Sunday, July 02, 2006

St Bridezilla's Parish

Greetings from a breezy patio at the Jersey Shore.... The Whispers Couch-Crashing Tour continues.

Interesting piece from the WashPost on church weddings, or the lack thereof.
Decades of statistics point to a societal retreat from the church wedding. Catholic marriage ceremonies have been in decline for 35 years -- from 426,000 marriages nationwide in 1970 to 212,456 in 2005, according to church data -- even as the number of Catholics continues to grow. Many states, including Maryland and Virginia, have tracked a shift from religious to civil marriages. And a growing network of interfaith and nondenominational ministers offers couples the freedom to wed on their own terms.

In response, some clergy in mainline denominations are trying to accommodate a more expansive view of the marriage ritual: conducting weddings outside of church, catering to interfaith couples, even permitting subtle changes in centuries-old vows....

Previous generations of brides and grooms married in the neighborhood church they had always attended. But now, many congregations are shrinking, and families are more transient. Worshipers are gathering online and redefining their faith in more personal terms.

The Rev. James Green Somerville of First Baptist Church in the District said he has grown accustomed to taking "cold calls from people that I've never met," who wish to marry in his church even though they have never set foot inside it. "It seems to be much more about 'This is a beautiful place to get married' than 'This is my family's congregation; I grew up here,' " Somerville said. Somerville always asks callers why they have chosen his church. Often, he said, "their answers are that shallow: 'It's a beautiful place. I think it would look good in the pictures.'"