The staff ministers of Always Weddings share a common belief that people should be able to express their love and commitment to each other in front of their communities. They should be able to use the words and ceremony that fits their lives and relationships, in the location that suits them.
There is not a formal brick-and-mortar church for every sort of person or couple, and there are some small groups of believers in the world who do not have formally ordained clergy. Some of the lovers we serve are not comfortable in a “church” but want the formality of having a minister at their wedding, either for their own sense of the importance of the occasion or to appease the wishes of a loved one.
Rev Sam Guss was ordained in 1993, and Rev Chauma in 2002, at very different places in the world and for different reasons. We have both served as wedding ministers independently or as a part of a ministry for the better part of fifteen years, and as lay leadership in our home churches for more than 26 years.
When we met, we discovered a mutual investment in the dignity and love of people for one another, and a similar passion for justice and cooperation. It is not important to us that there are ministers in the world who do not serve non-parishioners. It is not important to us that there are ministers in the world who do not serve interfaith couples. It is not important to us that there are ministers in the world who do not serve same-sex couples. In the United States, all of those things are their right, Constitutionally, and we support that even as we disagree with them. What is important to us is that we DO serve these people, with compassion and humor and dignity and love.
Rev Karen Smith is our newest Associate minister, and brings with her a love for tradition and ceremony. She has assisted in coordinating ceremonies for Rev Sam and Rev Chauma (in terms of directing people where they need to go and when) been a teacher for both adult religious education and piano music for people of all ages, and performed in-character lectures on the livelihood of historical figures in Florida spanning the Conquistadors through World War II. She is our needle-worker, and has created beautiful stoles for our ministers for some weddings where custom work was desired.