Brecheens and Faulkners to receive ACU's Christian Service Award Monday
For Immediate Release
Feb. 16, 2001
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Marriage enrichment icons Dr. Paul Faulkner and Dr. Carl Brecheen and their wives, Gladys Faulkner and Smitty Brecheen, will be Monday, Feb.19, with ACU's annual Christian Service Award. The award will be presented at a luncheon at noon at ACU's Teague Special Events Center.
At the luncheon, the audience will include couples from three generations who have attended one of the hundreds of Marriage Enrichment Seminars the duo has conducted in the past 27 years.
A new marriage enrichment video series recently completed by Brecheen and Faulkner also will be presented at the luncheon.
Dr. Royce Money, ACU president, said he knew of no one who has had a more profound impact on marriages, both within the Churches of Christ and beyond, than Brecheen and Faulkner.
"It is customary to recognize one couple, but we found it to be impossible to separate the two of them," he said. "Brecheen and Faulkner have endured. Look at the generations they have spanned. That kind of momentum is phenomenal."
When Brecheen, professor of Bible, and Faulkner, professor emeritus, conducted their first seminar in September 1974, each had at least one elementary-aged child. Today, those children have children. The Faulkner's four children have given them eight grandchildren. The Brecheen's have three children and eight grandchildren.
Brecheen still teaches full time at ACU and directs the Summer Bible Workshops. Faulkner preaches for a small church in Dripping Springs, west of Austin, that he and his wife have planted.
They bought land near there several years ago when their company, Resources for Living, chose Austin as home base after Paul retired from ACU.
Young couples populate the seminar crowds each month (in recent years the pair limited the schedule to only one weekend per month). The teachers sense no generation gap, despite often having the longest marriages of anyone present at a seminar.
"Older people have got to develop friends and become friends with younger people. The people at the seminar treat us as if they were our age. We like that," Faulkner said.
They believe families today face more stress with both parents working. "We don't criticize that, we just say it's stressful," Faulkner said.
Schedules are pulling families apart, Brecheen explained. "A lot of men and women are working in areas where they can't afford to reside. The result is long commutes and long working days, leaving precious little family time. Families, especially in those kinds of areas, are having major struggles," he said.
Core issues, however, are the same. "The family is the backbone of any nation. That's never going to change," Faulkner said. "God even talks about the church being the family of God. Church should be patterned somewhat like the family."
As a result, the anecdotes have morphed some over the years, but not the subjects covered. Brecheen begins the seminar on Friday night discussing the importance of being committed to God's design. On Saturday morning they talk about Christian husbands and wives, communication and sexuality.
"I think the chemistry between me and Paul, because we've been friends so long and enjoy being together so much, has been a major part of the seminar," Brecheen said. "We love each other so much that it's obvious. We trust each other with our lives and our convictions. I would trust him with anything he believes and says, and he can trust me the same way, and that's made a marvelous team."
They're booked solid for the next five years, after which they are talking about "closing it down" as Faulkner said. But nothing's for sure - they've had this plan before.
President Money, a former minister and licensed marriage and family therapist, worries that churches aren't emphasizing healthy marriages and families as much as they need to. "I'm hoping that events like this and the new Brecheen/Faulkner video series can rekindle that emphasis in the church before we need it even more than we do now."
(Written by Dr. Cheryl M. Bacon, chair of ACU's journalism and mass communication department.)
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