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An Anniversary :: Five Years

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September 11, 2010

While this is a somber day of prayer and remembrance for our world, and like you, I have been feeling all the feelings that it evokes, it is also the anniversary of a day of profound joy for me.

Five years ago, on September 11, 2010, I officiated my first wedding ceremony at Channing Memorial Church in Newport, Rhode Island.

My training was a combination of a communications degree, years of professional writing, yoga teacher training, Reiki training, an online minister’s certificate, a year of mentorship with the amazing Rev. Deborah Catherine Faith and a deep desire to serve this world as a (different kind of) minister.

Five years later, as I sit here reflecting on this journey, my own marriage has ended (earlier this year), I am about to begin my second year of Interfaith Seminary and I am pursuing additional training so that I can offer a formal marriage preparation program to my clients.

I really don’t know how many couples I have worked with over the past five years (I am SO not a numbers person) but I do know that each of my clients have touched me in a deep and personal way and that I have grown so much through our work together.

Tonight my heart is filled with peace and deep gratitude for all who have guided, supported and walked with me on this path.

Namaste, friends.

Love,
Erin

My first wedding ceremony

On this first day of 2013, I am sharing a look back at my first wedding ceremony as I eagerly anticipate the celebrations in the year to come…

Photos: John Goodman, Kathy Barrette, Michael Coutcher (and me).

Second to last photo is of me with my mom and dad shortly after the ceremony.

* * * *

When I performed my first wedding ceremony on September 11, 2010 at the Channing Memorial Church in Newport, RI, much of the experience felt like a dream.

In the months leading up to that day, I had been quietly studying the basics of ceremony creation and delivery with my mentor, Rev. Deborah Catherine Faith, when my mom called to say that her good friend’s daughter was getting married in September and wanted to talk to me about officiating the ceremony.

I wavered back and forth with excitement and fear as I went through the steps I had learned — meeting for coffee, getting to know the couple, gathering pertinent information, writing the ceremony, leading the rehearsal.

Even on the day of the ceremony, I could not quite shake the feeling of being a little girl in her mom’s high heels playing “dress up” as I put on the beautiful stole my mom had made for me.

And yet I knew, with all my heart, that this is the work I am called to do.

* * *

Before the ceremony began, I was in a small room behind the altar with the groom and his groomsmen, when one of them asked me about how I came to do ceremonies.

I smiled. Gave the short version of my story. And admitted that he was about to witness my first ceremony.

After the ceremony, which went beautifully by all accounts, he found me outside the church and congratulated me.

“I would have never known this was your first ceremony,” he said. “You are a natural.”

* * *

I have performed dozens of weddings since that day — each one a joy, an honor, and a gift — and can honestly say that I feel more comfortable and ‘at home’ in my minister’s attire and in the role of ceremony officiant than I do in most any other setting.

And I still know, with all my heart, that this is the work I am called to do.

_______________________________________________.

wedded bliss

Oh do I love my job.

Thank you to Brianna and Rob, one of the lovely couples I worked with in September, for sharing this video.

I got to sit with Sam Lathrop, the videographer from Squared Away Cinema who created this beautiful video, at Brianna and Rob’s reception and am happy to say that he is as charming as he is talented.

Really. Such a nice guy.

And boy did he have me reaching for my tissues while watching this. Beautiful job, Sam.

Congratulations Brianna and Rob. It was an honor to share this day with you.

(If you can’t see the video here, click here.)

pssst…guess what?

I’ve been keeping a little secret from you all since last December.

(I know. Crazy, huh?)

A number of times I have started a blog post with the intention of sharing. But each time I have saved it in my drafts for a little later.

It all began a few years back, when I read this amazing book called The Artist’s Way. Actually I did much more than “read” it. I lived it with the support of a small group of inspiring women, led by my wonderful friend Julianna, over the course of several weeks. (I cannot say enough positive things about this experience. Totally life-changing!)

One of the exercises in the book is called “Five Lives” and we were each encouraged to write down five lives we would like to live if we could.

My list looked like this:

1. Writer / Author

2. Mama

3. Farmer

4. College Professor

5. Minister

I was already a mother when I wrote this. And a writer. (Though still not a published author — Yet!! I’m working on it!).

I got to try on the college professor role when I worked as an instructor at the University of Rhode Island two years ago and the Farmer part (or at least Marketing Director, who pitches in as a Farm Hand as needed) has been coming together quite nicely over the past year.

But Minister? Where does that fit into my life?

Over the last couple of years I have explored a number of options for attending seminary but none have been the right match for this stage in my life, where we are geographically, and what we can manage financially.

And yet the call to ministry continued.

And so one day last winter I contacted my dear friend Debbie Gleadow and proposed something to her.

If I did whatever online or mail-in method I needed to do to get a piece of paper that says I’m a minister, would she be willing to take me under her wing and teach me what I need to know?

Without hesitation she said, “Yes!”

And for the last several months that’s just what she has done, graciously answering my (many!!) questions and allowing me to sit in on meetings and attend ceremonies she’s officiated.

And…I am so delighted to share that this Saturday, wearing this beautiful stole that my mom made for me…

…I will be officiating my first wedding!

.

 Thank you to all the amazing people in my world who helped to make this dream a reality. I am so very blessed. And so very grateful.

 

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