Saturday, August 13, 2011

50 years of marriage

Last weekend my family had the privilege of celebrating my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. On August 5, 1961 my dad and mom were married at the Congregational Church in Mantorville, MN. On August 6, 2111, about 175 of us gathered in Geneva Hall of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Worthington, MN to acknowledge and celebrate their last 50 years together.

My sister, Pam, and I started planning the day last January when she and her kids spent a weekend in Blaine. Our hope was to have a party where my parents didn’t have to do much. By May it appeared obvious that this hope wouldn’t be accomplished. When the details seemed to be getting out of control my parents, sister and I gathered in June to make the final preparations. We divided tasks and then watched my mom go to work. Through this experience I re-learned that if my mom wants to organize a party it is going to be big.

Our family is blessed to have enjoyed a number of significant celebrations at our home church. We celebrated my ordination in 1993; we celebrated my sister’s ordination and then her wedding in 1997. This doesn’t include the countless celebrations of church life when we were growing up. The celebration last Saturday was just as much one of the blessings of a church as the blessings of a marriage.

I was overwhelmed by the large number of friends of my parents who attended. I came away from the celebration realizing again that my parents are gifted in developing friends. It was wonderful seeing their friends I hadn’t seen in a long time—people like the Barbers and Dykes and Hudsons and Todds. All were a part of our family’s life when we were growing up. The celebration last Sunday was about my parents wedding, and it was just as much about these friends who were an important part of our family.

The program was supposed to be twenty minutes—but when preachers plan something it always goes long. Pam’s husband, Scott, and my wife, Amy, did a marvelous job of being masters of ceremonies for the program. Though the program lasted 45 minutes, I doubt if anyone was bored---there were too many stories to share.

My sister and I are privileged to have parents who love and like each other so much. My mom and dad do everything together. They are best friends and enjoy being in each others’ presence. I don’t remember my parents ever having a fight in my presence until I was in college.

It’s truly special when a celebration encompasses church, family, friends, and marriage.

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