Tuesday, 24 June 2014

The background, the couple, my friends, the wedding ceremony, the Shaykh, the Priest,

The background
I have known the Keller/Bonsey family since 2000 when I became the Rector at St. James's, Cambridge, MA.

They (Elisabeth Keller and the Revd. Steven Bonsey with their four children Noah, Sam, Josiah and Annie) had come back to Cambridge from Hawaii where Steve had been the Rector of an Episcopal parish.

Steve had just been appointed as a Chaplain at Tufts University (no Sunday morning duties) so the entire family was able to enrich our common life at St. James's - which they did with great love and joy.

I count them as friends and have stayed in touch with them since my retirement.  Noah, the oldest son is eloquent in Arabic (he spent a year in Damascus when Syria was a safe place).  He has developed a super career as an analyst of social media in the near East. 
Noah worked in Tampa for a while a few years ago, so he and I were able to get together a few times for lunch or dinner. 
 the couple
Last year  both  Noah and Zehra were in Tampa (they met at work) so I met her for the first time, and  joined them for a lovely dinner in Ybor City.  What a joy and blessing it was to be at their wedding last weekend.
 my friends
As I had hoped there were other Cambridge friends at the wedding.  It was super to see Ian Douglas (who I've known since he was in High School) and his spouse Kristin Harris, with their children Luke, Tim and Johanna.
Ian is now "The Rt. Revd. Ian Douglas, Bishop of Connecticut".
Both Elisabeth Keller and Kristin Harris were midwives in Cambridge -  they met at work, discovered that each had a priest for a husband, and created a great friendship for the two families.
( One Sunday after liturgy in Cambridge I found a note on my desk. It was from Johanna Douglas [then 8?].  It read  "Mr Povey you have a loud voice, and I have a loud voice.  Could we sing a loud duet one Sunday?"  Of course we did!  [We sang "She's got the whole world in her hands"]  and we laughed a lot about that at the wedding.)
My good Cambridge friends the Reads were also there: Anne, her husband Nick, their daughter Jo Jo and Jo Jo's husband Samir. Nick and Anne's other daughter Sarah could not get time off from her medical residency in Miami.
the wedding ceremony
It was in the south Indian tradition (the bride's family hail from Hyderabad), in accordance with Virginia's marriage law, with a Muslim "officiant", and a Christian preacher.
the  Shaykh
The Shaykh (Elder) was from a west African background. He lives in Washington D.C.  The bride and groom did not know him; he had been selected/recruited by an uncle of the bride.  He gave us a nice talk on Mohammed's teaching about marriage, most of which would be found to be un-exceptional by most Christians.  In the Muslim tradition he (not the bride and groom) spoke the vows.  The couple themselves signed some papers which ratified the contract/covenant which the Shaykh had spoken.
the Priest
Noah's dad, the Revd. Steve Bonsey gave a homily (in which he gently reminded us that it is often difficult for parents when their children marry away from their own religion and culture, but that the love Zehra and Noah have for each other transcends parental fears).  He offered prayer and blessing in the name of the Holy Trinity.
there was great joy, much laughter, splendid Indian food -  all this creating a fabulous celebration for our dear Noah and dear Zehra.
Both families
Keller/Bonsey family-  Sam, Annie, Elisabeth, Steven, Noah, Josiah
My favourite picture of Noah
Josiah Bonsey, Sam Bonsey, Sarah Read, Noah Bonsey, JoJo Read, Annie Bonsey
Annie, Noah, Zehra, Sam, Josiah
Men Dance
Festive Brass Band - led the men of the wedding party in a festive dance before the ceremony (The men's dance is a south Indian custom)
Bride and Groom -  Picture out of focus, but that's O.K.
Groom and Bride's father
Bride, Groom and Groom's father
Bride, Groom and Groom's family
Bride and Groom with groom's parents.
Harris/Douglas clam Luke, Ian, Kristin, Johanna, Tim (and jmp)
Johanna and jmp (the Cambridge duettists)
Bride's brother (in grey sherwani) Groom, Shaikh
Proud and happy parents
Harris/Douglas clam with jmp (2)

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