Sealed with a kiss!

Sealed with a kiss!
Adam and Conley's Wedding at The Pavilion Photo by Katherine Miles Jones

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Wedding Minister Welcomes Reverend Kathy Jennings to Asheville!

For those of you who may not know the history of my wedding ministry, I thought I would share how it all got started. In 1996 to 1997 I attended New Thought Theological Seminary on the weekends. I was  a single parent and working full time. I earned a Masters of Divinity in Spiritual Psychology to support my therapy practice called PsychoMiracles which I did in addition to my full time work. At the end of my studies, I was given the opportunity for lifetime ordination and although I had no idea at the time that I would ever use that designation, it felt right. I did my first wedding in July of 1997 but still had no idea a wedding ministry would become my full time career later on in my life after retiring from my 9 to 5 job in 2006. You can find out more about my ministry by going to Raleigh North Carolina Wedding Minister webpages and this blog, of course!

Dave and I married in April of 1999 with a ceremony we  had written officiated by our good friend and colleague, Reverend Penelope Morningstar. Later that year, Penelope, who had moved from Raleigh to Charlotte in 1996, informed me that she was frequently being asked to officiate weddings and had discovered that there were many couples in North Carolina getting married who needed an officiant who did not require they be members of a church, or recognized by a church, or they were interfaith, or did not want a religious ceremony, or their minister was busy on their day or could not travel to their site, etc. In NC, the law requires that a wedding ceremony be "solemnized" by either a magistrate (an attorney/judge appointed by the County to solemnize marriages usually taking place in the county courthouse) or a person affiliated with a religious group such as a priest, minister, rabbi, chaplain or person otherwise authorized to perform weddings for that religious group. There are no Justices of the Peace in NC. After considering this information, Penelope and I decided to put up a website announcing our wedding services and see what happened. 

Our wedding website (www.aweddingminister.com) was launched in 1999, the first website in North Carolina for wedding ministers. We are grateful to my husband, Dave Davenport, who has been our webmaster all these years. At first we only had ministers in Charlotte (Penelope) and the Triangle area (me). We have eventually added 6 more ministers in other sections of the state. We are now a collective of 8 non-denominational ministers and it just so happens that we are all women, not intentionally, but that is just how it turned out. There is one exception--Rev. Beth Curtis' husband, Charlie, who is also ordained and takes Beth's overflow. We love what we do and we offer many years experience and expertise to our couples. Each of us has our own way of doing things and are not bound by any group requirements other than our territorial areas which are exclusive.
 
A few years after we started our wedding ministry, Penelope relocated to the Wilmington area. She loves doing weddings on the beach and the majority of her weddings are destination weddings. She is well known in the area for her lovely ceremonies and versatility.  She provides a custom ceremony and also has sound equipment that will enable the guests to hear the ceremony--a must at the beach where there is extraneous noise and wind. Her information can be found at Wilmington and North Carolina Beach Weddings link.
 
After a few years in Wilmington, Penelope's popularity grew such that she was too busy to traverse the distance from Wilmington to do weddings on the southernmost beaches of NC and the Myrtle Beach, SC area. So, her daughter, LeeAnn Politis, decided she would love to do what her mother was doing and became ordained and joined our website. She now handles the weddings south of Wilmington and in the Myrtle Beach area. LeeAnn is a wonderful officiant and can also help her couples with their wedding planning, especially those couples eloping to the beach or planning their wedding from afar. Here is a link to her Southern NC Beach Wedding Minister webpages.
Up the coast to the Crystal Coast Beaches around Beaufort, Atlantic Beach, Emerald Isle, and Morehead City, Reverend Beth Curtis joined the website early on. She is a Unity minister and was the presiding minister of Crystal Coast Unity Church in Morehead City until she retired a few years ago.
Eventually her husband, Charlie, who is also ordained, decided to help her out with weddings. When Beth is officiating, Charlie is usually on paparazzi duty. But there are days when they go their separate ways to do weddings that happen at the same time on different beaches. It is such a fun and rewarding job! Go here to see Morehead City and Crystal Coast North Carolina Wedding Minister pages.
For years I got tons of requests to officiate weddings in Fayetteville. There are a lot of weddings there as it is the home of Ft. Bragg. I did one there but decided it was just too far to travel. I could do two weddings in Raleigh in the space of time it took to do one in Fayetteville. I searched high and low for a suitable minister there and had one who then retired to take care of her elderly mother. Reverend Darlene Liedig contacted me about that time and joined our website. Darlene handles the Fayetteville, Lumberton, Sanford, Southern Pines and Pinehurst area (the Sandhills) for us. I was able to help Darlene set up her wedding ministry and provide her with wedding ceremony material. We are so happy to have her to provide wedding services to couples in the Sandhills! See her information at Fayetteville North Carolina Wedding Minister pages.
  
Reverend Jane Burnette is one of our original ministers. She lives in High Point and handles weddings in the Triad area for our collection of ministers. She is just delightful and so much fun to work with. She is very flexible and open to all faiths and beliefs--as we all are. We are so fortunate to have her as part of our wedding network. See Triad Area North Carolina Wedding Minister for more information.
 
After Penelope relocated to Wilmington, the Charlotte area was available. Reverend Julie Wilkinson, decided to join our collective of wedding ministers. Julie is the head minister at Unity Center for Spiritual Living in Charlotte. She is a compassionate, enthusiastic person and delightful for me to get to know. Before I retired from my full time job, I used to go on business trips to Charlotte and Julie and I would get together for lunch and  have fun just talking about things. I miss those lunches! Julie and her husband, Gene, just returned from Egypt---just in time! BTW, Julie also bakes awesome wedding cakes. She is also an avid rescuer of dogs and cats. See more about Julie at Charlotte North Carolina Wedding Minister pages.
This brings us to our newest member, Reverend Kathy Jennings, in Asheville. She is replacing Reverend Victoria Hutchins who was with us for many years. Kathy, her husband Mark, and her daughter, Ariana, recently relocated to Asheville from Minnesota where she officiated weddings for the past 8 years. So, she is no newcomer or novice when it comes to weddings. You can read more about her at Asheville North Carolina Wedding Minister website pages.
Dave and I met Kathy this past Thursday when she was in Chapel Hill doing some volunteer work. We rendezvoused at Starbucks and spent a couple of hours talking about weddings and specifically weddings in NC. The marriage laws are different in every state and a minister needs to know.
Kathy is vivacious, very personable and I feel like I have known her for years! She is very knowledgeable and insightful. She attended New Seminary in NYC just like Penelope but about 7 years apart. Writing her own wedding ceremony inspired her to become an interfaith minister and now she is living her bliss! I know she is going to love the Asheville area and be of real service to couples there. She will be taking the same training for premarital counseling that I did and can offer those services as well.

So that is the "rest of the story!" If your wedding is in any of our areas, please contact the corresponding minister via our collective website, www.aweddingminister.com. We would love to have ministers in the Roanoke Rapids area, the Elizabeth City area, Outer Banks, and the Statesville/Hickory area in case you know any non-denominational ministers who would be interested. All they need to do is contact me.

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