Becoming the Paris Wedding Pastor
The Paris Wedding Pastor?
I didn’t just wake up one morning and know that I was supposed to become a Paris wedding pastor. Most of the time, my life doesn’t work that way – things are not nearly that “certain.” I wasn’t ordained as “The Paris Wedding Pastor.” I was ordained to the call of Minister of Word and Sacrament in 2005, after a long journey through university and graduate school, and the arduous ordination process of the Presbyterian Church (USA). It was a thrill to stand before the church and give my first benediction in my pastoral robe and stole. I was embarking on a journey to serve the church and didn’t know that I would end up as a Paris wedding pastor!
In 2012, I was called to pastor in an international English speaking congregation in Paris. I was not called to be the Paris wedding pastor! It was exciting, intense, and a gift to move to Paris. Our family sold all of our earthly goods (house, car, etc.) and moved to Paris within three months of receiving my call. I had a toddler, a baby, and a husband, and we embarked upon the adventure of a lifetime in Paris – a city we already loved.
The Paris Pastor
For three and a half years I served a church in Paris. I watched both my little boys growing up before my eyes. The intensity of my job and my husband’s job grew. I love pastoring, but I did not love being out every night at meetings. I did not like missing the moments like tucking my little boys into bed, or sharing a glass of wine with my hubby. It may have been one of the most difficult decisions of my life – finishing my contract and not continuing on in that call, but it was the right decision for my own spiritual health and for the future of my family. Little did I know, there was a path for me as a wedding pastor in Paris.
The Wedding Pastor
Over the course of my time working in Paris as a church pastor, I did few weddings. I did many more weddings in the United States. I officiated in the U.S. quite regularly. In Paris, there was someone on staff assigned to the pastoral task of weddings. Besides, I had plenty on my plate. I did have the opportunity to officiate a few incredibly meaningful weddings in Paris. One Paris wedding stands out in particular, and it may have been a defining moment for my new path.
The Wedding That Changed It All
K & S were referred to me by another colleague in Pittsburgh (where my former American life was!), and I was honored to bless their elopement. I did what any wedding pastor would do. I got to know them, listened to their love story, and created a service that honored their religious and family traditions as well as their unique “couplehood.” I welcomed them with open arms (and wine and cheese, because hey… France!). I stood with them as they made their vows to one another. It was a cold, grey and rainy day in Paris, but their love was enough to warm us all. I typically stay in touch with all of my couples, but this couple has a unique place in my heart. With their wedding ceremony in Paris, I reaffirmed my own theological commitment to radical hospitality and welcome. Love knows no bounds. How amazing it was to marry a couple whom my friend was pastoring an ocean away, but I had the privilege of getting to know.
A Wedding Pastor is ALWAYS a Pastor
To this day, I pray for that special couple. I have seen them launch a successful business and have cheered them on from afar. I have also prayed for them through disappointment and heartache. It’s a pretty normal “pastor” role, really. It doesn’t matter that I am on another continent. I think they know that I love them, and that I am “for” them. I’m certain that is what we all want in life, to know that there is someone who is “for” us. And there is, my friends, always someone for us – the One who gave us the gift of love is always and forever “for” us. Now, I get to share the gift of love regularly as a wedding pastor and ceremony officiant in my little corner of the world, Paris!
Interested in my professional biography? Click here.