Church celebrates 50-year marriages

FAIRMONT – “Young love is magic. It’s bold, electric … Full of fire and passion. But older love has magic too.” – Warren Hanson.

The story of “Older Love” was read to 33 couples celebrating 50 years of marriage at Grace Lutheran Church in Fairmont on Wednesday evening.

“In this day and age, it’s just a beautiful thing to see this,” said Marilyn Nielsen, who brought the idea from another church she attended. “It’s an exciting time for them, and a time to recognize this commitment they’ve made for family.”

Anniversaries ranged from one couple that will reach the 50th anniversary mark later this summer, to another that will celebrate 70 years of marriage next year. The event was free to the couples in the Grace Lutheran Church congregation.

“We were a small committee, the Worship team,” Nielsen said. “But they did a fabulous job. The decorations were beautiful … I had spoken about this before, and they finally said, ‘Well, why don’t you do it.’ But I knew I couldn’t do it all myself. So I delegated.”

A string quartet, along with music from the late 1940s through the early 1960s, was provided for the event. Then there was the heart tree. At the beginning of the event, only one blank white heart hung upon it.

“This meal isn’t completely free,” said Pastor Steve Berkeland. “To leave, you each have one of these hearts at your table. You need to write a word or words of advice for success in marriage.”

Berkeland later clarified that those words of advice could be anonymous.

Laughter proved to be a noticeable point in the evening’s theme.

“God promised man that there would be good, obedient wives in all four corners of the world,” Berkeland said at one point. “Then He made the world round.”

While this was a first-time event for Grace Lutheran Church, it was unknown if it would become a regular one.

“I would have been married 63 years,” Nielsen said. “We don’t know how long anyone will be around, so we wanted to recognize everyone while we still can.”