The view was breathtaking as Amanda and Andy exchanged their vows to love and cherish one another forever on a hilltop in the beautiful wine country of Virginia in the late afternoon of August eleventh 2013. The bluegreen mountains in the background framed the scene as many shades of green punctuated by the bright yellows and oranges of huge butterflies and the bride’s lovely shimmering dress with beautiful bouquets of fresh flowers on either side of the couple, formed the altar where they were wed. The butterflies ,a symbol of new and beautiful life, were all around. One elegant rust and orange butterfly settled on the bride’s side as she, aware only of her handsome groom, said her vows. His eyes intently rested on her. One had a glimpse of that first Garden where life and love were ignited.
Rev. Judith Beaumont began the ceremony in an unusual way, asking the families and friends gathered there to state their intentions with an “I do” to vows of supporting the couple in the ups and downs of married life. The large group gathered were joyful as they pledged their support and love. They were also asked to raise their hands in blessing the couple along with the priest.
The Gospel reading was from John 15:9-12 (Verse 12) ” And this is my commandment, love one another as I have loved you”. In the brief Homily Rev. Beaumont located the love of Andy and Amanda and their families and friends in the heart of God’s love for them as expressed in the life and example of Christ. The couple also chose Adam Sandler’s song about growing old together and Apache (Native American) and Jewish Wedding blessings as readings.
Their vows were moving and loving,truly sacramental. Toward the end of the ceremony Rev.Beaumont wrapped their joined hands in her wedding stole and united them with a blessing including God in their marriage and naming the many ways their hands would comfort and enable them to serve one another and God’s people as they have already been doing in their service to others.
After the ceremony many attending thanked Rev. Beaumont and remarked at the deep and sacramental meaning of the holy, beautiful, simple and inclusive ceremony. Those gathered were a very diverse group of all ages, races and religions, but most were Roman Catholic by birth. Some were practicing Catholics and some “fallen away” but all welcomed Rev. Beaumont warmly. Many who never even heard about the existence of women priests said that they were so pleased to experience the difference a woman priest can make and to know that church renewal has begun.
Reported by Rev. Dr. Judy Lee, ARCWP 8/13/13
Rev. Judith Beaumont, ARCWP, Officiating