Never too late to find love
Both widowed and in their 80s, Ray and Joy did not expect to be married again. Minister Alison Griffiths shares their story
Ray 84 and Joy 83 have known each other for years as Joy's first husband was good friends with Ray. After Joy's husband died and she moved back to Lydney, Gloucestershire Ray got in touch to see how she was settling into her new home.
As his wife had also died in recent years, he knew only too well what it is like to lose a dearly loved spouse and how painful it can be to pick up the threads of a new life. Gradually a new friendship developed and eventually they realised it was love - something that surprised both of them as neither had expected to find this kind of love at their age.
They were married on Saturday 23 April, two years from the date when they first realised they wanted to be together. It was a small wedding with just a few friends and the church family present and it was a particularly joyful day. With Methodists, Salvation Army soldiers, Free Church as well as Baptists celebrating, it was also a truly ecumenical affair.
The ability to continue to take risks - loving is a risky business at any age - is a characteristic of both Joy and Ray and their openess and courage to follow where God leads continues to be a witness and inspiration to all of us. The church members are relieved Ray and Joy have chosen to settle in Lydney and so will remain regular worshippers at Lydney Baptist.
It is probably the last marriage that will take place in the traditional worship sanctuary of Lydney Baptist Church as it is about to undergo a major redevelopment, completely transforming the church area, so it will also be remembered as an historic event in the life of the church.
Joy has several major health issues that need to be resolved in the coming few months so your prayers for her restoration to better health would be particularly appreciated as they begin their married life together.
The Revd Alison Griffiths is minister of Lydney Baptist Church