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Cornelius News

President Carter officiates at Bethel Church wedding

OK, here’s the story: Long-time fishing buddies go to church because one of them is getting married. The President of the United States says to the bride, “Why in the world would you want to marry this guy?” This isn’t a fish tale.

Hundreds of wedding guests roared with laughter when the 39th president popped that question.Former President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter attended the wedding of Robert Wilson and Ineke Van der Muelen at Bethel Presbyterian Church in Cornelius Oct. 25. It’s the first time in memory that an American president, in office or otherwise, has visited Cornelius.

Carter and Senior Pastor Rev. Dr. Bill Cain officiated at the 5 p.m. nuptials at Bethel Presbyterian. The reception was held at the Langtree Plantation in Mooresville.

“It was a privilege to participate in a wedding with President Carter.  He is not only a President but a man whose faith in Jesus Christ is reflected in all that he does,” Cain said.

Wilson, 69, and the former president met back in 1984, almost four years after Carter left the White House, when both were volunteers with Habitat for Humanity. Around 1994, he and a select group of Carter friends began fishing with the former president at places all over the world.

The President and Mrs. Carter stayed in the Homewood Suites in Davidson, where there was a reception for family and friends Friday night. Before the wedding on Saturday, the men went to Hendricks Motorsports in Concord; Rosalynn Carter and the women toured Metrolina Greenhouses in Huntersville. The Secret Service had a command post on the fifth floor of Homewood Suites, Wilson said.

“The service was formal and informal, serious and humorous,” said Wilson, a long-time construction executive and owner of Rowboat Dock and Dredge in Mooresville. The company built many of the marinas on Lake Norman.

The black Suburbans were not part of the wedding procession; they carried Secret Service agents from Charlotte and from the Carter detail in Plains, Ga., Wilson said. Cornelius photographer Deborah Young, owner of Deborah Young Studio on Catawba Avenue, took pictures of the wedding.

The Wilsons live in Birkdale, within easy walking of the shopping area. Both are long-time Rotarians as well.