Gina, 39, and Chris, 34, met in 2005 at the Tucson, Ariz., church they attended: Gina as a member, Chris as a new pastor. At age 30, Gina had two young daughters and had just lost her husband to cancer. A mutual interest in hiking helped them get to know one another. They married Feb. 17, 2007, and live in Matthews. Gina tells their story.
On the trail: Chris and I were introduced after the death of my husband and found that we both enjoyed hiking. About five months later, I asked Chris about a particular trail head he’d mentioned, as I wanted to hike while my girls were with the baby sitter. He asked who I was going with and, having become an independent woman, I had planned to go solo. But Chris insisted on coming, thinking my daughters would be orphans if I fell off the mountain.
Moving forward: During that three-hour hike we got to know one another pretty well. After that, he was a frequent visitor at my house: playing with the kids, watching movies, eating meals with us. He had an immediate love for my girls and made me feel like someone special. With limited baby-sitting resources, we joke our wedding day was only our fifth date outside the house.
In due course: As a rule, pastors can’t date members of their congregations, so he had to get permission from the church council for our relationship to proceed. I can’t help but think God has a hand in things when I reflect on timing. Chris’s humor was a breath of fresh air, I love how quick he is on his feet and the vulnerability he expressed in our talks and views on life.
New calling: We had a whirlwind romance: We started dating in May 2006, he proposed that October and we married in February. By March I was pregnant and in August we moved to Charlotte after he was called to Christ Lutheran Church. We love our life together with our three kids in Matthews. Hilary Trenda
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