Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Married at Last!

Exchange of rings.

Wade Jones and I were married here in Atlanta by the Rev. Dr. Erin Swenson during a private ceremony last week on my 65th birthday, a few days shy of our 15th anniversary, a week before his 55th birthday, and one day after the 10th anniversary of my ordination in the Metropolitan Community Church.

Wade and I met between my 50th and his 40th birthday at a time I was seriously considering moving back to California. He is the reason I stayed in Atlanta.

It was a joyful occasion with family and a few friends surrounded by our parents’ official wedding pictures and photos of our beloved dogs, Calvin and Hobbes.

As Erin invited the fifteen guests to explain how they knew us, we were moved by their stories and absolute love. Then we proceeded with a brief and very traditional wedding ceremony, followed by dinner at a fine neighborhood restaurant.

But I gotta say this: marriage as an institution has never been my priority—Wade Jones is.

I felt much the same way about ordination. Ordination was not my priority, but ministry was and is—and though, like marriage, there are hundreds of benefits to either institution, ordination and marriage achieve their purposes only if they facilitate ministry and commitment.

For most of my life, I have served as a minister and a partner without the formal approval of either church or state.

And I have to admit, the long delay awaiting both ordination and marriage sobered me.

When young, either event might have been intoxicating, but waiting decades kept me mindful that those institutions (indeed, ALL institutions) are not all they are played up to be, that they don’t of themselves confer either spiritual authority or marital faithfulness.

And when my particular Christian tradition, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) finally “accepted” LGBT ordination and same-gender marriage, it did so without requiring such ordination and only changing its wording on marriage to say that it is between two people, “traditionally a man and a woman.” But that allowed a Presbyterian minister and longtime friend, Erin Swenson, to perform our ceremony.

Thank God for MCC, who has ordained and married LGBT people since its founding in 1968. The denomination’s moderator, the Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, preached at my ordination and Erin gave the charge in which she colloquially urged me “to dance with the one who brung you.” Ironically, I unintentionally angered a few Presbyterians for my “disloyalty” to the cause, losing work and missing opportunities, though MCC polity permits dual affiliation.

I know I may sound like the Grinch who stole marriage, but ordination and marriage are joyous and to be celebrated, not because of recognition by church or state, but because of their implicit and sacred spirit of love, service, mutuality, commitment, and community. I’ve always enjoyed that.

One of the tables of revellers, a selfie by Dee. 

Thanks to Marc Bearden and Dee de Padua for their photos.

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Copyright © 2015 by Chris R. Glaser. Permission granted for non-profit use with attribution of author and blogsite. Other rights reserved.  


  1. Chris, I wept when I found out that your birthday was also your wedding day. They were tears of joy. (I also cried when I read about the Presbyterian change in LGBT policy.) I remember the loyal, faithful, godly man of your youth and can't imagine that he would have changed over the years. I am overjoyed that you can share your life with the partner you choose. It has been too long for so many people who, before now, couldn't 'legitimatize' their relationship. (That's an employee benefits word which explains marriage.) Bob and I wish you many, many years of happiness for you and Wade.

    1. Thanks, Kelsey, so very much! My love to you and Bob!

  2. Congratulations.
    You closely parallel my husband and I. We met when I was 51 and he was 41 and married after 11 years together. Celebrated our 19th year together a few months ago.
    Blessings on all your future years together.

  3. Congrats to you and Wade! Thank you for your insights on marriage, and your candor about the institutions in our culture. Godspeed!

  4. This is a beautiful article about the main purpose for marriage, love. My only complaint is that I'd like a Pinterest button added so I can more easily save your articles. I'm going to want to share this one often!

    1. The Pinterest logo is among those listed at the bottom of the post on the blogsite. Just click on it. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Chris and Wade, congratulations on your marriage recognition. And how delightful that Rev Dr Erin Swenson partiipated! My heart is warmed for the love you share unconditionally. Wishing you much happiness.