Funerals are more common in some western Kansas churches than weddings. That speaks volumes about the plight of small towns and their dwindling populations.
Greensburg United Methodist hosted its first wedding since it was rebuilt after the 2007 tornado. Pastor Terry Mayhew said he has conducted 11 funerals since the arrived in town two years ago. Most were in neighboring Haviland or Mullinville since the Greensburg church was destroyed. This was Mayhew’s first wedding.
Kristen Alderfer and Zachery Unruh were married May 31. The bride’s family has a long history in the church. Both the bride and groom are from Greensburg. They plan to live in a house Zach has remodeled just outside town.
The bride’s aunt, Shelly Showalter of Goodland, spent the better part of three days making the multi-tiered cake designed to feed 300. It was a family project, she said, since several relatives stopped by to lend a hand or offer advice.
We watched the daily progress on the cake as Showalter worked in the kitchen of the church where we are staying. I worried that one of the students — or perhaps a volunteer staying at the church — might unknowingly cut a piece of the cake to eat when they opened the freezer while looking for a snack late at night.
Fortunately, that didn’t happen. The cake construction — like the wedding — came off without a hitch, according to the bride’s mother, Kim Alderfer. And, speaking of the couple, Kristen and Zach are enjoying their honeymoon in the Bahamas before they return to Greensburg.