September 13, 2023

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 15:13

Marriage is sacred. Weddings are special and holy events. When a couple is to marry, they spend tremendous time, effort, and money to make their wedding day the event they dream of.  As a pastor, I have had the privilege of officiating numerous weddings.  Many of them, in beautiful churches and others in the beauty of the outdoors. Some weddings have been on the shores of lakes while others in a grove of trees.  Each wedding is unique, and each wedding is special.

A special wedding is exactly what Jamie West had planned when she elected to have her wedding at White Castle.  You read that correctly… She married Drew Schmitt in a fast-food restaurant, and they were excited to do so. White Castle is a hamburger chain, known for its small square hamburgers. White Castle holds a special place in Jamie’s heart.

Jamie West had a difficult childhood. By the time she was 4 years old, she was living in a foster home.  She would live in and out of foster homes and shelters until she eventually would become homeless, living on the streets of Arizona and California.  Jamie was 15, homeless, and hungry.  She had not had food in almost a week when she walked into a White Castle late one night.  She didn’t know what to expect.  Jamie was not expecting a warm welcome, but that is exactly what she received.  The manager saw her come in the store and told her to go wash up in the bathroom.   While Jamie was in the restroom, the manager when to the back and bagged up several burgers for her.  Jamie said it was almost three days’ worth of food and it helped to change her life.

By the time she was in her 20’s, she had found her way out of homelessness and met Drew.  They were able to start their own roofing business and have built a good life for themselves.  When they learned that a White Castle was opening in their community, they decided to camp out so that they could be one of the first in the building.  When the store opened, Drew took the opportunity to ask Jamie to marry him.  She excitedly said, “Yes!”  They would eventually get married in that store.

The gift of hope was offered by the White Castle Manager.  I hope her life has been blessed, just as she offered hope and blessings.  Marriage is the start of a new life.  It was fitting to have their wedding in a place that represented new life for Jamie.  I hope their marriage is filled with blessings and joy.  It will be if Jamie and Drew continue to remember the kindness that was once shown to Jamie.  When they work together to bless others, they will find their new life will be filled with joy and opportunities to share the same hope that was shared with Jamie at White Castle so long ago.

– Rev. Keith King, Pastor of Worship