The greatest part of this outreach has been the impact it has made on the lives of the couples. One couple told me they had been living together for five years and not going to church because they knew they were away from God. They were so relieved they finally had the chance to make things right."
(Akron, Ohio)—Not long ago, Celebration Church in Akron, Ohio, held its first "Free Church Wedding Weekend." As reported in AG News, seven couples were married in three days at the Assemblies of God church, which provides providing free matrimony rites in response to the many unmarried couples with children living in the surrounding neighborhood.
"We were concerned for these people and worried that not only had they never heard the gospel, but they were unlikely to ever walk into a church," said Pastor Jeff Wade. "We had prayed for them for years but were not sure what we could ever do to reach them."
Free WeddingsAccording to the report, when the Akron Beacon Journal ran a story on people who were putting off their weddings because they could not afford to get married, church leadership decided to respond with the offer of free weddings.
Notes the report: "The church facilities, pastoral services, wedding decorations, photography and music are included in the offer. The only requirement for the free weddings is attendance at two mentoring sessions—the first, a group session with refreshments and a discussion about the God-ordained purpose of marriage; the second, a personal session dealing with potential marriage problems."
Local businesses have also reportedly helped offset a variety of wedding expenses with donations of wedding gowns, makeup, flowers, wedding bands, wedding cakes, a limo ride and a free night's stay at a local hotel.
Thanks to AG News for this positive story!
Teresa Neumann (June 2010)
Source: Staff - AG News