Pastor Twanna Gause and Pastor Vanessa Brown recently had their wedding at the New Vision Full Gospel Baptist Church in East Orange, N.J.
Bishops Levi Richards and Eugene Gathers, both of the Fellowship of Affirming Ministries, walked Ms. Gause down the aisle, a role she had initially hoped would be accepted by her father, the Rev. Sam Gause Sr., a Pentecostal minister who lives in Atlanta.
“She’s our spiritual daughter,” Bishop Richards said. Her father, Mr. Gause, citing “differences in theological beliefs,” refused his daughter’s invitation. “My father would not come here because he does not believe in same-sex marriage,”
Ms. Gause said. “He told me the devil tricked me into this, and that if we had been married in biblical times, we would have been stoned to death.
Ms. Brown, 46, and Ms. Gause, 45, both pastors of Rivers of Living Water United Church of Christ, heard much softer words on their wedding day while holding hands before the Rev. Dr. Yvette Flunder, who read from the First Epistle to the Corinthians.
“Twanna and I go way, way back,” Ms. Brown said. Once upon an Amazing Grace, two choir girls met at a church in Jersey City, and before one of them could clear her throat to sing, she thought she had already caught a glimpse of heaven.
“I was like, ‘Oh wow, what in the world, who’s that, she’s beautiful,’” recalled Ms. Gause, who was then a 16-year-old living in Paterson, N.J.
“I immediately felt this kind of strange, warm feeling wash over me, and though I had not yet spoken a word to her, I could see myself loving this woman forever. My head was just spinning.”
Ms. Brown, then 18 and living in New York, was not struck by the same thunderbolt. Both grew up in religious families.