Reverend's Notes

Thoughts on Violence

I have been stewing over what to say since the news of Breonna Taylor’s murder hit wires almost a month ago. The needless loss of any human life profoundly saddens me. That it was at the hands of police during a botched raid incenses me. And that the cops involved are trying to cover their butts, while unsurprising, enrages me. If you don’t know the story, this New York Times article is an excellent summary. 

On the heels the Taylor case, while officials in Kentucky scramble to spin their story, came the word of Ahmaud Arbury’s murder at the hands of vigilantes. These men decided to kill this guy because he may have taken a drink of water from a hose at a construction site. And, incidentally, for being Black in a mostly white neighborhood. If you don’t remember, this happened back in February – before the quarantines. Here’s a link to a good summary of the case thus far. It took until May before we heard anything about the attack when a video of the event finally surfaced.

Had the attorney for the Arbery family not done his due diligence, it is likely the world outside Brunswick, GA, would never have known. Had the attorney not done his job, the criminals might never have been charged.

And, now George Floyd. With more deaths and injuries because of violent responses to peaceful protest. And because outside agitators, mostly white from all reporting, promoting violence to derail the cause. I’m angry, and that’s twisting my guts into knots.

I had to take a break there, to pray, breathe, and relax because the focus isn’t me or my feeling about these deaths. The focus is on justice for those unjustly killed. The focus is on changing entrenched systems created to maintain power in the hands of a few. The focus is on disempowering those who value their property over the lives of others.

Let’s be clear. Murdering people is wrong. Killing people because they don’t look or sound like you, that’s bad. Valuing property over the lives of other human beings is just plain evil.

Let me spell it out, plainly, and in the words of one of the most revered and misused books in Western society.

8 But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women.
It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, be compassionate and loyal in your love, And don’t take yourself too seriously—take God seriously.

Micah 6:8 The Message (MSG)


17 No murder. [The sixth commandment]

Deuteronomy 5:17 The Message (MSG)


The Most Important Command
34-36 When the Pharisees heard how he had bested the Sadducees, they gathered their forces for an assault. One of their religion scholars spoke for them, posing a question they hoped would show him up: “Teacher, which command in God’s Law is the most important?”
37-40 Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.”

Matthew 22:36-40 The Message (MSG)

That’s almost enough from the Bible. Yes, it’s more than many of you want, I know. But, let me walk back verses 37-40 in the last passage.

That second most important commandment, ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ If you value property over the lives of others, how do you fulfill that? If you value your pride over their existence, are you in alignment with the words of Christ?

For my part, I’m sorry for my silence. I regret that I struggled to put these words out there. I will struggle to do better.

Coronavirus Military Discount Rescheduling Wedding Packages

Don’t Give Up the Ship

The USS Chesapeake captured in the bloodiest frigate battle of the War of 1812. F. Muller / Public domain

June 1 is “Don’t Give Up the Ship Day” in the United States. It commemorates the lasting message uttered by Captain James Lawrence of the USS Chesapeake when the British Navy boarded his ship while he lay mortally wounded on June 1, 1813. Despite orders not to engage in battle, Lawrence fought the HMS Shannon in Massachusetts bay, near Boston. The resultant action was the bloodiest frigate fight of the War of 1812, and the crew lost the ship to the British in about fifteen minutes.

Under normal circumstances, Lawrence would have been held accountable for his defeat. Instead, he died a hero, and his words have lived on for more than 200 years. The phrase became the unofficial motto of the Navy, and two months after the Chesapeake’s loss, the Navy christened the USS Lawrence in his honor. The Captain of the Lawrence, Oliver Hazard Perry, commissioned a blue ensign emblazoned with the phrase. Perry, under that flag, led his squadron of nine ships to victory in the Battle of Lake Erie just three months after Lawrence’s devastating defeat.

Cool Story, but…

What does that have to do with weddings?

I’m here to say, “Don’t give up the ship!” The recent pandemic and our wretched national news aside, your wedding is a beacon of hope. And, I will help you make it happen!

Whatever your situation, we can make your marriage ceremony happen this year. I’m coming up with several new programs to make your wedding goals achievable and affordable. Keep checking the blog and the rest of the website for details, or get in touch and let’s figure it out together.

Get In Touch

New Military Discount!

It also makes a great story to inaugurate my Military Discount program. I am a military veteran, and, like anyone, I enjoy getting a deal. I hadn’t really thought about this, since the packages I’ve put together already embody a 20% discount over the a-la-carte prices.

Given the way things have gone for us in 2020, this is something that makes sense. Many military couples are on a financial tightrope, especially with the lay-offs in King and Snohomish county. So, this is my first step toward helping couples out.

15% Discount for Active and Veteran Military

With a valid proof of service for either party, I’ll give you a 15% discount on any wedding or elopement package. Proof of service is an Active Duty or Veteran ID card, or a scan of your DD-214 showing an Honorable or General discharge. There’s no expiration on this deal.

So, whether you are a new client or have already scheduled your wedding for 2020 or 2021, get in touch with me to take advantage of this offer. And, of course, you can only take on discount at a time.

Get In Touch

Thank you veterans in a dog tag
From one Veteran to another, thank you for your service.
Bronze Wedding Copper Wedding Elopement Micro-Wedding Wedding Packages

All About Tiny Weddings

As you know, I’ve made many updates to this site during the “Corona-Stay-cation.” Among the exciting changes, I am adding pages describing how each wedding package brings you value. I recently posted the first of these articles, titled “So You Want to Elope.” I talk about Micro-Weddings and Elopements and how I bring you my best service for your money.

These kinds of small weddings are perfect for our times. I recently officiated a lovely backyard elopement for a local couple. How will your May or June tiny wedding look?

Personal Pledges

Write Your Vows

Writer’s block

I’m thrilled that I have finally managed to launch the “Write Your Vows” course, linked below.

One-third of the couples who work with me desire to write personal pledges to share during the ceremony. Often, they have the best of intentions, and then life happens. Or one of the partners is creative and can dash off their vows in less than an hour, while the other person’s mind freezes at the sight of a blank page. They want to get the words out, and they need help.

That group of harried people is the target for this four-part course. In it, I’ll guide you through some exercises that free up your unconscious mind to let you write your perfect vows. Along the way, you will create ‘bonus’ material to help you write love letters and blurbs for birthday and anniversary cards.

Part 1 is available to everyone. The other three elements are available to my clients who want help writing their vows.

Get In Touch

Copper Wedding Elopement Micro-Wedding Wedding Packages

A Back-Forty Elopement

“With this ring…” Photo by AareneX

Friday, May 1st, was a beautiful day for an elopement in Cami and Scott’s back yard. It had rained all week in the tradition of April Showers and would rain heavily throughout the day on Saturday. Friday afternoon, though, was perfect.

When Cami first contacted me in April, Washington’s “Stay-at-home” order was entirely in effect, and with good reason. The virus behind COVID-19 had entrenched in Western Washington, with thousands ill, hundreds of deaths, and a recent update of 26 dead in one day. They canceled their planned wedding to keep family members safe. They already had the license, though, so they chose to elope in their back yard.

Planning a Micro-Wedding

There were two challenges for this micro-wedding. Firstly, as always, is creating a special day with a minimum of fuss. I designed the Copper Wedding package with those elopement and micro-wedding goals in mind. Secondly, we had to keep the environment safe for the couple, the witnesses, and me.

Cami and I concentrated on a short, meaningful ceremony that elegantly met the legal requirements. Meanwhile, Scott cleared a path into the woodlot near their pasture, creating a Sylvan byre worthy of an English woodcut. I asked Aarene and Monica to witness and get pictures for us to share. We carefully laid plans to minimize exposure and maximize the fun.

Cami and Scott’s Elopement Day

Reverend Jim Beidle explains the contents of the license packet.

Finally, Friday the First arrived, and Aarene, Monica, and I made the short trek to Cami and Scott’s place. We carefully kept our two meters of separation as we walked back into the woods. After the short, sweet ceremony, we repaired to the stable where the hood of a John Deere made a handy desk to complete the legal paperwork.

In all, their elopement took a few hours to plan and prepare. We spent perhaps a half-hour performing the service and completing the paperwork, plus a few minutes more admiring Cami’s horse, Kid, and his miniature donkey companion, Bambi.

After we left, Brit Solie arrived for their portrait session. They captured some beautiful images while maintaining a safe ecology in their home. What a fantastic way to make a marriage happen in these stressful times!

A Gallery of Photos

“Today I married my best friend! I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and exactly the way it’s supposed to. Now I can’t imagine getting married anywhere but right here at our home! Thank you, Jim, Aarene, and Monica for making it happen you saved us!
“Words can’t describe how lucky I am to have found my person. He’s one of the kindest, most honest and hard-working men I’ve ever known. In the first week we met, we had lined out our dreams, and now every day, we are working towards them as a team. Scott, I’m so honored to be your wife and spend the rest of my life living it to the fullest with you!”


We have just proved that we can make your elopement happen and still keep everyone safe and healthy. It will take a little planning, a bit of patience, and a serving of flexibility. Hit the “Get in Touch” button, and let’s make your dreams come true!

Get In Touch

The End of a Perfect Day! Photo by Solie Designs
Coronavirus Rescheduling Video Conferencing

3/30 COVID-19 Update

Get In Touch

Watch for the new vow writing course and a demonstration video of readings later this week. I am available to video chat by Zoom, Google Meet and Messenger. Click the button to send me an email.


Licensing in the Days of Coronavirus

Reverend Jim Beidle is ready to help you make your wedding real in the days of Coronavirus

Getting your Marriage License during the days of Coronavirus is going to be a bit of a challenge. Even with the “Stay-home” order, though, it’s doable. This article will help you solve some of the basic questions. To get your paperwork signed, you will need to be creative, proactive, and patient.

All of the county offices in Washington have closed their doors to the public in order to slow the spread of the Coronavirus. The doors may be shut, but there are still employees in the office waiting to process your application. Here’s where your creativity comes in to play. Snohomish, Skagit, and Whatcom counties are encouraging mail-in applications. I’ll include links to their websites at the bottom of this post, or you can find them on the List of Washington Counties page elsewhere on the site. For now, let’s take each county in turn.

Snohomish County

Snohomish County is only accepting mail-in applications. Follow these steps, and remember to allow plenty of time for mailing back and forth.

  1. Download the Marriage License Application (PDF).
  2. Complete the application in blue or black ink in clear, legible writing.
  3. Sign the application in front of a notary and have them sign it and attach their seal. I suggest checking with your bank or credit union; usually, the manager and assistant managers are notaries and will meet with you by appointment. Both of you will have to go to the appointment and bring a valid, government-issued ID.
  4. Include a check, money order, or cashier’s check for $70.00, payable to the Snohomish County Auditor. 
  5. Mail the completed application and fee to:
    Snohomish County Auditor’s Office – Recording Division
    3000 Rockefeller Ave M/S 204
    Everett, WA 98201
  6. The Recording Division will process your application and mail your marriage license, a Certificate of Marriage, and an information packet.

Expect this process to take up to two weeks to finish. And, that depends on how quickly your Notary can see you.

Skagit County

It is best to use the mail-in process for Skagit County. According to the website, the Skagit County Auditors office accepts on-line applications and requires you to pick it up in person. But, the Marriage Licenses page hasn’t been updated to reflect their closure. As a result, I think there are some disappointed couples out there who find out that their online application won’t get processed for weeks until the office reopens.

To obtain a Skagit County marriage license:

  1. Complete the marriage license application form (pdf) and affidavit (pdf). Both forms are also obtainable from the Auditor’s Office.
  2. Both the bride-to-be and groom-to-be must sign the completed affidavit. The signing must be witnessed by a notary public. As mentioned above, check with your financial institution and make an appointment.
  3. The Marriage License fee is $64.00 (cash or credit card accepted).  You have an option to pre-pay $3.00 for a certified copy that will be automatically mailed to you.
  4. The recorder’s office has a walk-up window, and my source says you may bring it in.
    1. Alternatively, leave the affidavit, application, and payment in the dropbox outside the office.
    2. Finally, you may also mail the application package to the Skagit County Auditor’s Office at this address:

      PO Box 1306
      Second St., Room 201
      Mount Vernon, WA 98273

Again, your patience and planning come into play. It will take a couple of weeks to make this happen.

Whatcom County

In Whatcom County, you fill out your application on a web-form. When that’s complete they will send you an email with instructions on completing an affidavit with a notary and getting that information to the Auditor’s Office.

What About Notaries?

In Snohomish and Whatcom counties you will definitely need a Notary Public to complete your paperwork during the current crisis. That’s also the case when you choose the mail-in or dropbox options for Skagit County. The good news is that Notaries are easy to find. These days of Coronavirus may require a bit more persistence than usual, but shouldn’t stop you from getting your paperwork done.

I’ve already mentioned your financial institution. The Branch Manager or Customer Service Manager is usually a Notary, something required to conduct many kinds of business. But, what if your bank is unable to accommodate you in a timely manner?

I have learned that most UPS Stores have a Notary on staff. Call to learn when they’ll be available. If the UPS Store is closed, you have other options.

While you’re Googling the UPS phone number, you can also search the term “Notary near me.” You’ll have a list of stores and mobile notaries. As you might imagine, a mobile notary will hop into their car and visit you on a convenient schedule. If you’re both working, and are on different shifts, this may be your best option.

That Notaries charge for their work should come as no surprise. The State of Washington has set a limit of $10 per notarial act. A traveling Notary may charge a travel fee and will negotiate that with you when you call.

Why Wait? Don’t Let the Days of Coronavirus Stop You

I hope I’ve given a fairly complete picture of obtaining marriage licenses in the three counties I regularly serve. It requires a bit of patience and planning in the days of coronavirus to get your ducks in a row, but it isn’t the impossible task it might seem. True, marriage parties of dozens of guests are off the table, for now. Available options include micro-weddings and elopements, and with a bit more creativity, we can stream or record your wedding for your family and friends.


About COVID-19