I am a church pastor and a sometimes banquet comedian, a therapeutic laughter leader, a writer, a beach wedding officiant for destination brides looking for an Evangelical or Baptist affiliated vocational clergyman, but I am always a groom, dad, and grandpa.
It was while working as a hospital chaplain that I became involved with officiating weddings. A patient had a family member that was a wedding planner and during my visit the patient she asked me about officiating for an upcoming wedding. A few months later she ended up on a Convention and Visitors Bureau committee that was creating a wedding destination website.
When the wedding destination committee completed their task of creating and posting the website, they realized they did not have any vocational clergyman listed (for brides who wished to steer away from online ordained ministers) so they contacted me about my willingness to be listed.
Of course, I said yes, they added my name to their website and that first day, while making rounds at the hospital, the vibration from my cell phone went crazy with bride’s inquiring about wedding officiating. That was the day that I started this website!
I am a big advocate of do-it-yourself simple weddings, especially the second or third time around. I believe in the value and importance of the wedding ceremony, and believe that it can be simple, yet dignified and meaningful, even with a dash of humor or a touch of personalized features.
A simple wedding is an ideal way to embrace a spiritual marriage – not necessarily religious, but living each day as soul-mates! I embrace the gift of marriage as given by our Creator for the spiritual, emotional, and eternal well-being between a man and women, and I want to help brides who want to put more into their marriage than into their wedding budget.
Marriage is not always easy, but neither is earning a pay check, choosing run a marathon, budgeting for a vacation, completing a degree, giving birth to a child, or any number of things that are worth the growth to gain the reward!
I was once in a conversation with a groom and one of his guest, when the guest shared some awesome wisdom with the groom. The guest described marriage as “3 steps forward 2 steps back and sometimes 3 steps back 2 steps forward.” He then looked toward the groom and added “The key is not to bailout when you’re 3 steps back because the longer you stay in it, the further forward you get.”
I am ordained evangelical Christian minister who grew-up Catholic, but has spent 30 years of my adult life in protestant church ministry, once affiliated with Adventist churches and now with Southern Baptist churches. Today, I am honored to serve as pastor of CrossHope Chapel, an “un-denominational” simple church offering refreshing grace to spiritually thirsty people. We gather on Sunday mornings for a relaxed Bible study, with prayer support, and Christian fellowship.
In years past I have served as a local church pastor with Adventist denomination churches and ministries in Ohio, Tennessee, North Carolina, and as a pastor in South Carolina, in northeast Alabama, and as a denominational prayer ministries with the Conference. I have served as a hospital chaplain, with both independent, Baptist, and Catholic hospitals in Georgia, Florida, and here in Mobile, Alabama.
In 2000 I became affiliated with Southern Baptist churches and Associations, and I still maintained my personal affiliation, but I have also been involved with United Methodist Churches and evangelical nondenominational churches during that time.
I hold degrees in religion and pastoral ministry from Southern Adventist University and post-graduate Clinical Pastoral Education with University Hospital and Baptist Hospital in Pensacola, Florida. You can read about my personal conversion story of how I went from a Catholic to Protestant and met Jesus Christ as my personal Savior, bringing me a new purpose, identity, and a God-given plan for my life! – “Teenage Wasteland.”
In years past I was active with a banquet comedy schedule, but recently my wedding and church ministry has dominating my calendar. I still accept a few stand-up comedy performances, as I can. I am passionate about encouraging others “not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10 ESV) and have shared much of my comedy bits in my book Merry Medicine for the Soul.
I have also written a few other books including 21 Motivational Insights on Leadership Enrichment, How to Pray, Five Steps to Writing Memorable Wedding Vows, and Simple Wedding Ceremony Planning Guide.
And a final toot on my own horn, I have acted in two funeral home TV commercials (playing the part of a minister!), once hosted a 4-year running syndicated radio show called “Ask the Bible,” and I have had the honor of being featured on national television, including ABC Good Morning America, Fox New’s Hannity’s America, and Christian Television Network.
OUR MISSION STATEMENT…
Steve Durkac Weddings exists to provide the Gulf Coast destination and resident bride and groom with evangelical pastoral officiating, simple photography options, and do-it-yourself planning assistance that make the marriage ceremony spiritually meaningful, conveniently affordable, and personally memorable!
Brides and Martha Stewart Weddings have said: “Rev. Steve Durkac is the pastor of West Mobile Bible Fellowship, a nontraditional Evangelical Christian church ministry, and officiates close to 200 weddings annually along the Gulf Coast beaches of Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, and at his West Mobile Wedding Chapel.”
I am North Dakota born, Ohio bred, but when I’m gone, I’ll be Alabama dead. (I know, that’s an Oklahoma saying.) I’ve been in this beautiful state since 1996 and now live in Mobile, Alabama with my beautiful bride, family, and a pet dachshund “Keef.”
My four children have all been involved in helping with this wedding ministry service, through photography, coordinating assistance, and around our wedding chapel.
I have some favorite stories to tell, stories that shaped my life, and one of those is my story of adoption. I was adopted by my parents from Fargo, North Dakota in 1962 when I was only 3 months old and spent my growing-up years in a small burg outside of Toledo, called Rossford, Ohio.
(I am actually bi-lingual, I can say Go Bucks and Roll-Tide! I really have three favorite teams: Ohio State, Alabama, and whoever is playing Michigan!)
I grow up with four other adopted siblings as a Durkac in a family of five kids, and have just recently begun to learn a little more about my biological family back in the Fargo-Moorhead area of North Dakota.
Adoption is an awesome expression of love, and in my case, it was a difficult option for a mother who was courageously doing what was best for my life. Adoption is also an awesome expression of our heavenly Father’s love and Scripture even uses the term adoption to describe the born-again experience.
I am passionate about marriage, the family, and adoption and the God-designed power it communicates about the gospel. and transform lives for eternal life. I enjoy speaking to audiences on that inspirational topic through The Grandma Story and the principles of staying in love beyond the wedding.
THEOLOGY OF MARRIAGE…
Marriage, as I believe, is defined by Scripture, given to humanity as the living representation of the image of our Creator, a model of the heavenly union between Christ and believers, providing the character sanctifying relational dynamics of commitment with one different from the other, and the ideal of perpetuating the human family through the ability to procreate and parent through that context of the complete image of God defined as mother and father, husband and wife, male and female.
As the pastor of CrossHope Chapel I am in willful agreement with the Doctrines of our Church and am willing bound by our Statement on Marriage and Sexuality and therefore I do refrain from officiating same-sex unions, vow renewals, commitment ceremonies, wedding services, or gay marriage celebrations.
I believe all people, regardless of sexual orientation, have civil rights, and are equally children of the human family. I do not condone prejudice, accusations, or abuse against homosexuals, and I advocate respect and non-discrimination on behalf of such, through relationship experiences of gay family and friends and in general. I also believe in equal respect and non-discrimination in regard to opposing advocacy and the religious liberty First Amendment civil rights and constitutional protection of Evangelical Christian convictions.
Need to Talk?
If you live in the Gulf Coast area I will be happy to sit down with you over a cup of coffee at an area Starbucks or meet at our wedding chapel or Skype.