Weddings, photos and ministers

I helped out in a wedding on Saturday (http://diggingalot.org/wordpress/?p=10337).

The current minister did the actual wedding & I did the reading, sermon and prayers. He did a great job: did what was necessary, struck the right balance between formal & informal and made it personable without overwhelming it with personality (I still cringe at some of the things I did where ‘me’ overwhelmed the message).

I have have spent some time looking at the photos of the wedding and they are lovely; I have known the Groom for over 11 years and I hope they have a fantastic life together.

As far as I can see in none of the photos do the presiding minister or I appear: that is as it should be I think: ministry is partly about pointing out the way and then getting out of the way. Come to think of it: I have never really liked being in wedding photos anyway.

It was never about you in the first place: ‘I did this’, ‘It is my church’- it was about God and then others.

Wedding 2

To be honest, I wasn’t expecting to be blogging this today.

A while back, after I had left church ministry, someone I had known since I came to this place announced that he was getting married. I was overjoyed- all who knew him in this village were. He and his wife to be asked me to marry them. It may have been the ‘atmosphere’ in the Bay Horse that night but I nearly burst into tears.

It was not to be: I was initially refused any involvement in the service (This is not the place to comment on the issue but I still struggle to comprehend the handling of it with any grace…). After a few months, I was allowed a reading as a ‘family friend’. I was OK with this: a wedding is about the couple and not the celebrant/minister.

However, following a change of minister I was asked to have a fuller part and preach. This will be a huge day for the lovely Tom and Michelle, whom I really like.

It will be big for me- more healing I guess: the first time I have done anything in the name of the church where I was once minister. Like last week, I am looking forward to it, although I am much more nervous….

Thank you for grace, affirmation and permission…

Wedding

I am preaching today.

I haven’t preached as such for over 8 months. I found the preparation a powerful and liberating experience- the joy of getting inside a Bible passage again. There is also the sense of acceptance and the feeling of coming home: some things that happened as I was leaving and when I left were not nice or pretty and I lost some confidence.

I am looking forward to it. But I am looking forward to saying something and then ‘getting out of the way’ to allow Rachel and Joe and their friends to celebrate.

Happy wedding Rachel and Joe and thank you for being part of the healing.

Happy Days

No soul searching introspection today: today I get to conduct two weddings.

I have never done two weddings in a day before, but that is by the by. I am more excited about James and Jayne and Fergus and Elaine. Excited as they take this new leap of faith. Excited as family and friends gather. Excited to have a small part in their separate days. Excited as neither are ‘new’: I have some connections with both couples over the years- in fact a connection stretching back 29 years with one of them.

So yes- history is made: after over 5 years a genuinely happy post here.

And if you are of the praying type, please pray for James and Jayne & Fergus and Elaine.

Wedding

 

I have a wedding today.

It is unlike any wedding that I have ever conducted. Ok, it is not every day that I am asked to do a wedding in a Hawiian shirt and jeans or shorts. Equally, it is not any day that I am also asked to baptise a child in the same ceremony (or the promises made on behalf of the child to be made by the mother,step father and father and step mother).

The groom has family connections with one of the chapels of which I am the minister. They live a few miles away now, but in an area that may as well be in another country: my village is very affluent- their area is in one of the poorest wards in Britain.

So, in a week of press stories about another major denomination putting up its fees by 40%, this one is given free. The bride and groom, who have very little have asked for no presents,instead they have asked for money to be split between the hospital ward where the groom’s brother died and the bride’s father was succesfully treated for cancer (above is one of their home made collection boxes). I still can’t process how someone with very little compared to almost everyone I know, wants to give away what they could gain.

Parables of Grace are around us every day. Mostly they are not so obvious as this.