Thursday, September 11, 2008

Clergy Woes

FI and I are of different denominations of the same religion. When we got engaged, we immediately started thinking about who should marry us, and how to make everyone comfortable. FI has been going to the same small church in NY since he was 2, and his pastor has known him his entire life. We decided we'd rather have an officiant that knows one of us perform our ceremony, instead of just somebody we hire. I've visited FI's church in NY many times in our almost 8 year relationship, and his pastor is a nice guy. He attends all of the family functions. FI spoke to him, and he said he'll do the ceremony. He just wanted us to have 3 premarital sessions with him. No problem! . . . or so I thought.

We scheduled the first session with him on a weekend when we were both in the NY/NJ area visiting our families. I stayed in Queens all day, where FI's family and Pastor live, and about 15 minutes before our scheduled meeting time, Pastor called and said something came up and he couldn't meet with us that day. We'd have to schedule for the next time we come to town. FI and I driven up from MD, endured the costs of gas and tolls to NY, and waited around for him all day, but hey, things come up right? This was pretty inconvenient for us, since the main reason we went to NY that weekend was to meet with him.

Pastor sometimes serves as a guest pastor at a church close to us in Baltimore. (FI and I live 15 minutes away.) The next time he was coming to town, FI called him and we scheduled a time to meet with him that weekend. He ended up coming to town and leaving town without meeting with us. By this time, I was ready to dismiss him altogether and have a different person marry us. That was Attempt #2. The last time he was in town, we again tried to schedule our first premarital session with him. FI called him and arranged that Sunday evening he would pick Pastor up from his hotel, and bring him to our home. I was going to cook a nice dinner. We'd have our first premarital conversation, and FI and I would take him back to his hotel. Early that Sunday evening, I started cooking a great meal. Meanwhile, FI left to go pick up Pastor, so they would arrive just as dinner was hot on the table. FI called when he got to Pastor's hotel. Pastor was not there. FI called Pastor's cell phone, and got no answer. I told FI to come home. I'm not known for my patience. FI continued waiting outside the hotel for 45 minutes, calling and calling Pastor with no answer or call back. FI finally left the hotel and came home. Now, FI is one of the most patient, mellow people I know, but when he got home, even he was annoyed, and our yummy dinner was now cold. This was totally unacceptable and so RUDE! Right now, I don't even want this man to marry us.
  • He has missed 3 appointments with us already. He has not met with us once.
  • Since the last attempt to meet, he moved to Detroit, but still tells people he's doing our wedding. (?!)
  • This one may seem superficial, but he always mispronounces my name (when he remembers it at all)! He grew up in Trinidad, but has lived in the US for over 20 years. He has only a faint accent, but I'm great with accents. My own family is Jamaican. His mispronunciation of my name is not due to his accent; it's because he just chooses not remember it. FI grew up side by side with his own children, one of whom is our best man. They have been part of each others' family for 25 years. Throughout the 8 years FI and I have been together we've seen Pastor at all of FI's family functions, dinners, holidays, picnics, etc. Everyone else knows my name. It's a fairly common one. It's not like I'm asking him to spell it backwards every time he sees me. I just want him to know it. Is that too much to ask? I would really be very upset if he were to mispronounce my name at my wedding!
I am a businesswoman, and missing meetings is absolutely intolerable. I am not one to give multiple chances at things. It is a terrible and very disrespectful business and social practice to stand people up for any type of meeting. I really don't care to have this man marry us. He's about to be demoted. Due to the long-term family relationship, he can attend the wedding as a guest. Am I wrong for feeling this way? FI understands my views. Neither of us want anyone, FI's parents, or Pastor and his family to be upset if we choose not to have him marry us.


Blogger Skywalker said...

The family pastor will probably get upset BUT you have gone out of your way to accomodate him. I wouldn't worry to much about finding an officiant. There will be someone willing to help. I grew up Baptist and married a Catholic - I got married in a Traditional Catholic Mass (unbeknowst to me). The only condition my pastor had was to meet my husband and talk about having a strong Christian relationship.

Don't stress, don't worry. I say find another pastor - get going with your counseling because I found it soothing to think of other things rather than the favors and colors.

Thursday, September 11, 2008 3:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am definitely with you on this one. This pastor has been completely inconsiderate of your time and concerns. I wouldn't worry an ounce about what HE thinks. I'm sure if you explain it to FI's family, they will understand as well. There are plenty of kind, considerate, welcoming clergy people out there who would conduct a beautiful ceremony for you and can help you with the premarital counseling as well. I say, find one of them!

Thursday, September 11, 2008 6:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stick with him or you'll never hear the end of it from your mother in law.

Friday, September 12, 2008 2:02:00 PM  

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