A Burmese Wedding

A scant three miles from where I live in Lancaster County is Habecker Mennonite Church, situated in rural Manor Township.


My last name,Hawbaker, derived from the Habeckers several generations ago, so all the Habeckers must be cousins of mine, but remote enough that I don’t know if they are sixth cousins or seventh or what.

Anyway, in the past few years this small church welcomed some refugees from Myanmar (formerly Burma). These refugees are from the Karen (Ka-RENN) people, so now about 30 Karen believers and 30 Mennonite believers worship together every Sunday morning in a service that is partly in English, partly in Karen, quite flexible and a beautiful demonstration of the kingdom of God on earth.

Karen Sensenig, formerly a Mennonite Central Committee worker in Sudan along with her husband Ken, is the pastor of this lively congregation.

Today, March 27, a young Karen couple were married, and the entire worship service was built around the wedding. The service began with the procession of the wedding party, and the party members sat on the platform facing the congregation during the service.

The groom is the man on the right, and the bride is sitting to the right of him, as we face the photo.

Here the bride and groom are listening to a duet. On the left is the best man; on the right, Pastor Karen Sensenig.

And here is the couple, relaxed during the photos following the service.

And here is the wedding party, along with Pastor Karen and her husband Ken.

After the photos there was a wedding dinner, with rice, goat, pulled pork, various vegetables, lots of fresh dill, fruit, a small cake and – typical of this great county – cracker pudding.

Manor Brethren in Christ Church (my home church) has sponsored one of the Karen families, and today I got to meet the husband of that family for the first time.

All in all, this was a delightful experience of the multi-cultural richness of the body of Christ.

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