still growing!

Outreach in the United States also continues as in recent years communities have begun or are renewing and developing in Spokane WA,  Portland OR, Chicago IL, and the Tidewater VA area.  In 2001, PME Weekends were presented in Houston TX, Syracuse NY, and Southern Alabama.  We have also received inquiries about bringing PME to Las Vegas NV, Charlotte NC, and Washington DC.
Presbyterian Marriage Encounter joins in extending the dream that began many years ago by being one of thirteen Faith Expressions of Worldwide Marriage Encounter.

Keeping the dream alive!


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