Faith Matters: For Reverend Alonzo Campbell, to marry is to serve God | Terry robinson
Marriage is a mission for Reverend Alonzo Campbell of Baton Rouge.
âAccording to the US census, most young people live together. I feel like I’m serving God by bringing them together,â said the 69-year-old former pastor.
Campbell has presided over more than 500 weddings for couples of various ages, nationalities and religions in 40 years, primarily as a “minister for hire.”
âI see marriage as a gift from God, which God designed to bring together the right people who love each other and make connections to encourage and help each other. Marriage makes them complete,â he said. .
For prospective couples, Campbell offers pre-marriage counseling, personalized vows, and religious or non-religious mobile service. He has traveled to Panama City, Florida, but has married couples in New Orleans who have come from as far away as Australia.
“In my ceremonies, I include a component to talk about how to stay married, and most couples, whether religious or non-religious, allow me to do that,” he said. âWhen they are religious, I include the scriptures; I’m talking about Jesus.
Campbell pointed out several reasons couples seek her services.
âThey want something unique, not traditional,â he said.
âMost of them go to church; most of them are of Christian origin, âhe added. âIt doesn’t mean that just because they’re Christians they want to disrespect the word. They’re not trying to change the Bible, but they want something unique. â¦ We offer wedding elements within the wedding ceremony that are not traditional and always respect the Lord.
Another reason couples hire Campbell may be because of issues in their own church, such as cohabitation and / or having children.
âSometimes the rules of the church go against the life they lead for them to get married,â he said.
Often, couples simply prefer a destination wedding. Campbell said he was asked to officiate many destination weddings in his native New Orleans.
âSome of them want a fresh start,â he said. “They understand us and feel like that’s what it represents.”
The best publicity Campbell can give is his own 49-year marriage.
âWe are not perfect,â he said. âWe missed the ball. In some cases, we made humble mistakes, but we kept Jesus in the middle. It was Jesus who kept us together. And (couples) say it attracts them.
Campbell witnessed this in his own home before his father died when he was 13.
âHe was really married to my mom,â Campbell said.
Two years later, Campbell dedicated his life to Christian ministry.
Campbell went on to earn a degree in political science from Clark University in Atlanta, a master’s degree in divinity from the Interfaith Theological Center in Atlanta, and a doctorate in ministry from the Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Austin, Texas.
Beginning in 1975, Campbell led several churches in Louisiana, including Natchitoches, Central, Denham Springs, and New Orleans, before stepping down from the pastorate in 2008.
He said he enjoyed celebrating the love of couples cementing their commitment to each other.
âI said to a young man, ‘Someday you will retire from your job, but God doesn’t want you to retire from your wife. Your wife will be there when no one else is there for you, âCampbell said.
Contact Campbell at (225) 938-5746 or email [email protected]