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Many preview program on faith-based finances
Blackshear Place Baptist Church publication manager Robert Boley, right, hands Clark and Paula Dobbs supplemental material the couple purchased Sunday for a financial seminar Feb. 1. - photo by SARA GUEVARA


Hear Richard and Mary Smith talk about why they are interested in Dave Ramsey’s seminar.

OAKWOOD — They came with different interests, from getting rid of debt to shoring up money for retirement, but with a like-minded desire in following biblical financial principles.

People flocked Sunday evening to Blackshear Place Baptist Church for a preview of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, which begins Feb. 1.

Ramsey is an author and nationally syndicated talk show host who offers Bible-based financial advice. Financial Peace University is a 13-week seminar with a video-based curriculum taught by Ramsey.

The program incorporates group discussions and activities to teach participants how to take accountability and improve their finances.

"As (Ramsey) says, there is only one way to financial peace and that’s to walk daily with the prince of peace," said Matt Trawick, a North Hall resident attending the service with his wife, Alison.

Trawick, who has been visiting Blackshear Place, said he and Alison came specifically to hear more about getting out of debt.

Richard Smith of South Hall said he and his wife, Mary, hoped the sessions could help them "preserve what we’ve managed to accumulate to live off retirement."

Both retirees and Blackshear Place members, Richard worked in law enforcement in Tampa, Fla., and Mary worked as a mortgage loan underwriter.

"I think we always feel that God has something to teach us, regardless of what the subject is," Mary said, "and we’re always willing to learn."

Eddie Cole, attending with his wife, Angie, both church members, said, "It’s a struggle sometimes to make ends meet and ... we are trying to learn how to use what God’s blessed us with, by God’s standards.

"Hopefully, we can learn ... how to better manage the money he has given us."

Sunday’s night preview was part of the church’s regular Sunday night service, which featured praise songs, prayers and an offertory.

The preview included a video presentation giving an introduction of the course.

"I have had a burden on my heart for you, this church family," said Jeff Crook, senior pastor at Blackshear Place, in comments before the video. "Many of you have lost jobs. Many of you are having a real difficult time in the recession that we’re in."

Supplemental materials for the course are sold for $50 at the church. They sell on Ramsey’s Web site for $119.

People can attend without a kit, "but to have all of the financial forms and materials, we are strongly encouraging them to get one," said Grady Sutton, minister of church programming for Blackshear Place.

Topics covered in the program including budgeting money, the role of insurance in a financial plan and planning for retirement and college.

Classes will take place on Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays. Baby-sitting will be available for parents with newborns to fifth-graders.