Couple left short at altar

NO DREAM WEDDING: Dave McBeth and fiancee Christina Lowe outside Mr McBeth's family church in Te Kowhai.
NO DREAM WEDDING: Dave McBeth and fiancee Christina Lowe outside Mr McBeth's family church in Te Kowhai.

A Hamilton couple believe a "personal grudge" is preventing them from getting married in their family church, by their family pastor.

Dave McBeth and fiancee Christina Lowe want desperately to get married in St Mark's Community Church in Te Kowhai on November 27.

Mr McBeth's family have been part of the Te Kowhai community for 60 years. But they say a personal grievance is standing in the way of their dream wedding.

Earlier this year the couple met Pastor David Wells and discussed their wedding plans. However, that verbal agreement was revoked once the church found out they wanted former St Mark's pastor of 25 years the Rev Bob Short to perform the ceremony.

On June 16 they received a letter saying the church leadership had withdrawn use of the church on the day they wanted to get married.

In the letter Mr Wells wrote that he thought he'd be the one to perform the ceremony, but as that was not the case, for "pastoral reasons", they could not use the church.

Mr McBeth told the Waikato Times he later heard that the church, and more specifically Mr Wells, "did not like" Mr Short.

Mr Short married Mr McBeth's sister, christened her children and performed the funerals of both Mr McBeth's grandparents.

"He also spent many hours with my grandmother when her son died and she was too ill to attend his funeral. So as you can imagine to not have Reverend Bob [Short] marry us in our community church would not be right for us."

Mr McBeth said they did not want to upset anyone or cause trouble, but getting married anywhere else was not an option.

However, Mr Wells told the Times it was the church leadership, not him alone, who made the decision on who could get married in the church. He didn't know Mr Short personally and had never had a request from him to perform the ceremony.

If the couple wanted Mr Short to perform the ceremony they had best work directly with him, Mr Wells said.

Mr Short told the Times he'd prefer not to comment on the issue and get "caught in the middle".

Meanwhile, church moderator Susan Thompson said it was the parish's right to decide who could get married at St Mark's.

They had made that decision in respect to Mr McBeth and Ms Lowe.

She could not comment on whether the church had issues with Mr Short.

Waikato Times