US newlyweds travel to Caton for blessing at namesake church

After discovering an historic family link to the Lancaster district, an American couple decided to jet across the Atlantic to have their wedding blessed at a village church which bears their name.

Wednesday, 9th November 2016, 9:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 3:30 pm
Shawn and Melissa Caton from Kansas.

Newlyweds Shawn and Melissa Caton from Kansas held their wedding blessing at Caton Methodist Church.

As well as being unusual for the bride and groom, the event was also the first wedding blessing at the church for 22 years.

Most of the church’s small congregation turned out for the service and even made a cake for the happy couple.

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Shawn and Melissa Caton from Kansas with the church congregation.

The couple arranged the trip after doing some family history research and discovering they had an historic link to a Lancaster-based shipping company which bore the name of Caton.

Shawn and Melissa held their official wedding in Kansas before flying to England, where they joined the congregation at Cathon Methodist Church for Sunday worship before their blessing two days later.

Rev Eddie Sykes, minister in the north Lancashire Methodist circuit with pastoral oversight of Caton, said: “It’s quite a rare name in the States and they discovered our Caton when they were doing some research and thought it would be a good place to have a wedding blessing.

“They are both members of the United Methodist Church so they wanted that link. They felt incredibly privileged for this to happen for them.”

Shawn and Melissa Caton from Kansas.

Mr Sykes said the Caton congregation was happy to join in with the couple’s special day.

“Everyone was delighted to be able to help,” he said. “They were made very welcome.

“It’s not something we see often in a small village and we felt glad to be a part of it.

“They said it was so nice to be in Caton where people knew how to pronounce their name properly. Both brothers enjoyed that very much!”

Shawn and Melissa Caton from Kansas with the church congregation.

Freelance wedding photographer Steve Pendrill, who was previously a Lancaster Guardian staff photographer, said: “Long distance bookings aren’t that unusual, but Kansas was certainly my furthest and most curious to date.

“I wasn’t sure if it was genuine at first, but I’m glad it was and it was lovely to be part of Melissa and Shawn’s special day.

“The autumn colours at the Crook o’Lune did us proud for the portraits!”

Shawn and Melissa had never visited the UK before and, following the wedding blessing on November 1, they spent some time in the Lake District and Scotland with Shawn’s brother Brian and his wife Michelle, who had flown over from Kansas with them to share their special day.

Shawn and Melissa Caton from Kansas.

They then flew back home to the States on Monday.