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Celebrating Forty-Five Years of Marriage: Wedding Day

Polly and Bruce Gerencser, Wedding July 1978

It was a ninety-five-degrees in Newark, Ohio on our wedding day. The Newark Baptist Temple was not air-conditioned, but neither Polly nor I paid much attention to the heat. It was our wedding day. Almost two years had passed since we first met as dorm students at Midwestern Baptist College. With hormones raging from Midwestern’s Puritanical rules that forbade physical contact between dating couples, we were more than ready to say “I do.”

Polly’s uncle, Jim Dennis, and her father, Cecil “Lee” Shope performed the ceremony. One hundred fifty people attended our wedding. Parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends from both sides were in attendance, as were members of the Baptist Temple.

Our ushers, Mike and Greg, made sure everyone was properly seated. At the appointed time, my groomsmen, Mike, Bill, Bill, and Wendell, and I walked out the door at the left front of the church and made our way to the front. Remember, the groomsman I told you about in my previous post that had to have his pants altered? He made it two steps out the door before the seat of his pants ripped out. Fortunately, Mike was able to keep his legs together, avoiding showing those in attendance his underwear.

Polly’s uncle, Art, volunteered to take photos of our wedding. He had purchased brand-new lighting equipment to do so. Unfortunately, as Polly and her bridesmaids, Liz, Kathy, Celicia, and Bev made their way down the center aisle, the equipment failed. As a result, we have no live photos of our wedding. One thing was for certain, the most beautiful girl in the world was walking down the aisle, and soon she would be my wife.

Our soloist, Mark, sang three songs: one written by the vice president of Midwestern, The Wedding Song by Noel Paul Stookey, and We’ve Only Just Begun by the Carpenters. Our song choices caused quite a scandal due to their secular nature. Polly’s uncle was livid over our songs, and going forward all couples married at the Baptist Temple had to have their music approved beforehand.

Video Link

Video Link

The simple ceremony went off without a hitch. Rings exchanged, vows made, and a kiss for luck, we were on our way.

Afterward, we returned to Polly’s parent’s home for a meal. My parents met hers for the first time. We didn’t stay long. Consummation awaited. We drove to Springfield, Ohio to spend our first night as a married couple, and then to French Lick, Indiana to spend a few days. And then it was back to Midwestern to prepare for our junior year of college. Seven months later, I was laid off from work, Polly was six months pregnant, and we dropped out of college due to financial reasons. We packed up our belongings and moved to the place my birth, Bryan, Ohio. Truly, we had only just begun.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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  1. Avatar

    Congratulations Bruce and Polly. This is a great achievement!

    I love the stories you shared! Love stories like this are wonderful, especially when they last a lifetime.

    Somehow I am not surprised it start off with a minor rebellion by selecting those evil lurid secular love songs.


  2. Avatar

    Congratulations on your anniversary! 45 years is a LONG time to be together! Lots of stories, lots of ups and downs, lots of the mundane.

    That’s funny that you guys caused a song-approval policy at the church!

  3. Avatar

    Congrats on 45.
    Wow can’t believe the mellow Carpenters were too worldly for your ceremony. Reminds me of that time my brother wrote “Sex Pistols” on a church classroom chalkboard. he he, still think that one is funny.

  4. Avatar
    MJ Lisbeth

    Congratulations to you and Polly!

    Both of you have been through so much. Your marriage proved stronger than your faith. There’s a lesson in that.

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