Mike and Mitch came to the church in August 2016 after meeting the Rev. Debbie Rhinesmith and asking her to marry them. The couple — Mike, retired from General Motors, and Mitch, a retired attorney — had been together for two decades, but thought it important to be legally married. Since then, they have both been active in church life, taking part in our Bible study and volunteering with Family Promise and other missions of the church.
Mitch: “We first considered a civil ceremony. But I saw the church’s website, and that it was open and affirming. That led me to call Debbie and we set up an appointment. We went down there expecting to spend 15 minutes but we spent at least an hour. We made it clear neither one of us was religious, but she reacted well to our disbelief. Instead of trying to convert us or condemn us she made it clear that that’s not the critical point. There was a time when I would have said I don’t believe in God, but I don’t say that any more.”
Mike: “I didn’t know what to expect when first meeting her, but Pastor Debbie made it clear she didn’t want to marry a couple who might split up a year later; we were pleased when, upon reflection, she agreed to marry us. On the day of the ceremony I provided a celebratory lunch and we attended services, after which our ceremony took place. We didn’t know anyone and were expecting maybe a witness or two to remain, but it seemed like the entire church stayed to see it. Afterwards we were congratulated by everyone attending. We returned the next few weeks to show our appreciation, but Debbie’s sermons are so enlightening that we became regular attendees. Her sermons on the Bible have been a revelation to us both. The church also allows us to ‘give back.’ Mitch and I have both been very lucky in our careers; We’ve had good jobs and good incomes. The church has given us an opportunity to help others by volunteering.”