You'd better believe it's news when the daughter of the pastor at the state's largest Baptist megachurch not only decides to get married, but marries outside her religious tradition.
Hundreds of guests are expected to pack the pews at Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church in East Mount Airy for the Aug. 5 fairy-tale nuptials of Morgan Waller and Corey Johnson.
He's a Seventh-day Adventist minister. She's the daughter of the Rev. Alyn E. Waller, senior pastor at Enon.
Even if it weren't newsy, I'd find an excuse to write about it.
We need something to be happy about. We spend so much time wringing our hands over awful things that happen in Philly and the craziness in Trump's Russian-infused Washington, D.C., politics. It's important that we do that, but we need to spend just as much time celebrating the triumphs in life.
And this is a story of a young couple deeply in love and bucking trends by getting married — and by doing so across faith traditions.
They met seven years ago when both were 20. Johnson, who was raised Seventh-day Adventist, visited Enon and spotted Waller. An undergraduate at Oakwood University in Huntsville, Ala., he reached out to her via Facebook and they struck up a friendship. At the time, she was a student at Auburn University, also in Alabama.
"We just became really good friends for about five years," Johnson told me. "I think at year six, I was finishing seminary [at Andrews University] in Michigan, and we had a conversation and I was, like, 'OK, I think this may be a transition in our friendship.' And then from that point on, you know, we began talking a little bit more seriously."
They began dating in October 2016. By then, Morgan had obtained a master's degree in mental-health counseling from Johns Hopkins University and was working in Annapolis, Md., as a licensed family therapist. He's an assistant pastor at Trinity Temple SDA Church in Newark, N.J.
While he was in Michigan and she was in Maryland, their relationship developed slowly during FaceTime chats as they asked each other important questions about their expectations and core values.
The couple insist that their faith traditions aren't all that different. Seventh-day Adventists consider Saturday their main day of worship. Members typically refrain from shellfish and pork, among other things. Morgan already has made the switch.
"I was raised with the understanding that when you grow up and you get married, you join your husband," she told me. "If Corey was pastoring a Baptist church, I still would have joined his church and I would be fellowshipping at his church."
Rev. Waller was all for it. He will co-officiate at the wedding. After a honeymoon in St. Lucia, the couple will live in New Jersey.
"My dad was Team Corey before Corey and me were even dating," Morgan said. "Seriously, that's how close of a friendship we had. … There was one weekend two or three summers ago when I was in Maryland and he spent the day here with my parents and my sister and they went and got food. That's how kind of close we were as friends. So when we made the shift, our friends and family were like, 'What took you so long?' "
Johnson proposed on his birthday, Nov. 27, inside 30th Street Station — after all, the couple had spent so much time in train stations during their courtship.
The bride and groom will each have eight attendants, and the couple has extended an open invitation to the members of Enon and also those of Johnson's church in Newark for the wedding ceremony scheduled for 3:30 p.m.