“Sweethearts” of Prince of Peace celebrate 50 years of marriage

Photo by Carolyn Williams
“Sweethearts” celebrating 50+ years of marriage (in no order): Loretta and Arthur Brinkworth, Lonnie and Frances Cheney, Ivan and Betty Eckardt, Archie and Sylvia Font, William and Mary Jane Gerlach, Fred and Phyllis Hafliger, Walter and Janice Hasbach, John and Mary Hatfield, Don and Lee Humphries, Albert and Marlene Knowlton, Dennis and Donna Nielsen, Richard and Marilyn Quasius, Jean and Roland Will, Robert and Elaine Wagner, Thomas and Connie Yohe, and Ron and Judy Ritter.

■ Kyle Selby / Reporter

Prince of Peace Lutheran Church held a luncheon Feb. 16 to honor the members of its congregation who have been married 50 years or more. Eighteen couples were in attendance last Thursday, the longest having made it to 69 years.
Prince of Peace is the church home of 30 couples that have been married over 50 years, one of them being Pastor Ron Ritter himself. He and his wife Judy just celebrated their 50th anniversary this year. Ritter says that the foundation for a strong, long-lasting marriage is the ability to overlook the faults in your spouse, and most importantly, to forgive.
“Forgiveness is really the key,” said Pastor Ritter. “Because we live in an imperfect world, marriages are imperfect by definition…Because of the competing egos, there are so many things that play into it.”
Because the Sweetheart Luncheon was exclusive to Prince of Peace church going couples, Ritter believes that being within a community of people who understand forgiveness first hand makes all the difference in their marriages.
“It’s easier for a husband who’s upset with his wife, or a wife that’s upset with her husband, to think that while they’ve been forgiven, they can forgive their spouse,” said Ritter. “It’s a heck of a-lot easier, and more joyful, when you know you’re connected to forgiveness.”
Ritter said the Sweetheart Luncheons have been around since he joined the church seven years ago. The annual luncheon is sponsored by Carolyn Williams and the rest of the O.K. Club, a group of seniors in the church that meet once a month who also help cook and serve for the couples each year.
Pastor Gene Smith served the tables, while the couples ate, and the children from Prince of Peace’s preschool and kindergarten schools sang as Jean Will helmed the piano, followed by serenades of sweetheart songs on the violin from Pastor Trent Thompson. Gift certificates were given to the attendees and each couple had their picture taken with the “God is love” cake.

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