ST. PETERSBURG — Thirty-one couples renewed their love and commitment to each other in a vow renewal ceremony held at Mt. Zion Progressive Missionary Baptist Church Saturday, June 11.
Officiated by Rev. Louis Murphy, Sr., many of the couples had been married for more than 20 years. In fact, Carl and Emma Calhoun have been married longer than some of the other husbands and wives have been alive—44 years.
The vow renewal ceremony is just one of the many activities The Couples Ministry plan for married couples. Deacon and Deaconess Troy and Linda Gidron have taken it upon themselves to resurrect the ministry after activities started to wane.
They started out by having a few couples come over to their house for an evening of fun. Then the Gidrons decided to have group date nights where couples would get together for dinner and a movie. Those date nights revitalized the ministry, which now meets at the church every third Friday.
Linda said the couples go through a bible-based curriculum that covers different topics that are germane to a happy marriage. And what’s more happy than dancing? Their last field trip took them to the Fred Astaire Dancing Studio where they learned how to dance the Rumba!
“We had to kind of think back when the last time we went dancing with our spouses was. Some people went as far back as to their weddings,” said Linda, who wants to strike the notion that when a couple gets married their lives become boring.
The ministry isn’t all fun and games, however, couples come to them ready to call it quits but they quickly refer them to the bible.
“If you trust and believe him, your marriage will work out,” said Linda, who shows the quarreling couples from the Bible that marriage is God’s idea.
The range of years varied for the 31 couples who participated in Saturday’s ceremony. From newlyweds only married a year to Lewis and Lucy Williams coming in second place with 38 years under their belts.
“Marriage is a commitment to learning to care for one another in mutually fulfilling way” said Rev. Murphy during the ceremony. “It is not an act but a lifelong relationship always in the making. Marriage deepens and enriches every facet of life.”
The church rang with a resounding “We do” when asked if they wished to reaffirm the vows they previously took. As Pastor Murphy read the reaffirmation vows, both husbands and wives answered, “I will.”
“Today you have renewed the promises and vows you made to each other on your wedding day,” he said. “You have symbolized the renewal of the marriage union by the joining of hands and taking your vows.”
After the grooms kissed their brides—twice—Pastor Murphy concluded with prayer, asking God’s Holy Spirit to seal their marriages.
If you thought that was the end of the story, you are sorely wrong. How could you end your wedding day without a reception?
Immediately after saying “I do,” each coupled headed over to the Pasadena Yacht and Country Club for a group reception complete with a wedding cake large enough for 31 lovebirds.
The Couples Ministry is in the early planning stages of a couples cruise for next year.