The modest church in Studio City, CA, where President Ronald Reagan married the love of his life, Nancy Davis, on March 4, 1952 has become a common wedding site for Japanese couples who honor Reagan.
The church’s associate pastor, Michael Kosik, told the Los Angeles Times that The Little Brown Church often hosts Japanese couples for their wedding as part of a package deal. The couples follow their weddings with a trip to Disneyland.
23,000 weddings have been performed at The Little Brown Church; the Reagan’s wedding was the 1,761st marriage ceremony celebrated there.
Senior Minister Russell Willoughby gleefully noted the church also holds same-sex wedding ceremonies, pointing out that he openly challenged Proposition 8, the measure banning gay marriage passed by citizens but later overturned by the California federal appeals court. He chuckled, “The Reagans are probably spinning in their graves, because we are a very progressive church.”
Willoughby has stated, “Our denomination is very ecumenical. This inherent openness is one of our greatest strengths. Church of the Valley is an official open and affirming congregation, which means that we have voted, as a congregation, to be radically inclusive of all regardless of sexual orientation, gender identification, social status, racial identity, ethnic background or nation of origin.”
Willoughby acknowledged to the Times that “loose talk” suggested that the church building might be moved to the Reagans’ ranch.