SAMPWED.JTM - A non-theistic wedding ceremony by James T. McCollum well suited to mixed fa

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SAMPWED.JTM - A non-theistic wedding ceremony by James T. McCollum well suited to mixed faith marriages, where the couple are basically Humanists ------------------------------------------------------------------ The Wedding Ceremony of ANGUS ANDREW MALCOLM and FLORA MacDONALD at the Pullman Memorial Universalist Church, Albion, New York on 22 December 1993 OPENING WORDS: We are gathered here, not to witness the beginning of what will be, but rather what already is! We do not create this marriage, because we cannot. We can and do, however, celebrate with Angus, Flora and their families the wondrous and joyful occurrence that has already taken place in their lives. So let the celebration begin! THE PROCESSIONAL: Trumpet Tune in D, by Henry Purcell Bridal Chorus from Loehengrin, by Richard Wagner Heather MacLeod - Organ THE CELEBRATION OF MARRIAGE: Marriage is a supreme sharing of experience and an adventure in the most intimate of human relationships. It is the joyous uniting of a man and a woman whose comradeship and mutual understanding have flowered into romance. Today Flora and Angus proclaim their love to the world and we who are gathered here rejoice with them and for them in the new life they now undertake together. Marriage is universally regarded as one of the crucial events of human life, taking its place with those other two - the coming hither in birth and the departure from life through death. The joy we now feel is a solemn joy because the act of marriage is fraught with weighty consequences, both social and personal. By this marriage you two will reach a new social status and rise to a new plane of social dignity. But, also, with the founding of the family, there come the most difficult tasks and exacting disciplines which fall to our human lot. Your marriage requires "love," which is a word often used with vagueness and sentimentality. We mean something very real, when we bind ourselves in love. It can mean sweet freedom and fulfillment. When we love we see things other people do not see. We see beneath the surface and observe qualities which make this one different from and dearer than all others. To see with loving eyes is to know inner beauty and to be loved is to be seen and known as we are known to no other. Such love means security. Each of us would like to have an absolute security. This we cannot have, but we come close to it when we are loved - when another human being wants us, wants to share life with us, accepts us, without qualification or reservation, not as perfect, but as human, with strengths and weaknesses. The love of which we speak is not static. It is a growing and dynamic relationship. We dream that tomorrow we will grow and fulfill our possibilities. It is a blessing when someone believes in our dream of ourselves and wants to live with us and help make dreams and aspirations come true. Love of this sort can grow. It is not, like youth, a moment that comes and is gone, remaining only a memory of something which cannot be recovered. It can grow because it has something to grow upon and grow with. It does not become contracted and stale, because it has for its object all the objects with which the two lovers are concerned. Love endures only when the lovers love many things together and not merely each other. True love breeds unlimited courage and confidence. Such courage and confidence we know are yours as you continue your lives together under the ever embracing bond of marriage. In addition to the fund of affection and thoughtful consideration which you have for one another, you will need a capacity for self-sacrifice, patience and forbearance, for this is no light adventure which you are undertaking. The secret of love and marriage is that of religion itself. It is the emergence of the larger self. It is the finding of one's life by losing it. Such is the privilege of husband and wife - to be each himself, herself and yet another; to face the world strong, with the courage of two. The high and fine art of married life is in this mutual enrichment, mental and spiritual, this give and take between two personalities, this mingling of two endowments which depletes neither, but enables each. The more he or she gives, to receive only the more. Marriage is dedication. You give yourself, your life and love, into the hands of the one you love. You do so trustingly and generously. By the same token, each of you receives a gift - the life and love of the other. You receive this gift not only from the one you love, but also from the parents who brought you into the world and reared you and from the personal world of friends and family who are joined in friendship and faith in your marriage. Angus and Flora believe that there should be equality between men and women in every relevant way and that it is especially important for this principle to be recognized in the marriage relationship. Marriage must be a cooperative venture in every sense. It is a relationship based on love, respect and a determination on the part of both wife and husband to adjust to each other's temperaments and moods - in health or sickness, joy or sadness, ease or hardship. We are here to share your joy and hope and to speed you along the path which, henceforth, you are to tread together. May it be the path of blessedness, bright with the fragrant flowers of prosperity and spiritual conquest; a path of deepening and widening love that you shall travel arm in arm throughout eternity. Reading by Ian Campbell: Song of the Open Road Listen! I will be honest with you. I do not offer the old smooth prizes, but I offer rough new prizes. These are the days that must happen to you: You shall not heap up what is called riches, You shall scatter with lavish hand all that you earn or achieve. However sweet the laid-up stores. However convenient the dwelling, You shall not remain there. However sheltered the port, and however calm the waters, You shall not anchor there. However welcome the hospitality that welcomes you, You are permitted to receive it but a little while. Afoot and lighthearted, take to the open road, Healthy, free, the world before you, The long brown path before you leading wherever you choose. Say only to one another: Comerado, I give you my hand! I give you my love more precious than money, I give you myself before preaching or law: Will you give me yourself? Will you come travel with me? Shall we stick by each other as long as we live? Walt Whitman The Ceremony of the Candles: Our community is shared, if in a different way, by those who have passed beyond this life. Their roles in the lives of Flora and Angus are no less remembered and honored as we savor today's joyous moments. Join with us, then, in fond memory of all these people, and in particular (Name/s of Deceased to be remembered). In their memory, let us be silent together. In all the quiet of this very special moment, we pause, also, to give thanks for all the rich experiences of life that have brought Flora and Angus to this high point in their lives. We are grateful for the values which have flowed into them from those who have loved them and nurtured them and pointed them along life's way and for the values which they have found by their own strivings. We are grateful that within them is the dream of a great love and the resources to use that love in creating a home that shall endure. The heritage each brings to this marriage will continue to be an important element in their lives, but now will be shared between them. In commemoration of the merging of these two rich heritages and in memory of those, living and dead, who were part of these heritages, I now invite Angus's parents and Flora's parents to bring forth lighted candles, representing each of the families of this couple. Angus and Flora will now light the flaming chalice with these candles, symbolizing the union of their two families in this marriage and the rich heritage each brings to it. As Flora and Angus light the chalice, they do not extinguish their flames. Although they are embarking upon a new and unique relationship in the union of their lives in marriage, they, nonetheless, retain their own separate and unique identities and personalities. (NOTE: The parents of the Bride and Groom each obtain a lighted candle from opposite sides of the front of the sanctuary or room in which the wedding is taking place, lighting it from stationary candles that have been burning throughout the service. They, in turn, present the lighted candles to their respective child. The couple then jointly light the flaming chalice at the center of the sanctuary. This ceremony signifies the heritage each is bringing to the marriage and the blending of these two heritages. If the third paragraph is used, the candles are not extinguished as the chalice is lit, but are placed in holders alongside. Appropriate music should accompany this ceremony) THE COMMITMENT: This celebration is the outward token of a sacred and inward union of hearts, which the church and temple may bless and the state make legal, but which neither state nor church can create or annul. It is a union created by your loving purpose and kept by your abiding will. It is in this spirit and for this purpose that you have come here to be joined together. Angus, will you have this woman to be thy wedded wife, to live together in marriage; will you love her, comfort her, and honor her, in sickness and in health, in sorrow and in joy, so long as you both shall live? ANGUS: I will! Flora, will you take this man to be thy wedded husband, to live together in marriage; will you love him, comfort him, and honor him, in sickness and in health, in sorrow and in joy, so long as you both shall live? FLORA: I will! Will all you, here present, promise and commit yourselves to support and uphold this union of these two people? CONGREGATION: Yes! The Ceremony of the Rings Traditionally, the marking of the passage to the status of husband and wife is marked by the exchange of rings. These rings are a symbol of the unbroken circle of love. Love freely given has no beginning and no end. Love freely given has no giver and no receiver - for each is the giver and each is the receiver. May these rings remind you always of the vows you have taken here today. ANGUS: (Cued) This ring, a gift for you, symbolizes my desire that you be my wife from this day forward. FLORA: (Cued) This ring, a gift for you, symbolizes my desire that you be my husband from this day forward. Inasmuch as Flora and Angus have consented together in this ceremony to live in wedlock and have witnessed their vows in the presence of this company, by the giving and receiving of rings, it gives me great pleasure to now pronounce that they are husband and wife! Treat yourselves and each other with respect, and remind yourselves often of what brought you together. Take responsibility for making the other one feel safe, and give the highest priority to the tenderness, gentleness and kindness that your connection deserves. When frustration, difficulty and fear assail your relationship, as they threaten all relationships at sometime or another, remember to focus on what is right between you, not only the part that seems wrong. In this way, you can ride out the times when clouds drift across the face of the sun in your lives, remembering that, just because you may lose sight of it for a moment, does not mean the sun has gone away. And, if each of you take total responsibility for the quality of your life together, it will be marked by abundance and delight. You may now kiss! The Toast to Life (A Wine Toast) The years of your lives are as a cup of wine poured out for you to drink. The grapes when they are pressed give forth their good juices for the wine. Under the wine press of time our lives give forth their labor and honor and love. This cup contains within it the sweet wine of happiness and hope. This same cup, at times, holds the bitter wine of sorrow and despair. One who drinks deeply of life invites the full range of experience into his or her being. This cup is symbolic of the pledges you have made to one another to share together the fullness of life. As you drink from this cup, you acknowledge that your lives, until this moment separate, have become one vessel into which all your sorrows and joys, all your hopes and fears, will be poured, and from which you will receive mutual sustenance. Many days you will sit at the same table and eat and drink together. Drink now, and may the cup of your lives be sweet and full to overflowing. Kenneth Patton Hymn to be sung by the Congregation: Prayer for This House - Untermeyer/Quaile May nothing evil cross this door, And may illfortune never pry About these windows; may the roar And rain go by. By faith made strong, the rafters will Withstand the battering of the storm. This hearth, though all the world grow chill Will keep you warm. Peace shall walk softly through these rooms, Touching our lips with holy wine, Till every casual corner blooms Into a shrine. With laughter drown the raucous shout And, though these sheltering walls are thin, May they be strong to keep hate out And hold love in. Hymn 159, Songs for the Celebration of Life Beacon Press, 1964 THE AFFIRMATION: We know not what the future may bring into the lives of Angus and Flora, but we pray that together they may be equal to the needs of their tomorrows. May they find patience in time of stress, strength in time of weakness, courage in time of discouragement, vision in time of doubt, and, in all time, a growing love. We who are here present, and those who are absent, thinking of these two people, hope that the inspiration of this hour will not be forgotten. May they continue to love one another forever. APACHE WEDDING PRAYER Now you will feel no rain, for each of you will be shelter for the other. Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be warmth to the other. Now you are two persons, but there is only one life before you. Go now to your dwelling to enter into the days of your life together. And may your days be good, and long upon the earth. Traditional THE RECESSIONAL: Mairi's Wedding (Lewis Bridal Song), Traditional Dugald MacCrimmon - Great Highland Pipes


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