The music started, the chapel doors opened, and there was no turning back — not now. Then, seemingly as one, the guests turned towards the opened doors, and with a last deep breath I set off down the aisle, guiding my shaking legs tentatively towards the platform ahead.
Rather worryingly there appeared to be a lot more people present than anticipated, but I squeezed out a nervous smile and the odd polite nod. Then, checking that the groom was close behind, it was up on to the platform and behind the podium, tightly clasping my bible and ceremony notes. Yes, I was performing my first ‘Christian’ wedding ceremony, and with somewhere in the region of 100 Japanese guests looking on expectantly, I was nervous to say the least.
But why be nervous? If nothing else I looked the part in my newly acquired robe — complete with a rather natty stole and embroidered crosses.
And if that wasn’t enough, surely my 3 hours or so of ‘training’ and the resultant certificate would get me through the proceedings. I was now authorized for goodness sake.
In both English and Japanese.
The trusty robe manufacturers certainly thought so anyway, as I wasn’t plain old Mr Lee Chapman anymore. No, not by a long shot. I was going up in the world, perhaps quite literally.
Such a rapid rise leading me to believe that I’d be a bishop before I knew it. Or at least I would have been if I hadn’t opted for early retirement — it being a lot of Sunday work and all that.