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Stories about community | Next Generation Radio at USC Annenberg 2016

Marriage couples love, financial stability

The pastor at Ward AME Church said marriage helps build black middle class wealth.

Ward AME Church celebrates married couples as way to promote financial stability among congregants.

Sometimes marriage can signify more than just love.

This is the case at Ward AME Church where once a year the church dedicates a Sunday service — Marriage Sunday — to celebrating married couples.

“We push marriage as a financial literacy tool,” Rev. John Cager, pastor of Ward AME Church, said. “Marriage is one of the principal wealth building tools for the middle class.”

South Los Angeles, where Ward AME Church is located, has a large black population and many of his congregants come from lower or middle class communities.

“We’ve seen a slide in African American wealth because African Americans have stopped getting married at the same rate,” Cager said.

During this year’s Marriage Sunday, dozens of Ward AME couples were recognized. Some husbands and wives were celebrating more than 50 years of marriage.

Cager said celebrating the church’s couples gives young people and single congregants something to look forward to — long-term love and more wealth.


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