A Joyous Surprise
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Dana Worrell-Jumper

A Joyous Surprise

November 19, 2019

A Joyous Surprise

Dana Worrell-jumper, Pastor, Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ) of Flanagan and Long Point, Illinois.

Flanagan is situated on Route 116 between 1-39 and 1-55. Long Point is 10 miles north of Flanagan. Both are farming communities.

One of the great things about ministry in these communities is that I am privileged to participate in many of their activities. I am about to tell you of one such occasion.

In the Spring of 2016, the activities director of the Flanagan Rehabilitation and Health Care Center where I served as chaplain one day a month, was discussing with me upcoming activities for the residents. Many of the residents living there are living with mental or physical challenges. Their spouses live in their homes outside of the Center and are physically and mentally well. As we began discussing the events, the activities director asked me if it would be possible to conduct a “renewal of wedding vows” ceremony. I thought to myself it would be an impossible task, but as the Holy Spirit often does with me, I heard myself answer “Sure! Why not? ” So, arrangements began.

I went back to my office and pulled all my resources on weddings to see if I could find Something that would be appropriate for geriatric folks or renewal of wedding vows, but could not find anything really appropriate. So, I wrote my own.

Next, the activity staff began to secure the people who might be interested in the ceremony and received responses from the spouses and families. The date was set for Mid-May. A musician who plays for weddings and receptions was arranged, as well.

Thirdly, the kitchen staff baked a beautiful 3-tiered wedding cake and additional sheet cakes with wedding themes. The nursing home staff decorated the cafeteria/conference area with wedding themed decorations. Several of the extremely talented volunteers made corsages for the brides and boutonnieres for the grooms. Fresh flowers with “congratulations” cards were placed throughout the room.

I arrived at the Center with my white robe and abbreviated “wedding renewal vows” ceremony, not really sure what to expect. Boy! When I entered the Cafeteria/Conference area it took my breath away! Talk about a joyous surprise. I felt as though I was looking at a view of Heaven. It was absolutely fantastic.

All in all, 14 couples repeated their wedding vows again, complete with kisses all around, more tears than I can count, and several boxes of Kleenex disposed of quickly. Families gathered around the altar where pictures were taken and cards exchanged. Cake and Ice Cream were enjoyed by all. I left the Center that day knowing very well bis was an activity I would always remember.

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