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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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He loves weddings

“I believe that God gets a kick out of new beginnings,”says Ron Reaves. The pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran, Frederick, Md., was featured in a New York Times (April 17) article on weddings held somewhere other than a church and on "marriage ministry" by clergy.

If time would allow, Reaves says he could perform 50 weddings a year. Requests for him to officiate at services outside a church building are up 25 percent.

"Some of my colleagues find it odd that I enjoy doing weddings," Reaves told the Times, adding that some clergy believe couples should be married only at church. "I think God can bless your union on a yacht or next to a hot-air balloon."

A wedding for bikers was one of the most unusual. "Everyone was decked out in denim and leather and the bride was brought in on the side- car of her father's Harley," Reaves told The Lutheran.

He considers weddings part of his ministry and says several have brought new members to the church.

"I'd rather people have an opportunity to meet a welcoming Christ than receive human judgment for their lack of involvement in a faith community or their brokenness from divorce or other aspects of the human condition," he said. "To me this is about grace and hospitality."


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