Christian weddings for newcomers: Halifax church integrates multicultural elements

·2 min read

A Halifax church has been helping newcomers to tie the knot, with a twist of traditions from their own culture.

You may think that Christian weddings at a church are all the same: mutual vows that end with till death do us part, a priest or pastor presiding over and declaring the official finalization of the ceremony. But a Halifax Christian Church begs to differ.

“We get traditions that each culture has that are important to them, and we get to enjoy that experience,” said Greg Nicholson, lead pastor at Halifax Christian Church.

Nicholson said the church has hosted weddings for over 40 couples from all over the world, including couples from Nigeria, the Philippines, Indian, Ukraine and many more.

“They are still Christian weddings, because I'm performing them. But we're able to implement some of the different things that people have in their own culture,” he said.

The pastor has presided over weddings for couples with a Hindu background where the bride was actually seated and The Seven Vows, an element in a traditional Hindu wedding that symbolizes the unity of two families, was performed.

Since the church welcomed its first Filipino family, it is now the place of worship to newcomers from over 25 countries.

“They will check online before immigrating and a few families have noticed pictures of others from their nationality and they decide on us. A lot are then invited by the ones already here,” he said.

Carlos Medrano and his wife Grace Flores-Medrano are among the many newcomers the church helped. The couple are originally from El Salvador and had their wedding with the help of the church in 2016.

“It's just amazing how many different types of backgrounds we have in the church. And you will think that it's really hard to have that mix of people in a row (or) we have nothing to talk about. No, we just we have something (in) common.,” Medrano said.

Medrano said the couple lost their jobs before the wedding ceremony and it was the church that helped them to stay in Canada.

“We finally found our family here in Halifax and the family that we have is a family from Halifax Christian church,” he said.

Lu Xu is a local journalism initiative reporter, a position funded by the federal government.

Lu Xu, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chronicle Herald