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50-plus years later, 30 couples recommit to their marriage vows

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MOORE, Okla. (BP)–Believing that the example of longtime married couples should be a model to young people, Oklahoma pastor Alan Cox led 30 couples who have been married 50 or more years in a recommitment of their vows Aug. 16 during a morning worship service.
Cox, in a nine-week series of sermons on “Home Improvement” at First Baptist Church in Moore, preached from Psalms 127 and 128 on several results of a godly home as exemplified by the 30 couples.
One result, he said, is peace that gives rest.
“Anything attempted without the Lord is going to be in vain,” he declared. “A home built apart from God is not worth living. Those renewing their vows today have made mistakes, but (they) would not be here today with peace and the hope of eternal life if God was not involved in their homes.”
Following the sermon, the 30 couples were introduced and led to the front of the auditorium where they repeated the marriage vows.
At a luncheon after the worship service, photographs were taken of each couple by a three-tier wedding cake.
Marshall Howard, senior adult minister, said he wanted to have the vows-renewal ceremony on senior adult day in May, but scheduling conflicts prohibited it.
“This worked out great,” said Howard, “because the pastor wanted to end his series on Home Improvement with something dynamic, and this certainly was.”
Howard said 38 couples married more than 50 years answered his notice in the church newsletter, but eight of them could not be there on Sunday because of illness or previous travel plans.
He said Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating was invited to attend the service, but since he could not be there, he wrote letters to each couple and sent certificates of commendation which were handed out at the luncheon.
During a short program following the meal, two couples admitted they eloped and one man said his mother went with him on his honeymoon.
Harry and Betty Snider decided to elope when they discovered some friends planned to throw them in the lake after the wedding ceremony, and Harry could not swim.
Charleene Clift said her mother was going to make her go to Oklahoma Baptist University and “marry a preacher.”
“I was in love with Lory, so we eloped, and I’d do it all over again,” she said.
Jim Ingram said he was the only son among five daughters in his family, and when he got married, his mother didn’t want to lose her son.
“She started packing her suitcase, and when I asked her what she was doing, she said she was going on my honeymoon with me and Nina,” Ingram recounted.
“We lived in central Mississippi and were going to Birmingham, Ala., for our honeymoon,” he continued. “She couldn’t be talked out of going, so, since we didn’t have a car, we all rode the bus to Birmingham.
“We had a good time, but we would have had a better time if it had been just Nina and me.”