There’s Lots of Love on This Boat : Minister Parents Marry Son, Join Newlyweds on Cruise

Times Staff Writer

A wedding isn’t always much I-do about nothing.

Especially if the ministers performing the ceremony are the parents of the groom, who is also a minister.

All of this followed by a honeymoon cruise on which the newlyweds were joined not only by those parents, but by 25 other members of two churches.

Bubbling With Memories


Everyone returned over the weekend, still bubbling with memories of an afternoon in church two weeks earlier, to say nothing of their time in the Caribbean. Fittingly, the cruise was called: “To Celebrate Life.”

“When Stephanie and I signed up separately for the cruise, little did we know that it would be our honeymoon trip,” Christian Sorensen reflected.

For nearly two years he has held the full-time job of senior minister at the Ventura County Church of Religious Science. Both that sanctuary and the Church of Religious Science in North Hollywood began taking reservations late last year for their first-ever sea voyage.

The applicants included Stephanie Davis, Christian Sorensen, Paul and Jackie Sorensen (his parents), 90-year-old Marie Freeman (godmother of Jackie), Beatrice Campodonico (godmother of Christian) and Dr. Fredric Gavlin (godfather of Christian).


That was the cast of mariners, ancient and otherwise.

“On March 14 of this year--my 25th birthday--Stephanie and I were on my boat in the Ventura Marina,” Christian Sorensen recalled. “We had been reading aloud the book ‘A Bridge Across Forever.’ I proposed marriage, and she accepted.”

Everything comes full circle. Each had begun life under the same roof--coming into the world at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital.

Now they would be under the same roof again, in Ventura.

But first, a ceremony, a little different than most. At 1 p.m. on April 27, more than 300 guests gathered inside the Ventura house of worship.

“I still kept the wedding dress I wore when I married Paul in 1957,” the mother of the groom said. “It is white satin, with a train, and lace insets in the bodice.”

Dress a Perfect Fit

Stephanie tried it on. “The fit was perfect,” she said. Wearing it, she and Christian entered the sanctuary--and were greeted by applause.


The groom’s parents are associate ministers at the Ventura church and, at the North Hollywood church to which they belong, are practitioners, which in their religion means being active in the healing arts.

Additionally, Paul Sorensen has been a familiar face on movie and television screens for 30 years. He has appeared in more than 400 television episodes, often as Andy Bradley, a member of the oil cartel in “Dallas.”

Now came a role not many actors get to play. The father and mother officiated at the wedding of their son and his bride.

Incidentally, fitting right in, Stephanie is currently studying to become a minister in the faith. She met her husband when he delivered his first sermon.

Wedding Vows Exchanged

The wedding vows having been recited, everyone repaired to a reception. And the next morning a contingent of them headed to Los Angeles International Airport for a flight to Acapulco, where they would board the Royal Princess.

Everyone except the newlyweds. “I felt I had to give back the energy and love everyone had given me at the wedding,” the groom said.

With his wife looking on in the front pew, Christian Sorensen delivered the Sunday morning sermon, entitled “Set Your Sail.”


At the conclusion, the minister and his student-minister wife did just that, arriving at LAX barely in time for a flight to Acapulco to join his minister parents and the others.

On the flight back from Puerto Rico on Saturday night, the new husband prepared the Mother’s Day sermon he gave Sunday.

For the newlyweds, the days at sea included such diversions as scuba diving into the wreckage of a rusted German ship sunk during World War II.

And, as on all cruises, nobody knows the truffles they’ve seen.

What is known is that, at dinner, there was no shortage of someone to say grace.