As a bishop I do not get the opportunity to preside at many weddings. But it is becoming a tradition in St John the Evangelist Church in Casablanca to include a wedding ceremony in the menu of activities during a pastoral visit! And it is quite a privilege for me.
It was international affair, the Church of England at her multicultural best. The groom, Thomas, is from Liberia. The bride, Lydie, from Côte d’Ivoire. The parish priest is Egyptian. (I am Scots-Burmese). The Church is one of three Church of England congregations in Morocco. Oh, and the service itself was in French.
We all know it is customary for the bride to be late. In Africa this can mean really late. In this case it was an hour and 15 minutes for me to keep the groom cool and patient in the vestry! Time also escaped from the bridesmaids's planning; these beautiful women arrived just in time for the end of the service. But it was a full church and a celebration filled with much music, movement and joy. The reception was much fun too.
The next day the newly-weds came to Church (Thomas is one of the regular musicians) to receive their certificate of Holy Matrimony.