Valentine’s Day came two days early to Western Heights Uniting Church this year, with the local minister demonstrating the love of God in the most profoundly personal manner by letting someone else give the sermon and perform the sacred rituals.
This is, of course, very appropriate when it is the minister’s wedding day.
On Saturday Isabel Greenall married Stephen Singline at Western Heights Uniting Church in Geelong, where Ms Greenall is the congregational minister.
Rev Paul Stephens officiated at the ceremony in front of more than 200 people, including approximately 15 ministers from the Uniting Church and other denominations.
Ms Greenall and Mr Singline chose 1 John 4:7-21 for the Scripture reading, which includes the phrase: “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God…”
In his homily based on the reading, Mr Stephens quoted American scholar Judith Jones.
“1 John emphasises that God’s love is not some abstract concept,” Mr Stephens said.
“It is passion expressed in action. God made love real and present by sending Jesus.”
“It was a really great celebration, a real celebration marked by terrific music and singing,” Mr Stephens, who is Convenor of the Presbytery Transition Team, said afterwards.
“What was good was that it was all done very simply, very well.”
Ms Greenall and Mr Singline are currently on honeymoon in South Australia.
At the 130 Lt Collins St synod offices love was in the air, or at least was the topic of conversation, as people were encouraged to share their Valentine’s Day stories at the Gen Sec’s morning tea for staff.
Despite his reservations that the day had become too commercialised under the influence of “US marketing”, general secretary Mark Lawrence was still able to romantically relate the story of Valentine, the martyred Roman saint who according to legend sent a love note to his jailer’s blind daughter.