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Couple wed in nativity play’s coup de théâtre

22 December 2016

DIOCESE OF CARLISLE

While shepherds watched: the wedding group in St James’s, Whitehaven, last Sunday

While shepherds watched: the wedding group in St James’s, Whitehaven, last Sunday

NOT content with a Virgin birth and angelic visitations, Mary and Joseph sprang an additional surprise on those gathered around the manger on Sunday: a wedding.

Chrissie Armstrong and David Blamire, playing Mary and Joseph at St James’s, Whitehaven, decided that they wanted to get married during the nativity service. Their daughter, Daisy, born seven months ago, was also baptised, after playing the baby Jesus in the tableau.

“It was the obvious thing to do,” Mrs Armstrong said. “We’ve both been married before; so we didn’t want to make a big fuss in all the preparation. . . It’s amazing that we managed to keep it all such a secret. David’s dad had an inkling that Daisy might be baby Jesus, but the wedding came out of the blue for everyone else.”

In on the act was the Priest-in-Charge, the Revd Robert Jackson, who arranged for the couple to be married under licence, so that banns did not have to be read. He hid the wedding dress in the vestry.

“The looks on everyone’s faces when we explained what was going to happen was an absolute picture,” he said. “There were gasps, and then cheers, after people were told what David and Chrissie had arranged. . .

“It’s really important that as a church we’re open to the requests of others, and we help out whenever we can. Jesus said, ‘Come as you are. You are welcome.’ That is how we as a church should approach things.

“We’d already baptised Daisy, who was beautifully behaved both during the christening and when she was our baby Jesus. Then I just said in front of the congregation: ‘You know Mary and Joseph weren’t mar­ried at this point and neither are you. How would you both like to get married now?’ Of course they both said yes, and that’s when the gasps began.”

Mr Blamire had been a server at St James’s, and his parents are in the choir. Mrs Armstrong’s elder daughter, Lily, was let in on the secret on Saturday night.

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