Last Saturday evening was another joyous occasion at St. Alban’s. I was privileged to assist at the wedding of two members of the Spanish language fellowship of the parish. Actually it was the blessing of a civil marriage, but none the less glorious because of the approach that Padre Simon took to the liturgy and to his making the ceremony so inclusive. If you have ever looked at the rite in the Book of Common Prayer, you’ve seen that it contemplates a rather simple set of reaffirmations right after the homily in a regular communion service. Rather than that, however, on Saturday, the structure of a marriage ceremony was followed, but using the reaffirmation language in place of the vows, which, of course, the couple had already made to each other. And rather than there standing before him for the reaffirmation and blessing only the husband and wife and two attendants, Padre Simon invited the couple’s children, parents and aunts and uncles to come and stand with them, not unlike the coming forward of sponsors, friends and family at a Confirmation. And at the Eucharist, Padre Simon invited the couple’s two older children to stand with him at the altar, one on his right and one on his left. It was beautiful. The service was made even more meaningful by the inclusion of an adult baptism, which was placed right after the Peace.
And then the reception. Ah, the reception. The transformation of our rather stark Trenbath Assembly Hall was not to be believed. I had to capture it and include photos of how it looked.
They might not mean much to readers who are not familiar with our space, but St.Albanites will be amazed. It was made even more wonderful by being self-catered; that is, the décor and the food and beverages were all the work of the whole fellowship, which has become over the course of their meeting at St. Alban’s like a family. The arrangement of the tables along the edge of the room, rather than spread out in the middle also, left a large dance floor that was put to enthusiastic use, encouraged by steadily upbeat music provided by the fellowship’s own music leader. A happier, more lively celebration, you’ve never seen.
St. Alban’s can take a certain amount of satisfaction at the result of having said ‘yes’ a few years ago when given the opportunity to provide worship and reception space to the Spanish language fellowship. I’m blessed to have been able to be a small part of their life, and I look forward to more to come as they continue to grow.
Ron Hicks, Parish Verger, St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, Washington DC
Beautiful! Thanks for giving us a look at this piece of God working among us that we otherwise might have missed.