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Shocco to host Forehands, other guest speakers at marriage eventcomment (0)

October 31, 2013

By Kristen Padilla

Shocco Springs Baptist Conference Center in Talladega has hosted marriage events for years, but it has never sponsored its own — until now.

Together@The Springs is coming to Shocco Feb. 28–March 1.

“We have been looking at the possibility of doing some programming for some time,” said Lauren Cowart, guest relations manager at Shocco and Together@The Springs event programmer. “It kept coming up from different people … for we have seen a lack of marriage conferences at Shocco that are opened up to the public. We’ll have church marriage events but you have to be invited by the church. 

“God just kind of worked it out for us to have a partnership with Dale and Jena Forehand and the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions (SBOM) for our first year’s event,” she said.

The Forehands (see story, page 7), founders of Stained Glass Ministries in Birmingham, have been speaking at marriage conferences for 14 years, beginning with LifeWay’s Festival of Marriage event in 1999.

“We were married eight years, divorced, and then God put our family back together,” Jena Forehand said. “We were very religiously active but not spiritually intimate with God. Jesus had become part of our lives but He wasn’t center and we weren’t walking with Him.”

“We started sharing our stories and … we just started studying through the Word of God what were the roots that led to the bad fruit,” she said.

Couples who attend this marriage event will get to hear more about the Forehands’ story as well as hear from breakout speakers Jeremiah and Jean Castille, Scott and Dawn Smith, and Jeff and Wendi Mucci. The Forehands’ son and daughter-in-law, Cole and Kelsey Forehand, will lead worship for the event. 

Cowart said the purpose of Together@The Springs “is to provide some real-life, practical solutions on how to have a godly marriage and how to grow closer to God.”

Eileen Mitchell, state missionary in the SBOM office of Sunday School and discipleship, said they are excited to partner with Shocco Springs to bring this event to Alabama Baptists.

“All marriages take work,” she said. “People do a lot of planning for their wedding but very little planning for their marriage. We want to do everything we can to help encourage those marriages.”

She added that this event is not to help those who are in a deep crisis but rather to encourage and help married couples on their journey.

There are three general sessions and three breakout sessions, Friday night to Saturday afternoon. Couples are given an additional night stay option Saturday night to Sunday afternoon to relax, go on a date and spend intentional time with one another. The schedule was put together with the intent that couples wouldn’t go home tired but feel renewed in their relationship, Jena Forehand said.

“Shocco is just a wonderful place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the dailyness of life,” Mitchell said. “[This event] will be a time for couples to get away and to focus on each other.”

Both Cowart and Jena Forehand hope this marriage event will be a success and become a yearly event for Alabama Baptists. 

“I think most of us nowadays have either known someone who has been divorced, have been personally affected by divorce or know someone who has been affected by divorce,” Cowart said. “I think anything we can help do and be a part of … we want to make sure we do what the Lord has asked us to do.”

Jena Forehand added that just like people need to take their cars in for a tune up from time to time, they also need to set aside times where they “tune up” their marriage and make sure that it is a top priority.

“Weekends like this get us back in alignment where God is first and our marriage is right there as well,” she said. “It’s a time to readjust our focus as to why marriage is important. We’re anticipating that God will do great things at this event.” 

To find out more information or register, visit www.togetheratthesprings.org, email reservations@shocco.org or call 1-800-280-1105.


Helpful tips for a person whose family member or friend is going through separation/divorce


  • Don’t choose sides.
  • Pray! Pray! Pray!
  • Be gentle and loving.
  • Don’t abandon them.
  • Gently encourage professional counseling.
  • Speak truth to them.


Source: Rod Marshall, CEO and president of Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes & Family Ministries

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