If we had not met Barbara Gilday, our wedding would have been ruined.
She was the only one who remembered the marriage license.
The day before the wedding, at the end of a counseling session about communication, she discovered we had neglected one critical piece — that license.
So Rev. Gilday became Chauffeur-Guide-Handler for an American on his first visit to Canada, and the Canadian-living-in-America he was to wed.
With good humor, the minister drove us to city hall; waited patiently while the paperwork was done; and, literally, saved the day.
The wedding ceremony was ever more sweet because it was legal.
We’re big fans of Barbara Gilday for her good humor, wisdom, and love.
We’ve called, or sent notes, on almost every anniversary (except the first, in Afghanistan), to thank her for bringing the sacred to our relationship. We are blessed in love, and marriage.
Barbara Gilday has performed “200 to 300” weddings in Canada and the U.S. since her 1998 graduation from the Vancouver School of Theology.
The wood-and-glass church where we were married, Our Lady of the Mountains, is Catholic, and her United Church was among several sharing the space, at the foot of the mountains in Whistler, B.C.
Couples from as far as Japan and Sweden were among the many she counseled, then officiated at their weddings, at that church.
Barbara is now based in Bellingham, Washington, and has performed 22 weddings so far this year. Judging from the joy infused in our simple service, we consider weddings to be her specialty.
“It never occurred to me,” she said, when I asked whether she set out to be a marriage minister. “I was going into ministry because I felt called to the ministry.”
Barbara’s strength and grace endear her, I’m sure, to everyone in her ministry. She leads ceremonies from baptisms to funerals, and conducts some Sunday services at Unitarian Church, in addition to counseling.
“They came with the job,” she says of weddings. “I found I had a way and a heart for them.”
Barbara acknowledges that weddings draw her, because of the joy. She also observes that weddings often meld diverse cultures, such as the Dene-Jewish ceremony in Canada that mixed Jewish traditions with Canadian aboriginal music and prayers.
Another wedding brought together an American couple, who celebrated their Muslim and Buddhist faiths with prayers in Arabic.
This past summer, she performed more same-gender weddings which, she notes, are admirable because of the guests’ support for the couples.
“The support of the community is so tremendous it brings mist to my eyes,” Barbara says.
“When we bring together two cultures, we see that marriage can be a real blessing, and one of the ways individuals can achieve world peace,” Barbara says. “It’s how we will find world peace.”
Thanks, Barbara, for being such an important part of our life together.