Sunday was a beautiful day, both weather-wise and activity-wise. I was feeling a little tired after three consecutive full days in the visitor center, with another half-day set for Sunday. My energy picked up when I realized that there was going to be a wedding in the church.
It was a very small wedding – bride, groom, flower girl daughter, officiant, parents, and a couple of friends. Knowing that a tour through the park and church was scheduled for 11:00 a.m., the wedding was scheduled for 10:45. Unfortunately, some of the guests were late, so there was concern for a conflict between the wedding and the tour.
With the help of the ranger on duty, and the flexibility of the tour guide, things went very smoothly to allow both groups to enjoy their activities without interference. Eventually, the wedding ceremony was completed, and the tour was able to go inside the church to learn about its history.
I asked the bride how she and her groom had decided to have their wedding in this historic church. She said that the groom worked for a company that contracted with the park to rehabilitate the administrative buildings next to the visitor center. When he saw the site he told her he’d like to get married in the church.
While the church building is over 200 years old, and has some major issues regarding upkeep, it is still an awesome structure. The Park Service is mandated to only preserve the structures and history of the mission, with no restoration. So Mother Nature is taking back the earth from which the bricks of the church were made, slowly but surely. Over years of abandonment and abuse, and incorrect methods of preservation, the church has deteriorated. Still, it is a very ‘soulful’ structure and has a ‘presence’ that feels peaceful.
I had planned to go on the 11:00 tour as I’d not yet experienced the tour guide’s manner of the ‘telling the story’ of the mission; however, I got detoured to the wedding. I joined the tour as the guide began to describe the details of the front facade. Each guide or docent presents the information in his or her own creative way. It’s fascinating.