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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, November 30, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 48
A really BIG wedding: Seattle's Center for Spiritual Living hosts a massive marriage ceremony Dec. 15
Arts & Entertainment
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A really BIG wedding: Seattle's Center for Spiritual Living hosts a massive marriage ceremony Dec. 15

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

The Center for Spiritual Living, in Seattle's Sand Point neighborhood, is hosting a 'Big Gay Wedding' on Saturday, December 15. Couples who wish to participate are asked to RSVP to wedding@SpiritualLiving.org by December 3.

'We have 30 couples registered currently,' the Rev. Michael Ingersoll told SGN. 'I'm optimistic we'll have a large number, based on my experience in New York. I was serving there in my ministry in 2004 [when same-sex marriage became legal] and we married 1,200 people in Central Park.'

The Center can accommodate a very large wedding, Ingersoll says. Its sanctuary seats 500 people, and the adjoining Celebration Hall can hold 1,200.

'WE'RE NOT RELIGIOUS'
Getting married at the Center for Spiritual Living may appeal to couples who aren't particularly into worship but would like a church setting for their ceremony.

'We are a 'New Thought' church,' Ingersoll explained. 'We're not religious. We're an eclectic mix of people on their spiritual journeys. We believe all spiritual paths are valid.

'Many people find things in the [religious] tradition they were raised in that are not right for them,' he continued. 'But people still enjoy ritual. People like to sing sacred songs. People like to light candles.'

Couples who wish to be married on December 15 need to bring their valid state marriage licenses, which can be obtained from a county clerk. The church will provide everything else, Ingersoll says.

PERSONAL TOUCH
'As all clergy do, there are certain things we're responsible for - marriage certificates, for example,' Ingersoll explains, 'but we've also made arrangements with florists, salons, photographers.

'When people arrive there will be photos, we've also arranged for musicians, and then people will be ushered into the center's Celebration Hall.

'The service itself will be very universal - and there will be time for individualized moments particular to each couple so they may exchange their own vows.'

Four of the center's eight clergy will officiate at the wedding. Ingersoll says he hopes that by arranging all the details, his church can help couples focus on the spiritual meaning of their marriage.

'Often the incidentals really overwhelm the event itself,' he told SGN. 'We want to focus on the sacred moment - the historic moment. We want to say that nothing is wrong and everything is right about these couples. Love is love.'

HIGH LGBT MEMBERSHIP
Ingersoll says that some 40% of the center's members are LGBT, but 'there is a deep commitment to equality among all our members. Many are active in the GSBA, the Pride Foundation - myself and others helped found Bailey Boushay House.

'We were deeply involved in R-74. I'm proud of my church.'

Asked if he planned to marry his own partner of 15 years at the December 15 ceremony, Ingersoll laughed.

'I'm going to be a little busy that day,' he said. 'Maybe the day after.'

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