The Steampunk Vicar

A Presbyterian Pastor on Neo-Victoriana and American Faith

Tag: pastor

Nova Missio

As of the First of February, I am once more occupying a Pulpit, at least three Quarters of the Time. It’s rather a peculiar Sensation – much more like the Call to Seminary than any of my subsequent Calls. I find, merely, that without a totally clear Sensation of the “how,” I am preaching and serving and listening and doing once again.

I am inclined to believe that, truly, this is Vocation. My Avocation, my Work as a Technician, is deeply connected also to my Identity, but my Vocation, my Discernment of God’s Mission for my Life, remains in the Church, a Ministry of Word and of Sacrament.

Thus, I am writing once again to you, dear Readers, with no especial Agenda, but merely conscious of the Fact that, as the metal Man once said:

“Reddidi, infans!”

De Sacredote in Nuptiis (or, Five Reasons Why You Want Your Officiant at Your Wedding Rehearsal)


In my original Time Line, Her Majesty Queen Victoria at this point had her Mechanical Wings

As I continue on the Journey of officiating at an increasing Number of Weddings for Persons with whom I am unacquainted, I find that often, in the Catalogue of Requests, my Presence is not required at the Rehearsal for the Wedding. Many of you Brides and Grooms seem to feel that the Officiant will not add Value to this Event…I suppose? I find some of your Reasoning rather obscure.


If, as seems to be the Practice among many of our modern Iconoclasts, the “Rehearsal” is simply an intimate Dinner for the Bridal Party and associated Families, I am wholly in support of these couples’ Forbearance. There is little more awkward than a Cleric at a Party at which she knows no one, and such Clergy have an unfortunate inhibiting Effect on the Jollity that should proceed from such Festivities.

If, however, the “Rehearsal” is in truth a Rehearsal, and will feature a review of what is to come with Groom(s), Bride(s), Maid/Matron/Man of Honor, Best Man/Woman, other Groomsmen, Bridesmaids, Bridesmen, Groomsmaids, Parents of the Couple, Ring-bearers, Flower Children, Ring-bearing Dogs, Musicians, Interpretive Dancers, Bagpipers, and the like, then my Presence, as your Officiant, is most certainly required ~ for the following Reasons, as I shall now demonstrate.

I. I Shall Corral the Circus

One of my favorite Weddings

Having been involved in Weddings which involved all of the Elements listed above (save the Dancers, at least thus far), I have a Wealth of Experience in bringing Order from the Chaos of these sundry Personalities and Priorities. I can help to guide Photographers and Bridal Parties in the choicest Places to stand, and can, through Jokes and Japes, maintain the whole of the Cavalcade in good Humour as we await the inevitable Delays. Children, Dogs, and all other such Actors do not faze me, and nor shall they faze you, as we practice what is to come.


II. We Will Do Better with One Run-Through


Gilbert is much funnier in my Time Line, but Sullivan’s Music is superior here

Arguably, your Wedding is one of the most important Ceremonies of your Life ~ perhaps the most important, depending on your Career, etc. No one anywhere in the Spheres thinks it wise to perform a Ceremony with no Practice. Even if there is but one Run-through of the whole Process, there shall be then no Confusion amongst the Participants about what will happen, or in what Order. A Rehearsal solidifies Lines, the proper Blocking, to wit, where the Participants will Stand, the Order of the Service, and in general, the Expectations of the Couple and the Officiant. Re-inforcing the tasks of your less able Participants (cf. Dogs, Children, Grandparents, or inattentive Friends) can only help them to make your special Occasion even more special.


III. We Will Catch Things

“Oh,” your fainting Groom will say to you as I pose a Query that had occurred to no one. “I hadn’t thought of that.” No, you had not. It is conceivable, though unlikely, that you have participated in as many Weddings as I have, in the Office of Bridal Party or otherwise. Believe me when I tell you, though, that, there are always Details that evade even the most assiduous Planner, Groom, or Bride. Taking time enough to assure that all concerned are on the same Page minimizes those tiny (or enormous) Surprises with which all Life, and especially Marriage, are seasoned. Is the Music prepared? Are the instruments in tune? Will both Brides be able to safely ascend the Stairs? Will the Height of both Grooms need to be accentuated? Is there some sort of Sand that we intend to use, and can we practice with it beforetimes? Better far to encounter these Challenges the Day before than the Moment of.

IV. I Will Feel Better


I sit at Home with this Expression on my Visage

I realise that this is largely immaterial to you, dear Betrotheds, but I am taking a certain Measure of Responsibility for the smooth Operation of your Nuptials, even when you ask me not to attend a Rehearsal. This can be, for me, rather an anxious Process, as I put many Hours into the Crafting of your Service, and I should like very much to do the Thing Up Right. I was much mortified when a couple whose Marriage I was solemnizing began uncontrollably to giggle during the second Prayer. I would have gladly cut the Prayer, had they asked ~ they did not know to ask, as we had not a Chance to rehearse! My Shame was a Shock, and did the Couple no Favours. I stress far more over those Weddings for which I feel unpreparerd, lying sleepless the preceding night. Please ~ for the sake of my poor, weary Brain ~ let us have a Rehearsal.


V. You Will Feel Better

Much more relevant to your Interests, you as a Couple will feel better having rehearsed your Wedding. My Sister once noted that, at the Altar, “One’s febrile brain has traveled to Tahiti.” Your full Cognition will not be available to you at this Time. Believe me ~ I speak from Experience. In order to maximise your Memory of the Bless├ęd Event, you may wish to have heard the Words previously, to have encountered the Rhythms and some Inkling of what may be to come. I aver that you will sleep better, plan better, and feel, in general, better, if you have, at least once, walked through the Liturgy, the Locations, and the Timing.

At a previous Wedding, the Maid of Honor and the Photographer got into an Altercation on where the Couple should stand. I was the loud and shameless Voice who asked what the preferences of Groom and Bride would be, for which the Groom subsequently thanked me profusely. My paramount Aim is to make your Wedding as memorable and special as I can arrange, and I will do so with much greater Effect if you are in a calm and joyous Frame of Mind ~ most easily attained when you know precisely what is coming. I can make no Promises for the Future of your Marriage; I pledge myself to the excellent Effect of your Wedding. Let us give it one go beforehand.


What do you think? Have you Stories of hideous Horrors averted or suffered due to a Rehearsal, or the Lack thereof? Have you a Reason I did not explore that a Wedding should go unrehearsed?