To celebrate marriage equality in Illinois, the Tree of Life Unitarian Universalist Congregation in McHenry hosted a special church service and wedding ceremony for four McHenry County lesbian couples June 8.
The couplesJodi Kuperman and Megan Meyer, Theresa Castino and Mary Kuhn, Gale Harris and Deb Glaubke, and Mary Fleming and Barb Oesterleexchanged vows in front of about 175 family, friends and well-wishers.
The Rev. Sean Parker Dennison, Tree of Life Unitarian Universalist Congregation minister, served as the officiant for the ceremonies and each couple had a personal co-officiant who guided them through their unique exchange of vows. The co-officiants were ( in order of the couples listed above ) Lori Kane, Sam Jones, Sandra Lott and Robert Jackson.
Lott, who also served as the worship associate, provided words of welcome and noted that Tree of Life has fought for equal rights and marriage equality for the LGBT community for 10 years and are honored to celebrate this day with the couples getting married.
In his call to worship, Rev. Parker Dennison spoke about the power of love and the journey that all four couples have taken to get to this moment where they can be legally married and share their commitment to each other with the world.
An excerpt from Margery Williams' The Velveteen Rabbit served as the reading for the special service.
Dennison noted that the couples combined represent 83 years of love and commitment. "That anyone would doubt or demean the love that these couples feel for each other is unfathomable to me because when I look around this room love is all I see," he said. "These couples aren't frazzled teenagers in love, they are proof positive that love stands the test of time ... They have had the strength and courage to keep loving each other in a world where it was and still is difficult to share their love and show what commitment looks like. That is what we are celebrating today."
The couples exchanged their personal vows with their co-officiants concurrently and when they finished the crowd erupted in cheers and gave the couples a standing ovation to celebrate their newly married status.
Tree of Life choir members, flautist Diane Hansen, and guitarists Helen Lindquist and Ken Johnson provided musical arrangements throughout the special service and wedding ceremonies.
See www.treeoflifeuu.org for more information.