How many of you have been married by an online licensed minister? I know of a couple who got married by a justice of the peace and then had a friend of theirs to officiate a fake wedding–but the guest thought he was real clergy (the friend thought everyone knew he was only the MC). I sometimes get asked whether I mind that people don’t come to church to get married anymore. Or if I minded the online certificates of ministry.
In light of this fact I recently got asked to do a member’s funeral. The family is not a church going one, and my guess is that the lady (who died of Alzheimer’s) connection to the church was a loose one, but I have a philosophy about funerals. Always say yes or refer to another minister. I’m sure there is a rare exception to this rule, but funerals are one of the few times that pastoral care is most requested/wanted/sought after.
So after giving up my day off, meeting with the family, writing a complete service, standing with the family for half of the visiting hrs, conducting a funeral, burial and being present for the refreshments– I collected my $125 (which amounted to at most $6 an hr for all the work I did) and knew that I had done good work. By the end of the three day marathon I felt I really knew the lady and her family pretty well, and they had a better understanding of me, what church can be, and most importantly God.
So back to the question, do I envy that people can get weddings online, not really. It makes me sad sometimes, because when I do a wedding, I really work at it, I meet with the couple multiple times, I try to give them resources and helps not only for now but for the future, I pray for that couple and try to make the service a testament to both their and God’s love, and no internet license can do that….
ps I have yet to see a cartoon about a wedding or funeral where the pastor is female….