By Precious Ukeje
An end has come to marriage without pastoral blessings for twelve couples in Anambra State as a broadcast journalist, Adanma Onyiliofor Onwuteaka, of Kpakpando FM, organized a mass wedding for them.
Onwuteaka runs a radio programme, Wedding Sparkles, from where she began to nurse the idea of bringing couples who had lived together without church wedding to be wedded officially in a church, a development Ambassador Stanley Atueyi, while giving a sermon, said had been in the mind of the Church.
The broadcast journalist who had announced plans for the wedding on her programme and several social media platforms, gathered vendors of different materials for the wedding, including gowns, cakes, drinks, food and others.
She disclosed that the couples were eleven initially, but almost at the close of arrangements, the twelfth couple insisted they would be part of it.
The twelve couples were led by the priest of St Stephen’s Anglican Church, Awka, Rev. Thankgod Nwankwo, to exchange vows, restating their commitments to each other and their families; to remain faithful to each other, and forsake all others.
Amabassador Atueyi, in his reflection, noted that God had planned from the beginning that a man would leave his parents to cling to his wife, and that the event of the day marked a turnaround for the couples.
He described the wedding as a thing of great blessing for the couples, while appreciating people who attended in support of the couples.
While admonishing them to heed the word of God in the course of their marriage, he described marriage as a mystery, noting that God did not want marriage to be an unplanned venture; as he intended it to be such that was planned and which would have His abundant grace.
Amb. Atueyi explained that man, after creation, had none of the creatures that were of his like, a development that caused God to make man fall into deep sleep and got a rib from him, which He (God) used to make a woman.
‘When the moulded woman passed before Adam, he saw her and had joy. He declared that this is the bone of my bones and the flesh of my flesh,’ he said.
Continuing, Atueyi said the blessing of the marriages was to invoke oneness and sustain the love that existed between the couples and to make the ministry of Christians progress.
While urging them to sustain the love they shared, he explained further that love did not count wrong, but rather forgave; always hopeful and endured every circumstance. He noted that love which had waxed cold caused the rampant annulment of marriages and divorces experienced today.
While praying that the couples experience progress in their marriages, Atueyi warned against fighting among parents which could divide the children, making them take sides with a parent and making situations worse.
He noted that the family had also been the target of the devil, which, he observed, had permeated society and made it what it had become.
Meanwhile, in a vote of thanks on behalf of others by Uzochukwu Prosper Ugbeli, one of the men who were wedded, he appreciated God for making the day possible and also appreciated Onwuteaka and her family for organizing the event.
Ugbeli who is also an Anglican, said he did not worship at St Stephen’s Parish but that his four children were all baptized there.
Onwuteaka who tagged the event, ”Weddingvaganza”, later took to her Facebook page to appreciate everyone who contributed in making the day a reality.