In what was described as “A Match Made in Heaven,” popular Vincentian sports personalities Stanley “Luxie” Morris and Dr. Roxie Irish finally tied the knot Saturday after four decades of an intermittent relationship.
Morris, a St. Vincent and the Grenadines sports ambassador represented his country in soccer (football), was captain of the national soccer team, coach of the national youth soccer team, and coach and manager of Team St. Vincent and the Grenadines in New York’s Caribbean Soccer Cup and Irish, a Born-Again Christian since a youth and a former national netball star, said “I do” to each other at a very solemn and passionate ceremony at Irish’s home church, Miracle Temple Ministries, an evangelical church in Brownsville, Brooklyn.
Dr. Irish, a youth minister at the church, is also president and founder of the popular United Vincie Cultural Group of Brooklyn (UVCGB).
The couple first met in 1979 when Morris returned home from the United States to participate in a “Colors and White” Soccer Match during the national team camp at the Arnos Vale Playing Field, outside the Vincentian capital, Kingstown. Irish was participating in a netball game at the adjacent netball court.
In the intervening years, Morris admitted that he had “strayed” but realized that he needed to “reconsider and reconnect,” according to the wedding program.
“Although many years passed, he knew his heart belonged to Roxie,” it says. “He changed his life, rekindled the flame and, in May 2018, by God’s grace only, Stanley proposed to Roxie,” it adds. “She accepted, and they got engaged.”
“Today, here they are, man and wife, together forever in the presence of God and man,” the program continues. “And Stanley says, ‘Only God, only God, in Him alone I trust and will for the rest of my life.”
Many Vincentian community leaders, parishioners at Miracle Temple Ministries and members of the clergy were among relatives, friends, supporters and members of the Vincentian sporting fraternity at the standing-room-only, 1 ½ -hour-long ceremony, presided over by the church’s Jamaican-born pastor, Bishop Dr. Ermine Stewart.
“On this occasion, you have the right formula,” Bishop Stewart told the couple before asking them to exchange wedding rings. “I believe if you love, you will last and last and last, and will last forever.
“You’re going to deal with positives and negatives; but, once you love each other, your marriage will last,” assured Bishop Stewart, who was married for 56 years to his Jamaican-born wife before she died recently.
He, however, emphasized that effective communication is the key to a successful marriage.
In his marriage/wedding message, Pastor Glenn, whose full name was not given, of Harvison Church in Greenwich, Conn., where Morris worships, asked Morris, rhetorically: “Who would believe you will find a netball player (huge applause)?
“Truly, this is ‘A Match Made in Heaven’ (applause),” he said, invoking the theme of the ceremony. “This marriage is a picture of God.
“Stanley and Roxie, we salute you on your wedding,” Pastor Glenn added. “And we pray that God will bless you all the days of your life.”
The Bridal Party comprised Faith Barnett, the bride’s best friend, as Maid of Honor, and seven bridesmaids – Dailene Bobb, the bride’s younger sister; Sherry-Ann Morris, sister of the groom; Nicole Grant; Michelle Maxwell; Maxene Parris; Dionne Thomas; and Kimberle Thompson.
On the groom’s side, Garth Williams — the groom’s best friend, who flew in for the occasion from St. Vincent and the Grenadines – served as Best Man.
The seven groomsmen were: Perrie Allen; Josyl Barchue and Denzeyl Morris, the groom’s nephews; Cody Bobb and Andrew Gabriel, the bride’s nephews; Orande “Kemmy” Christopher, a former St. Vincent and the Grenadines national youth calypso monarch and former soccer player in Brooklyn’s Caribbean Cup; and Kijuan Dale.
Trisha Primus was junior bridesmaid; Zachary Spence, the bride’s nephew, served as junior groomsman; Rolan Francis was ring bearer; and Taryn Mantock and Victoria Frith were flower girls.
About 360 guests — including St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ United States Consul General, Howie Prince; former St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ Ambassador to the US, Organization of American States and United Nations, Kingsley Layne; and erstwhile St. Vincent and the Grenadines Deputy Consul General to New York, Cyril “Scorcher” Thomas — attended the subsequent four-plus-hour long reception at Leonard’s Piazzaro in Great Neck, Long Is.
In his toast, Williams said he and Morris were school mates at the St. Vincent Grammar School, one of the top secondary schools on the island, stating that they “played soccer and cricket, and ‘limed’ together.
“We remained buddies and best friends,” added Williams, disclosing, however, that he was 33 years and 36 days ahead of Morris in marriage.
Barnett said she “prayed and yearned,” and “got anxiety attacks for this day.”
“Roxie, I’m proud of you,” she said in toasting the couple. “You’re a woman of integrity, you’re a virtuous woman, you’re a woman of class.
“Roxie, I wish you joy,” she added. “Stanley, I wish you joy. I love you both, and thank you for being a part of this.”
Morris said he had prayed to God to change his life around and that he knew he had found “someone special” in Roxie.
“I knew then I’ve found a gem,” he added, alluding to their first encounter in 1979. “I strayed somewhat.”
Roxie retorted that she’s watched how Morris “has grown” in Christ.
“We kept in touch, but God has the last say,” she said. “Stanley ‘Luxie’ Morris is a child of God.
“I love you, and I can’t wait for us to do whatever together,” she added to loud laughter, prompting Master of Ceremonies, Bishop Dr. David N. McDonald to remark: “I never heard Dr. Irish speak like that.”