Skip to main content

UTS Maryland Student Begins the Fall Semester with a Wedding

UTS Maryland student, Renaira Purnell-Young was married this semester to Mr. Keith McBrown on September 15th in Baltimore. Certainly a unique way to begin the Fall semester. From beginning to end, there was a great deal of love and support from all sides. The bridal party arrived early so that the groom would not see the bride until the ceremony. Upon the arrival of the bride, there was a flurry of activity as everyone from the makeup artist and seamstress to the guests supporting her were there, ready and excited to help Renaira get ready. The rest of the bridal party and family arrived and, though it seemed to be a chaotic time, everything fell into place nicely. Once the bride was ready to make her grand appearance, everything flowed beautifully. Rev. Byron Shipman, also a UTS student and the bride’s brother-in-law, conducted the ceremony, making it a wonderful family affair.

As the bride entered the chapel and walked down the aisle, she was greeted with an amazing surprise – the groom sang as she walked.  Everyone was in awe. You could see that the bride was holding back tears of joy as she walked down the aisle to his beautiful song. The bride and groom shared their vows.  They were beautiful and heartfelt. The groom, a spoken word artist, partially spoke his vows and sang the rest. The couple were then pronounced husband and wife. 

Before the end of the ceremony, there was a brief moment of praise not only for the newlyweds, but for the guests as well.  At the end of the day, it felt that everyone had become one with God and that He is the cord that will keep everyone together because of our love and trust in Him. 

A reception followed in which Renaira’s twin sister, Menaira Shipman, also a UTS student, gave a beautiful description of God’s love through marriage and also encouraged and congratulated the couple. The best man spoke, sharing scripture and reminding the couple that marriage is what God wants and honors. 

Overall, the entire ceremony and reception was beautiful.  Everyone ate, danced and ate some more. But the beauty of it all was that a wonderful man and woman who love God, were joined together allowing them to serve God, as a family. Everyone felt blessed to be reminded of what marriage is about. It is not about the couple’s love for one another but first, it is about our love for our Creator.

Renaira Purnell-Young, Toree Oliver and Rev. Byron Shipman are all earning a UTS Master of Religious Education degree.