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28/10/2014

Methodist pastor who officiated at gay son’s wedding to keep ordination

A Methodist pastor who was disciplined after he officiated at the wedding of his gay son will be allowed to remain an ordained minister.

The Judicial Council of the nation’s second-largest Protestant denomination ruled Monday that aPennsylvania church jury was wrong to defrock Frank Schaefer last year after he would not promise never to perform another same-sex wedding.

The council ruled on technical grounds and did not express support for gay marriage in general. Its decision is final.

Reached by phone after the decision, Schaefer called it “amazing.”

He said he was pleased, “not just for myself, but for everyone in the LGBTQ community and the church. This is a positive decision that keeps the dialogue going. They didn’t bar a person who is an outspoken activist and who has said that, if asked, he would perform another gay marriage.”

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Although the United Methodist Church has welcomed gay and lesbian members, the church’s Book of Discipline rejects sex outside of heterosexual marriage as “incompatible with Christian teaching.”

Since his church trial, Schaefer has become a gay rights activist, galvanizing other Methodists who support full inclusion of gays and lesbians in the church.

Following his Wednesday hearing before the Judicial Council, Schaefer said he had no regrets for his actions.

When his son first came out to him as gay, Schaefer said he learned that church doctrine had made his son believe he could not go to heaven.

“He did not want to live any more. He was in so much pain,” Schaefer said. So when his son asked Schaefer to officiate at his wedding, the minister accepted. “I did what I did based on my heart and my conscience.”

However, Schaefer hid his son’s 2007 wedding from his conservative Pennsylvania congregation. The small, private ceremony was held in a restaurant in Massachusetts, where gay marriage had been legal for three years. Schaefer’s actions did not become public until 2013, after a member of his congregation learned of the wedding and filed a complaint.

The United Methodist Church, with more than 12 million members worldwide, has been debating its policy on same-sex relationships for four decades, but recently frustration with the current policy has fueled a movement to openly defy church law.

Meanwhile, supporters of the church’s stance on same-sex relationships have been pressing church leaders to punish ministers who violate church law. And some conservative pastors have called for a breakup of the denomination, saying the split over gay marriage is irreconcilable.

In its Monday decision, the Judicial Council noted that some might view the decision as a “flagrant disregard” for church discipline, while others will support it. “We are mindful of the divisions within our church,” the decision reads.

The council essentially found that Schaefer was subjected to two distinct punishments. First, he was given a 30-day suspension. Then, he was defrocked after he would not promise to uphold the church’s Book of Discipline “in its entirety.” That second punishment was wrongfully imposed for a possible future violation.

The Rev. Christopher Fisher, who argued before the Judicial Council that the church jury was within its rights to defrock Schaefer, said he was disappointed in the decision.

“I understand the legal technicality they have hinged it on,” he said. But he also said that it was not clear to the church jury that the penalty they imposed was not allowed.

Schaefer, who was transferred to a California ministry in July, hopes the church will change its stance at its next General Conference in 2016. In the meantime, he has been traveling the country giving talks and sermons on gay acceptance. And last month, he released a book about his experience – “Defrocked: How a Father’s Act of Love Shook the United Methodist Church.”

 

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05:49 Publié dans wedding | Tags : wedding | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)

27/10/2014

Couple invites former lovers to their wedding

A COUPLE in Hubei, China, set aside two tables during their wedding banquet for their former lovers, reported Sin Chew Daily.

Those attending the banquet had snapped pictures of a note put up at these tables telling guests that these had been reserved for the couple’s exes and uploaded these online.

It was learnt that although a few people were later spotted sitting at these two tables, nobody knew for sure the extent of their relationshipwith the couple.

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> The daily also reported that six of the state Chinese Schools Committees Associations (Dong Lian Hui) had asked the United Chinese School Committees’ Association of Malaysia (Dong Zong) to call for an emergency general meeting to remove its deputy chairman Chow Siew Hon.

Sources told the daily that the letter – which was signed by the representatives from Johor, Malacca, Perak, Penang, Kedah and Perlis – had been given to Dong Zong chairman Yap Sin Tian on Saturday.

The Dong Zong chairman must call for an EGM within 30 days if more than five state Dong Lian Hui submit a request for it.

It was previously reported that Dong Zong was divided into two factions and that there were calls for Chow to be removed.

When contacted, Chow declined comment.

> China Press reported that multi-talented Taiwanese show business personality Jay Chou had denied sending out invitation cards for his wedding.

The 35-year-old artiste added that he had yet to propose to his girlfriend, Taiwanese model girlfriend Hannah Quinlivan.

However, there was talk that Chou was already in the midst of planning for his wedding, which was said to be in January.

 

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23/10/2014

Death of the Bridal Shower: Why the Girly Wedding Ritual's Over

As the $52 billion-dollar wedding industry continues to explode, one aspect of holy matrimony seems to be on the decline: the bridal shower.

Long before Etsy, Kleinfeld, and tiered cupcake towers played a part in the so-called wedding industrial complex, showers existed primarily to help a bride-to-be put together a "trousseau," which was historically made up of traditional dowry items like lingerie, linens, and items for the home. (You probably remember dowries from Pride and Prejudice. Mrs. Bennett was a classic marriage-obsessed mother.)

But when families stopped marrying off their daughters based on their perceived economic value, trousseaus evolved, and so did bridal showers. Commonly thrown by the mother-of-the-bride's friends, the future mother-in-law, or a group of bridesmaids (or, occasionally, all of the above), today's showers are less about gifts and more about getting together to celebrate the occasion. Presents are still a significant part of it, but so are Pinterest-approved decorations and hors d'oeuvres.

Because the tradition dates back so far, and because weddings are nothing if not based on tradition, deciding you don't want a shower—something that's becoming more and more common—can be a bold move. Wedding planning requires making lots of controversial (okay, "controversial") decisions, whether it's choosing a destination location over your hometown, having a DJ instead of a band, or forgoing a church in favor of the court house. But since skipping out on having a shower requires telling someone, in so many words, "I will not allow you to throw this party for me," and that someone is often a future mother-in-law or great aunt or your best friend's mom, it can be a particularly contentious choice to make.

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When Meredith Thalheimer tied the knot last summer, her mother, who has thrown plenty of showers for her friends' daughters, assumed her own daughter would want one too. Thalheimer, co-founder of the now-closed boutique Dagny & Barstow, did not.

"My mom was absolutely devastated I wouldn't have one. She waited her whole life for me to get married," she says. At first, Thalheimer relented, but then she realized just how badly she didn't want one. Part of it was that the self-described introvert couldn't imagine dealing with the kind of attention that comes along with such an event. Mostly, though, she didn't want to put yet another financial burden on her friends. (And, as someone who's going to 14 weddings in the next 12 months, she knows something about that kind of stress.)

There was also the fact that she didn't need any of the traditional gifts that are associated with a shower. It's common to cohabitate before marriage these days (there's been a near-900 percent rise over the last 50 years), meaning oftentimes a couple already has all the dishes, silverware, and panini presses they could ever need by the time the ceremony rolls around.

Writer Lauren Sherman chose not to have a shower for her wedding three years ago. As she explains, "I got married when I was 28, and we didn't want a bunch of presents. We did register, but we registered for really silly shit, like matching Barbour jackets." The idea of having a shower never really crossed her mind, and she couldn't imagine expecting her friends to buy her gifts. "Once you're self-sufficient, it feels weird to ask for stuff, and that's the only reason to have those events," she says.

Thalheimer, who lives in New York City, also mentioned lack of space as a concern—when you're living in an apartment in Manhattan, you don't have room to store an extra KitchenAid stand mixer and a couple of crockpots. Despite all the practical reasons to resist a shower, Thalheimer's mother was still heartbroken she couldn't change her daughter's mind: "I hope she'll get over it one day."

Not all parents are quite so invested. Though Of a Kind's Claire Mazur didn't have a shower, "I don't think it would even have occurred to my mother," she contends. Rather, Mazur opted out because she wanted to spare those close to her an additional nuptial-related obligation. "The biggest thing was that you end up asking your friends and family to do so much on behalf of your wedding," she says. "I already felt really celebrated at the bachelorette party, and I didn't feel like I needed another event."

Sherman also didn't feel pressured by her family to have a shower, largely because she and her husband foot the bill for their wedding. "We didn't owe them anything," she says. "I think a lot of times showers happen because the mother wants it and the daughter feels beholden." When the family of the bride pays for the reception, it can be tough to go against their wishes—though that's happening less and less. According to a recent Brides study, 43 percent of couples cover the full cost of their weddings, while 23 percent split it with parents. "I think that's the secret. Take as little money from your parents as you can, because then you don't have to do what they want," Sherman says.

This is not to say showers are becoming as obsolete as the dollar dance.Brides web editor Jen Cress explains, "While some brides forgo the traditional shower, more often we are seeing it replaced with a celebration that more closely reflects the bride's style and personality."

Molly Guy, founder of cool-girl go-to Stone Fox Bride, has seen the same tactic among her clients. "They no longer want to put themselves through the Julia Roberts rom-com ideal of a shower," she says. Sometimes that even means having separate celebrations for friends and family. "A lot brides throw something fun for their bridal party, like a spa day, but still have the traditional party to appease their mom and older family members," Cress adds.

It's worth noting that bachelorette parties didn't become popular until the mid-'80s, and in some ways, they've rendered showers useless. Bachelorette parties are less stuffy and more fun (depending on the amount of phallic-shaped novelty decorations, of course), and the bride still gets fancy lingerie. Guy has noticed that the bachelorette party and bridal shower are often even folded into one event, which makes sense given that the two have become somewhat indistinguishable in many circles.

Coed showers are also becoming increasingly common. ("Have you heard of a Jack and Jill shower?" Guy asked me. I had not.) Rather than having an additional girls-only get-together on top of a bachelorette party, brides and grooms are throwing couples' wedding showers: "We're still not seeing it all the time, but it's becoming more popular—especially since some brides and grooms are having coed bridal parties with a 'man of honor' or a 'best girl.'"

Though Guy says she'd rather "eat broken glass" than attend a buttoned-up bridal shower hosted by a mother's friend, she also understands the appeal. "If you can stomach it, it's a really lovely event," she concedes. "To shower the bride with things she might need for her long life ahead, god willing, with her partner is very nice. If you throw a shower right, you're getting together with your friends to eat food and drink cocktails. What's not to like?"

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