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for a Minister? Call 'Rent-A-Rev'
profession requires him to perform in some odd locations,
deliver his lines flawlessly-and maintain a sense of humor.
like a stand-up comic, right?
Jim is the original "Rent-a-Rev," an ordained minister
who will perform your wedding no matter where it is or what
kind of ceremony you want.
once pastor of a small church in St. Paul, Minnesota, has
performed more than 2,000 wedding ceremonies in the past 15
years. He's married folks in forest preserves, in a sky box
at Wrigley Field, in a gondola atop the Navy Pier Ferris wheel,
among other odd locations.
in the love business," Rehnberg likes to say. "I've
got the funnest schtick there is."
the minister-for-hire uses his schtick to marry four or five
couples a week. He provides pre-wedding counseling sessions,
usually one per couple, and also attends rehearsals. Because
most weddings are held on weekends, it's a hectic schedule
get into my car Friday morning and I get out of it Sunday
night. I spend the time in between going to weddings to rehearsals
to weddings to rehearsals to meetings to rehearsals-to more
is no fly-by-night minister. Gayle Hinsberger, owner of a
wedding consulting business in Naperville, says he's one of
the best matrimonial chaplains. "He takes a very personal
interest in the couple, applying his very special figs and
creates a ceremony they will never forget," she says.
Geneva resident never intended to make a profession of performing
weddings. His first free-lance wedding was in 1983, when two
friends asked him to perform their ceremony in a forest preserve
earlier, he had retired as pastor of a small evangelical free
church in St. Paul after finding he was unable to support
his family on a salary of $210 a week. He moved his family
to Naperville to sell life insurance and, in subsequent years,
was a manufacturer's rep selling gas station equipment for
his father- business.
attending that first wedding, however, encouraged him to perform
other weddings, however, and he took their encouragement to
heart. One thing led to another and over the years he performed
hundreds of ceremonies.
manufacturer's rep business went sour in 1995, he became the
full-time "Rent-A-Rev," his trademarked business.
He attended wedding trade shows and advertised in a wedding
magazine to promote his services-and is now booked months
in advance. He went from 13 marriage ceremonies in his first
year to 150 by 1996.
he says, is tailored to the couple and he enjoys getting to
know each of the couples he marries.
gets to know who you are ... As a result, the ceremony is
talked about our childhood during the service as if he's known
us and our fami- all of our lives," says Victor Johnston,
of Naperville, the proprietor of the Outback Steakhouse at
services are popular, particularly, among families who have
moved to the area recently and have not yet put down roots.
He also performs a lot of intercultural and interfaith weddings,
where couples prefer a neutral location over choosing one
location or the other.
who holds a bachelor's degree in biblical studies from Wheaton
College and a master of divinity degree from Bethel Seminary
in St. Paul, says he's never regretted the direction his career
has taken him.
he says, are more simple than his work as a manufacturers
rep "and a lot more fun."