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A Real Manhattan Theater Wedding

July 17, 2012

A few weeks ago we took a whirlwind trip to New York City for a very special wedding.

Our friends, Jon and Ryan were wed on the stage of the Mint Theater in the Theater District of Manhattan. They were married on June 28 before Bernard Pobiak, a Universal Life Church minister, while friends and family joyously watched.

A Real Manhattan Theater Wedding: Jon and Ryan

I am sharing here Bernie’s homily.

Welcome, welcome, welcome!

Each of us has chosen to do a good thing today in being here to support and celebrate Jon and Ryan. Our support and Love, today and in the future, not only strengthens them, but it sets an important example to our larger contemporary community.

Congratulations to us all.

A Real Manhattan Theater Wedding: Jon and Ryan

The solemn commitment of marriage that Jon and Ryan are making before us now echoes a central human force that has been recognized throughout history by both our laws and by all our religions; Marriage is so important in our human experience that it is recognized by both the heavens and the earth alike.

A Real Manhattan Theater Wedding: Jon and Ryan

But why do we humans even want Love and Marriage? Do they fill some overarching void in our rushed, moment to moment lives?

In the modern world, the simple human truths seem to become so twisted. Well, especially here in the melting pot that is New York City, we realize that we share our core mystical humanity with everyone we see.

A Real Manhattan Theater Wedding: Jon and Ryan

It seems quite universal that we each seem to want to build and expand our lives in order to become ‘more’ than just ourselves. The freedom we enjoy in this great nation succeeds because it both acknowledges and encourages that personal growth need.

To marry, then, is in one way to move towards our best selves - growing in the direction of personal and spiritual perfection. It is a mystical landmark.

A Real Manhattan Theater Wedding: Jon and Ryan

Early in our lives, we all sense unseen but powerful forces which are greater than ourselves and which permeate our existence. Although we see the discoveries and accomplishments of science, are aware of the randomness of chance, and acknowledge the inevitability of death, we also seek meaning and a deeper understanding of all we observe around us.

As we grow, we build up of our lives around our friendships, families, and careers; our achievements, knowledge, opinions, and culture. But always, above and around all these aspects of our lives permeates love.

A Real Manhattan Theater Wedding: Jon and Ryan

Giving and receiving Love allows us to actually participate in the vast mystical forces that is beyond the physical world.

We are all exposed to good and evil in our own lives. We are also continually presented with making choices between doing good or not doing good ourselves. But the more we see Love around us, the more we hope to experience Love on our own and choose to do good.

A Real Manhattan Theater Wedding: Jon and Ryan

For almost as long as they have been together, I have watched Jon and Ryan do good - for each other, and with each other - for year upon year upon year. I have seen that, as a couple, Jon and Ryan provide one another with that ‘greater than self’ that transcends our highest possibility when we are alone.

A Real Manhattan Theater Wedding: Jon and Ryan

And we applaud them because marriage is a courageous leap of faith.

By many standards the institution of marriage is not the result of logical behavior at all. Fully sharing all of your life and possessions and future often goes against our self interests and our strong egos. When we choose to marry, we reject the easier path of pettiness, selfishness and uncaring insensitivity in favor of unqualified generosity in all aspects of our lives.

A Real Manhattan Theater Wedding: Jon and RyanWe marry to become more than we could otherwise be.

The magic spreads outwards from ourselves as well. When our love is seen and the good we do is noted by others, we build love and good in their world too.

A Real Manhattan Theater Wedding: Jon and Ryan

So, when you leave here, go forth, as regular ministers say, but don’t go to convert. Just continue by your own example to naturally foster even more Love and good in the world you touch.

A Real Manhattan Theater Wedding: Jon and Ryan

Now, Jon Clark, Ryan Franco, inasmuch as you have chosen to do good for and with each other and pledge to become more than you ever could be on your own, we, your friends and family stand in witness and approval of this ageless and mystical piece our human potential.

Just as childhood and childish things are shed in the maturation of adulthood, so this sacred transition of love into marriage elevates us to a new level of our own humanity. The choice you have made today resounds in heaven and on earth, and we rejoice with you.

A Real Manhattan Theater Wedding: Jon and Ryan

Champaign toasting followed the ceremony and everyone then adjoined to Jing Restaurant for a Chinese Feast. Following dinner, the entire entourage strolled back to the theater for a presentation of the play, Love Goes to Press.

Job well done! It is so nice to have friends like Peg & Bernie! We miss you. Thank you for all that you do for us. Love you guys!!!!!!


What a beautiful and moving homily, Bernie! I wish you had been ordained back when Tim and I tied the knot. I love your stole, too! Completely sacerdotal!!!


Bless you, father (?)


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