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Married again!

Forty-two couples renew vows ‘to rekindle fire’

BY SUZETTE BONAS Observer writer bonass@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, June 30, 2014    

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FORTY-TWO couples donned their Sunday bests yesterday to renew their vows at the New Testament Church of God in Kingston.

The couples were part of an exercise that Reverend Alexander Simms called an effort "to rekindle the fire".

"We would love to see couples growing together, blending together and really standing up as examples," said Simms of the event that takes place every five years.

Dubbed "A Cana Wedding, Jamaican Style" by one of the moderators, the ceremony began with the entrance of the bridal party, complete with bridesmaids, groomsmen and a flower girl. To the sweet serenade of a saxophonist, the couples proceeded through a flower archway and silhouette veil of beads at the back, up the pink carpet and to their specially decorated pews in front of the altar.

Lead by Simms and his wife, Linisha, the couples of various ages were cheered on by the congregation. The ladies, with roses in hand, opted for sleek, formal dresses while the men looked sharp in two-piece suits. One woman, Jesreene Lee-Bowra was accompanied up the aisle by her husband, Wayne in her original wedding dress from many years ago.

Head of the Couples Ministry, Marlon Campbell, who along with his wife formed part of the multi-renewal, also celebrated a wedding anniversary yesterday.

During the welcome, Leighton Taylor commended the couples for "holding down the fort" at a time when people get married only for a season.

Feature speaker, Rev Hugh Dixon, told the couples to pay attention to the spiritual connotation in their vows.

"Human marriages," said Dixon, "are meant to be like God's marriage covenant to His people, in purpose and in permanence".

Dixon identified secularism, humanism, selfism and relativism as areas of attack on marriages. Criticising the sensationalised advertisements for divorce services by lawyers, he reminded them that in the Christian faith there is no such 'easy escape', only the enabling power of the Holy Spirit.

"What a sad commentary," he said, "of the cheapness of marriage today. Marriage is nothing to hold on to any more, according to relativism. But let me remind you of the words God says...Receive these social attacks on marriage and let us stand up for righteousness and the calls for righteousness."

But Dixon was determined to end on a positive note, leaving the congregation with four requirements for a good marriage: total, exclusive, continuing and growing commitment.

For the ladies and gentlemen of the hour, the ceremony was a chance to be good role models.

"I think that it is quite fitting that as Christians we celebrate unions," said Suzette Byrue who has been married to her husband, Michael for 14 years.

"It encourages people to celebrate and enjoy their marriages, and to let young persons know that they too can get married and that marriages can work."

In matching electric blue ensembles, Ronald and Paulette Williams agreed.

"We will be living a more powerful life in Christ and setting examples for the younger ones," said Ronald.

After the sermon, couples were invited to stand with foreheads and noses touching as they repeated the vows recited by the reverend, who prayed for their blessing.

In true wedding fashion, the festivities ended with the kissing of the 'brides' and the couples and congregation partaking in cake.

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