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West Michigan Church Celebrates Marriage


With so much debate recently on marriage and what it means, one Michigan church decided to hold a celebration of marriage to highlight the blessings it has brought its members.

West Leonard Christian Reformed Church, in Grand Rapids, Mich., held its celebration of marriage on Valentine’s weekend. Church member Barb DeKorte was inspired to put together the event after hearing a talk by pastor and author Rick Warren about marriage.

DeKorte invited every married couple in the church to write down their story—how they met, what marriage has meant to them—and to submit a photo of their wedding. Seventy-three couples, ranging from a couple who married last December to another married 69 years ago, responded. Their stories were collected and produced in a booklet.

“For a lot of people, it was a reminder of how they fell in love in the first place,” DeKorte said.

All told, the couples represented more than 3,400 years of married life. West Leonard pastor Neil Jasperse said all the wedding pictures were put on display in the church fellowship area.

“Seeing dear friends, now in their 70s and 80s, back in their wedding outfits was a hoot,” Jasperse said. “We saw all the changing styles of cars people got away in (and) different fads with glasses and clothing. It was a tremendous, positive celebration of biblical marriage.”

Some of the messages from the longest-married couples spoke of perseverance in tough times and the importance of serving each other, DeKorte said.

“In an age where the idea of marriage is being debated and twisted, it is nice to celebrate the joy of living in God’s will,” DeKorte said.

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