Why I was smiling so much in Church this morning.

Half way through church this morning, I tweeted this:

and a few people have been wondering why.

In the middle of last week, I’d read an article on our local newspaper’s website. There’s a couple locally who had been planning an engagement celebration at their church. They’re both Elvis fanatics (more than that, they’re both Elvis impersonators) and were planning to feature some Elvis music as part of the celebration. Okay so far? Well, here’s the thing: according to the article, their church, where they’d been going for over a year, had suddenly told them that they couldn’t go through with their plans, and that (to quote the article) ‘the event has been cancelled as Elvis’s music “isn’t in keeping with the message of God”. 

This is, of course, only a very brief summary of the article, but after reading it my immediate reaction was that I should show it to our minister saying “Have you seen this? Do you think we should offer to host something for them?”. Typically, however, I never got round to doing such a thing, and promptly forgot all about it.

But then this morning, what should our minister hold up but a copy of the local newspaper, which had run the story on its front page. You know what he’d done? He’d contacted the journalist, and asked him to forward an email to the couple – offering to do just that. Within an hour, they’d got in touch, met with him, and next Sunday they’ll be having a short time of our morning worship to celebrate their engagement. He then mentioned that they were there at the back of church this morning, and they got a great welcome.

And that’s why I had such a big smile on my face for the rest of the service. It just felt like we’d done the right thing. (Oh, and case it sounds like it’s just our minister I should be proud of, I gather he emailed all the elders to get there support before making the offer, and it seemed to me that the whole church this morning were very happy with what he’d done.)

Now, as an aside, I’m not in any way making any comment about what happened between the happy couple and the other church. The article, reading it again today, does seem pretty one-sided and sheds the church in a very bad light. In fact, I know one of the Elders there (having worked with him for many years) and have been to the church once to celebrate the dedication of the some friend’s children. I’m pretty certain that somewhere behind this article there must be a misunderstanding or misrepresentation; it is, after all, journalism and can’t possibly be expected to tell the whole story.

But regardless of what went before, what’s happened since is fab.

Interstingly, the local paper seem to have removed the article from their website, but here’s a link to Google’s cached version for anyone who really wants to read the whole thing:

Screen Shot 2014-08-17 at 23.08.53

UPDATE: it’s reached my attention that at least one person has suggested that the couple referred to in this post are simply seeking to make use of the church to publicise their business. I am assured, by someone in the know, and in whom I have complete trust, that nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, both the church and the couple have specifically told the local newspaper that they don’t want any publicity or follow-up to last week’s article. 

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