Emmanuel Village hosts first outdoor wedding ceremony at Emmanuel cross

By Julie Fann
star staff

The first outdoor wedding to be held at Emmanuel School of Religion's Cross of the Risen Lord took place this spring, and Emmanuel representatives are hopeful it was the beginning of a new tradition that will grow. The cross stands in the Emmanuel Village, a housing community for students of the seminary.
   "I think it will become a more special place over time. Only a small number have lived in the village. We just now have people graduating who have lived in the village the entire time they've been in school," said Rae Augenstein, publications coordinator for the graduate seminary which is affiliated with the Christian Church.
   Jerry Rudberg, an Emmanuel alumnus who works as a recruiter at Emmanuel's west coast office, and Phyllis Jackson, who donated the land where the Emmanuel Village was constructed, married at the Cross of the Risen Lord on May 17 this year.
   "The weather was delightful. The service began at 11 a.m., and we heard 11 peals of the bell tower at Milligan. It was kind of a call to attention, then we began the ceremony," Jerry Rudberg said. "About 30 people attended, and Dr. Wetzel officiated. It was a brief, Christian ceremony."
   The 15-foot tall bronze Cross of the Risen Lord was dedicated with the rest of the village in a special ceremony on Oct. 25, 2000. It is the focal point of the Emmanuel Village and was commissioned to be a visible symbol of the mission and purpose of the seminary, according to ESR's Web site.
   The cross was designed and sculpted by Randall Secrest of Phoenix, Ariz., and spans nine feet. It sits on a pedestal made of stone that matches the stone in the cottages at the village, also constructed in 2000. The plaque naming the cross bears the inscription of Mark 16:6: "He has risen! He is not here!"
   The cross was a gift to the seminary from Capt. A.W. Newhall, of Phoenix, in honor of his wife, Penny, and other family members.
   "I think it's a good place to have a wedding. You can make your own arrangements for what you want. In a chapel, you are somewhat limited; whereas the outdoors is unlimited, easy to get into, and quiet. It gives folks in Northeast Tennessee another chapel," Rudberg said.
   Rudberg and his new wife currently reside in Battleground, Wash., a suburb of Vancouver, Canada. At ESR's west coast office in Battleground, Rudberg handles recruiting, alumni affairs and church relations for the seminary.