I do, redo

First Posted: 2/17/2015

CLARKS SUMMIT — Red balloons covered most of the altar of the First Presbyterian Church of Clarks Summit for the Valentine’s Day wedding vows renewal ceremony. More than 15 couples gathered to renew their vows on Feb. 14.

“We looked at the calendar and we thought, ‘Why don’t we do something for Valentine’s Day that will be kind of fun? We can invite anybody from the community who wants to come,’” said Rev. Bill Carter, pastor, First Presbyterian Church of Clarks Summit.

And couples of all ages came to the church as events held in conjunction with Clarks Summit Festival of Ice were underway.

Carter said the ceremony was very touching.

“We were pleased with the outcome, that’s for sure,” he noted. “It affirms for me that we are known by the quality of the promises we make and these folks were coming and showing up and wanting this to be something for them as they move into the future.”

This is the second year the church welcomed members of the community to renew their vows, according to Carter.

“I think it invites them to review and revisit the promises they once made. That’s a good thing to do every so many years. It’s like going in for a tune-up.”

Carter has been with the church for 25 years and has been a pastor for 30 years. His observation, he said, “is that marriage isn’t for everybody and, apart from all the cultural and financial pressures on relationships, there are a variety of ways people make their way through life.

“For those who feel the calling to be married, and I believe it is a calling, it is an invitation to make very human promises and do what you can to keep them, and in the process of keeping them, grow,” he said. “Most of us had no clue what we were getting into when we got married. We thought we did, but it changes over time and can deepen over time, but it’s hard work, really hard work.”

John and Myrna Diven will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in June and were among those who participated. They met in college 54 years ago and had never renewed their vows prior to the Valentine’s Day ceremony.

“Actually, my wife asked me if we could do that (renew our vows). We’ve been to other friends’ renewal ceremonies and enjoyed it and thought it was a good thing – a good reminder,” Diven said. “It reminds us that, first of all, we will celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary in June. It reminded us that the first time you say ‘I do,’ you should mean it.”

While John Diven said the world has changed with technology and inventions that have come along in the last 50 years, he said, “Our feelings for each other have not changed in 50 years. The thing we enjoyed most about Rev. Carter’s ceremony was participating with friends and other people that we knew. It was a wonderful renewal and remembrance.”

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