Magazine article Anglican Journal

On Bending the Rules

Magazine article Anglican Journal

On Bending the Rules

Article excerpt

It was Monday evening just after supper when the rectory phone rang. Rather cautiously a woman's voice said, "Can you marry us ... on Friday?"

I explained that the church required at least 30 days' notice before a wedding. There was a pause. Then she said, "Oh! That will put us in the maternity ward." Seeing the conflict between strict adherence to rules and actual pastoral needs, I replied, "You and your boyfriend come on over to the rectory and we will talk."

They came. We talked. There was no reason, apart from the required notice, why they should not be married so I agreed to "bend the rules."

The marriage took place that Friday. The bride held her flowers rather lower than usual for the photos. Otherwise, it was a normal and joyful occasion.

As the Canons require, I reported the waiving of the 30 days' notice rule to the bishop. He wrote back saying, "I would have done the same thing."

But that was not the end of the story. Twenty-six days later, the bride was indeed in the maternity ward, where she delivered a beautiful, healthy baby. A few weeks after that, again in the early evening, the rectory phone rang. …

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