I pronounce you Pastor and Pastor
What happens when two pastors decide to get married? And, what if one is a Lutheran pastor, and the other is Methodist? Where would the wedding ceremony be? Would you have a Lutheran or a Methodist pastor perform the ceremony? Or both?
Would they go to couples pre-marital counseling, even though that is what both of them do as part of their jobs?
And, what if one of the couple really, really likes Legos? How would that fit in with a religious ceremony? Finally, where would two pastors go on their honeymoon? You might be quite surprised to find out that answer.
What you have with the answers to all these questions is the very interesting wedding of Rev. Jeanette Bidne, pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in Blue Earth, and Rev. Daniel Foster, pastor at both Grace United Methodist in Vernon Center and Amboy United Methodist Church in Amboy.
“We met at Luther Seminary in St. Paul,” Pastor Jeanette says. “Although we didn’t start to date until my last year there. Dan had another year to go, and yes, he was going to Luther Seminary but was going to be a Methodist minister.”
Pastor Jeanette was called to Esther Lutheran Church of rural Parkers Prairie, in northern Minnesota after her graduation in 2011.
She is from Kiester and is a 2003 graduate of United South Central High School in Wells. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Religion with a focus in Youth and Ministry with a minor in music from Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, then her Masters of Divinity from Luther Seminary.
Pastor Dan is from North Mankato originally and graduated from Mankato West High School in 1995. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Religion with a minor in German from Hamline University in St. Paul in 1999. He earned his Masters of Divinity from Luther Seminary in 2012.
And, while he has been a lifelong Methodist, his first call was to Balsamland Lutheran Church in Aldrich, also in northern Minnesota.
After a bit of long distance romance, the two became engaged on Christmas Day in 2012.
“We were at my parent’s home in Kiester, celebrating Christmas and opening presents,” Pastor Jeanette recalls. “My last present was from Dan, and when I opened it there was a little Lego version of Dan holding an engagement ring. When I looked up at him he was holding an engagement ring and proposed.”
It was very special, she says, because it was her favorite day, Christmas, and her family was right there to see it all happen.
“Dan loves Legos,” Pastor Jeanette says. “He has a lot of them, and Legos became the theme of our engagement and the wedding.”
They chose a date for the wedding, Oct. 4, 2013, and the planning began.
While most couples spend a lot of time planning the wedding, mainly focusing on the reception, Jeanette and Dan spent most of their time on the ceremony itself.
Things such as where, when, what prayers, hymns, how to have communion, what communion wine to use, what other music to have, all were under a lot of discussion. Much more than the reception plans.
“We wanted to have it at Luther Seminary, where we met,” she says. “In the Chapel of the Cross on campus there.”
Then they asked two pastors, who were also professors at Luther, to jointly perform the service. Rev. Dr. Kathryn Schifferdecker is Lutheran and gave the sermon, and Rev. Dr. Alan Pagett is Methodist and performed the wedding itself.
They were not the only pastors, or soon to be pastors, at the ceremony. Even the wedding photographer was the spouse of a pastor.
“A pastor baked the bread we used for the communion, using a Luther Seminary recipe, and we also used the wine from a restaurant we loved in Minneapolis for the communion wine,” Pastor Jeanette says. “And members of the wedding party brought up the communion elements.”
While the ceremony was a very beautiful and meaningful affair, Legos did make an appearance. Dan wore Legos cufflinks, and the sermon also had a reference to the colorful blocks.
The save the date cards had a photo of a Lego version of Jeanette and Dan on them. At the reception, there were guest favors which were Legos. And a representation of the wedding party, made out of Legos, was the centerpiece.
While Pastor Jeanette says there was more planning for the ceremony than for the reception, that is not entirely true. Because there was more than one reception.
Three in fact.
“We had a relatively small reception at Luther following the wedding,” she explains. “But then we had another one at my family church in Kiester, and a week later another one at my church in Parkers Prairie.”
It was nice, she says, because she got to wear her wedding dress three times.
“I wore my dress to each reception and Dan wore his suit,” she says. “Then we had a blessing of the vows at each reception, so our friends who could not get to the wedding itself could get a good feel for how it was.”
One thing they did not reenact was the one glitch that happened during the ceremony.
During the exchange of vows and rings, the officiant dropped one of the rings.
“You could hear this big clink ring out, and then the ring rolling across the floor,” Pastor Jeanette says. “My maid of honor, my sister, had to catch it on the floor but she did. I have always heard it is good luck if something doesn’t go quite right at a wedding.”
Their rings are pretty special, too. Engraved inside each one is the Hebrew word ‘hi-nay’ which means “Behold” and “Here I am.” It has many meanings in Hebrew and both of them love the word.
There are still a couple of questions from the first part of this story not yet answered.
“Yes, we did do couples counseling, with a pastor,” Pastor Jeanette says. “It was good, we learned some things about each other. Marriage is a verb, where you will need to learn to live together.”
That can be hard for two pastors, who work in towns miles apart from each other.
“We hardly know each other’s schedules,” she adds. “I have duties and meetings in Blue Earth, he has them in Vernon Center and Amboy. But we do try and spend as much time together as we can.”
Like in the sermon message at their wedding she says, “You have to work hard at having a healthy marriage.”
“But you also need to have fun. We really like to have fun,” she adds. “Like having Legos at our wedding. Fun is important in any relationship.”
Which brings up the final question. Where did these two pastors go on their honeymoon?
The answer is Las Vegas, sometimes known as Sin City.
“I know, that sounds bad, but there is a reason,” Pastor Jeanette says. “Dan had a seminar to attend there right after our wedding, so we both went and just turned it into our honeymoon trip.”