Today’s Photo Friday brings us back once again to a familiar theme here at the search for piety and obedience: weddings. Several previous posts have dealt with this topic, examining practices and rituals associated with Brethren in Christ weddings held in California and Kansas at or near the mid-century mark.
Today’s photo shows the wedding of Amos and Verna (Faus) Ginder, with their attendants, Dorcas Slagenweit (third from left) and David Climenhaga (fourth from left).
Here’s some information about the photograph, courtesy of David Climenhaga:
I think this was at Amos & Verna’s wedding. I think, the Summer of 1940!1 Verna & Dorcas are each holding white Bibles. No flowers! Too worldly! I was best man. [Dorcas] was bridesmaid. We were engaged but not married yet. . . .
Amos & Verna were married in the Manheim [Brethren in Christ] Church, the second church wedding [ever in the district]. Before that in the Rapho District bride & groom usually went to the bishop’s home. Amos was the bishop’s son, and Bishop J.T.Ginder didn’t want his son to have the first church wedding. Signs of increasing modernity!
C.N. Hostetter preached a long sermon first. Amos & I waiting in one ante room behind and Verna & your mother in the other ante room behind. Then to the singing of a male quartet from [Messiah College] we came out and stood in front of the bishop. No musical instruments!
This photo — and David’s comments contextualizing it — further deepens our understanding of the range of rituals and practices that shaped Brethren in Christ marriage ceremonies in the mid-century decades.
Most importantly, it confirms what others have previously suggested: geography determined (to a large degree) what counted as “worldly.” While bouquets and floral arrangements were permissible in more “progressive” pockets like California and Kansas, they were suspect (as Climenahga recollects) in places like Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. (Of course, this doesn’t even get in to topics like instrumental music — a major point of departure for churches in California and Pennsylvania!)
[Thanks to Donna Climenhaga Wenger for the photo, and to Beth Hostetler Mark for the tip!]
1. Morris N. Sherk suggests that the wedding occurred in 1941, though he does not cite his source for the information. See Sherk, In the World But Not of the World: Rapho District (1872-1957) (Grantham, Pa.: Brethren in Christ Historical Society, 2009), p. 223.