Published: Sunday, Dec. 6th, 2020
AMM MINISTER Samuel Heath
ORDAINED March 15, 2019
AMM Minister Samuel Heath has a calling: To operate on love, and to officiate the hell out of weddings.
“Everybody should be loved,” Samuel says. “Everybody should operate on love. I think love is our greatest resource, and the resource that we don’t use most. So if I’m going to officiate, I’m going to officiate the hell out of the wedding.”
Samuel pauses and smiles, his sincerity captivating. He means it.
“I’m going to make sure that these people love each other and they love each other well. And that they know their love is OK.”
Showing couples that their love is OK is the foundation of Samuel’s work as an AMM Minister. It’s personal, too.
Growing up as a same-gender loving man in a religious community with no space at the pulpit for someone like him, he came to understand at a young age that God is bigger than a church building or the institution behind it.
He began to find God in love.
“I think that love of self plus love of others is love of God,” he explains. “And I think that’s what’s most important.” He adds later, “What’s bigger? Love, or what we think?”
That open mindedness is evident in his wedding ceremonies and the way he works with couples. For example, Samuel’s ‘Duet Sessions’ (a premarital coaching service he developed and coined) are tailored to each couple based on the individuals’ unique needs and habits to help them stay in love.
Samuel doesn’t waste time offering one-size-fits-all advice that won’t support a couple’s love in the long term, because each couple brings their own strengths and weaknesses. Instead, he seeks to build a place of understanding, to recognize what each partner can offer, and what ‘treasures’ or tools they need to move from being lovers to really living and loving together.
The discrimination Samuel's faced, and the discrimination faced by many of the same-gender couples he marries, remind him first-hand of something humankind has always struggled against — Different religions and different cultures have always been divided over the details of faith.
But just as we do here at AMM, Samuel believes love is a potent unifying force, and marriage is a valuable means of protecting and nurturing that love and its communities. He sees love as being truly interfaith.
As he puts it, despite our world’s many divisions:
"One thing we can all agree on is the power of love. I ain’t here for nothing else. I’m here to make sure that we love each other and that we love each other well. So yeah, I’m officiating."
FOLLOW Samuel on Instagram @samrenard
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