Cease and desist order issued to minister
CENTRAL - An ordained minister in the City of Central was asked to stop marrying people in her home.
The city began investigating Rhonda Anders after neighbors complained about their quiet street becoming a parking lot on wedding days. Eight couples have been married at her home on Magnolia Bend Rd. this year and at least six more have set dates.
"I'm doing this out of my heart, I'm doing this because I love it, I'm doing this because there's a need," said Anders.
Central says she can't marry people and there's a cease and desist order with a timeline of 30 days to cancel the weddings.
"You can't, turn it into, you know, where you're taking your house, and inviting people on a regular basis to come to your house," said Central CAO David Barrow. "Where you're performing ceremonies or allowing your property to be used for ceremonies as a business."
Couples who have been married at Anders' home say they were looking for a small, intimate venue.
"This is what we wanted, the route we wanted to go, very simple and very special," said Katrina McDaniel.
McDaniel was married by Anders in September. In exchange for services, her and her husband offered a donation of $200, money Anders says she uses for wedding supplies, to purchase a wedding cake if the couple desires, and a marriage license.
The City of Central says she's operating a commercial business out of her home and can continue marrying people, as long as it's not at her house.
"According to the law, you cannot have customers coming to your house, or to your premises," said Barrow.
The order says Rhonda Anders will "cease conducting weddings and receptions and providing cakes, floral arrangements and photography for those weddings and receptions."
Anders says she does not profit from any of the above items.
"How can the government keep you from having religion or ministry in your home," asked Anders.
Anders says she will abide by the law and stop weddings at her home Nov. 9, but does plan to appeal the ruling.