I come from a family of very committed church-goers and volunteers. From my grandparents on down to the youngest grandchild, everyone volunteered in some fashion at the church we all attended: singing in the choir, teaching Sunday School and/or Bible School, providing food and clean up for church dinners, contributing to church publications, sitting on the board, playing the organ, you name it. In my small home town (I have since moved), your church is considered your church “home”, and all the members know each other to some extent. When I was a young teenager, I stood with other church members as we watched with aching hearts while a devastating fire claimed the historic old building in which services had been held for almost 150 years, although the newer building containing the classrooms was saved. With the other members, I pitched in and helped with all the fund-raisers and bazaars to help cover the cost of raising a new building beyond what insurance would pay. Finally, four years later, a beautiful new building was completed, and I sang with other family members in the choir in thanksgiving for our first service in our new building. What I’m trying to say is, this church meant a lot to me. I was christened there. When it came time for me to be married, of course that is where I wanted to hold my wedding and reception. Where else? It was my church home and my church “family” would be there with me.
Less than a month before my wedding– dresses done, invitations sent, tuxes rented, caterer set — I received a phone call at home where I still lived with my parents. The caller, a woman whom I didn’t know, told me that the secretary at my church had informed her that I was getting married in the church on Saturday, Oct. 12th. Wondering where this was going, I told her she was correct. “Well,” she continued, “My daughter is ALSO getting married on October 12th, and she really wanted to have her wedding in that church. It’s just so pretty! I mean, we’re not members, but she really has her heart set on it. I was just wondering if you could move your wedding to the week before or the week after the 12th. Or could you have your wedding somewhere else?” (Let me insert here that my maiden name was unique in a small town — I’m sure the woman looked up my family in the phone book. I don’t accuse the secretary of giving her my number.) I assured the woman that I could not possibly move the date, and that as a life-long member, I had no intention of changing the place, either. “But only move it a day, then? You could get married the next day. She really wanted to use this church — it’s the prettiest one in town!”
I hung on to my manners, but just barely. I refused again and again and finally got her off of the phone. She wanted a life-long member to move the site or date — at the last minute no less — of her wedding in a church she had attended all her life, because her daughter wanted “the prettiest church in town” as her setting for her own wedding? Who asks ANYONE to move a wedding at that point? Thirty years later, I still can’t figure it out, but that whole bizarre conversation has never been forgotten. 0725-08
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