Armin Lampe and Birgit Marschall will tie the knot during the church centennial celebration this weekend.

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As a part of the St. John the Baptist Centennial Celebration couple Armin Lampe and Birgit Marschall will tie the knot in a period style wedding in the historic church. As the couple exchanges vows they will celebrate a relationship which spans decades but has only recently come to true fruition. Both Lampe and Marschall are German, and met in Hamburg when Marschall was 14 years old and Lampe was 16. Lampe, now 52, was living with his half-brother at the time and through a serious of connections Marschall ended up coming to their place one day. When the two saw each other it was love at first sight.

“This was it. Birg and I from that day on were together on a daily basis, did everything together,” Lampe said. Lampe grew up in an orphanage and with various members of his family at different times.

An unfortunate result of the tumultuous upbringing was a deep fear of abandonment. This fear led to Lampe breaking off his relationship with Marschall, a heartbreaking decision for both of them. Over the years the two went their own ways. Lampe moved to Canada in about 1986 after visiting and falling in love with Vancouver Island. Marschall stayed in Hamburg and worked for the city. Both had married and had families. Around 2011 Lampe’s daughter managed to connect to a distant relative via Facebook. Lampe wanted to talk to the same relative so he joined the social media site. A day or two later he received a message from Marschall. They began to write one another. Both in failing marriages, they started emailing each other daily. They talked on Skype. They spoke over the phone. They wrote letters and sent parcels. Their circumstances changed and both knew they had to reconnect.

“We had to see each other,” Lampe said. “The first time she came out of the airplane she was so excited, so was I, but so scared. … We looked at each other and we kissed, and we held each other, and it was like I always knew her. We knew right there and then, the two of us knew … this is the person I want to spend the rest of my life with.” Marschall moved to Canada permanently four months ago.

“Love came together and love will stay together. What we always wanted is getting old together, staying together,” Lampe said. “The whole story is about the continuous search for love. In the search of love, I went back to the first love. Real love.” The couple, who now live in Sooke, had planned to get married a few weeks ago but were having a hard time finding the right venue. Their marriage commissioner told them about the centennial event and they thought it would be a lovely way to celebrate their union. “The way it just came together, I believe someone was watching over us the whole time and put it all together, because I couldn’t have put it better together,” Lampe said. “What a great opportunity to have.”