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WEDDING SERVICE PLANNER
RENEWAL OF VOWS

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MUSICAL PRELUDE

WEDDING PROCESSIONAL - THE ENTRANCE

OPENING WORDS AND PRAYER OF INVOCATION

CANDLE LIGHTING

SCRIPTURE AND OTHER READINGS

WEDDING ADDRESS

DECLARATION OF INTENT

BLESSING OF FAMILY

EXCHANGE OF VOWS

EXCHANGE OF RINGS

DECLARATION AND BLESSING OF MARRIAGE

LIGHTING THE MARRIAGE CANDLE

PRESENTATION OF FLOWER OR SPECIAL GIFT

PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION AND THE LORD'S PRAYER

SIGNING OF REGISTER

INTRODUCTION OF COUPLE AND RECESSIONAL


RENEWAL OF VOWS

From time to time people request a "Renewal of Vows". Most of these requests are associated with a significant Anniversary such as the 10th, the 20th, the 25th, etc. Sometimes, when these request comes, you will discover that the many of the original wedding party are still available to celebrate with the couple. You will also find that the couple generally want to have their children and/or grandchildren involved in some way. One of the ways children and grandchildren can be involved is in the lighting of family candles, standing as "witnesses", and serving as readers. They can also be invited to issue a blessing on their parents.

If a copy of the original wedding service is available it is best to use it. Vows can be adapted by adding the words: "Do you, NAME, once again take NAME to be..." Use your imagination and your sense of grammer to make it work. In this fashion everything in our "Wedding Planner" (or in the couple's original service) can be easily adapted in this manner for a renewal of vows. Remember most couples want more than a simple renewal of vows - they want to re-enact their wedding service - and the wonderful thing is that this time around the focus is often more on the service itself than on the reception, the honeymoon and so forth.

Couples will frequently gift one another with new rings or other items of significance during the renewal (one couple I know gave each other Celtic Crosses to wear). These should be commented upon and blessed in the usual spot.

The following tidbits provide you with some ideas about how to go about things for specific parts of the service and use words not found in the rest of our Wedding Planner.


CANDLE LIGHTING FOR A RENEWAL
(Number of) years ago NAME and NAME joined their lives together in marriage and in doing so they combined their two separate lives into a new and living reality. Today, on the communion table there are three candles which symbolize their individuality and their union as one. NAME and NAME will now light the outside candles which represent their individual lives and then with the flames of those candles, light the centre candle which symbolizes their life together, that candle which is called the Unity Candle. (Lighting of Candles)


VOWS and BLESSING FOR A RENEWAL (McGovern)
NAME and NAME, (number of) years ago you took each other for better and for worse, for richer and for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death. Tonight do you repeat that promise?

Rx: We do.

NAME, (number of) years ago you circled NAME's finger with this ring, as a sign of unbroken love and as a promise of care and concern without end. Today do you repeat that promise, and take NAME again to yourself as God's gift to you?

Rx: I do.

NAME, (number of) years ago, you accepted this ring from NAME as a sign of your willingness to live within the circle of his love and promise of care and concern without end. Tonight do you repeat that promise and take NAME again to yourself as God's gift to you?

Rx: I do.

Blessing:   May God the eternal Father keep you in love with each other so that the peace of Christ may stay with you and always be in your home. May your children & Grandchildren bless you. Your friends console you, and all people live in peace with you. May you always bear witness to the love of the Lord in your life so that all people will find in you generous friends and one day welcome you into the joys of heaven. May the Lord bless you, The Father & the Son & the Holy Spirit, Amen


AN ADDRESS FOR THE RENEWAL OF VOWS
NAME and NAME your lives have been joined together for 40 years. You have learned much. You have loved much. God has blessed you with children and children after them - children who love you and respect you. You are cared for within the community of NAME. You are seen by all as a couple - as one family - as one flesh.

Over the years you have learned the meaning of the words "and the two shall become one". You have joined together. Yet, your individual identities have not been extinguished, but have burned brighter - because in becoming one you also have become more fully yourselves. Love is like that – it brings to fullness and maturity all that is good - it grants people space to become what God wants them to be - it respects what the Spirit has created and the gifts that the Spirit gives to each one individually for the common good, it creates wonderful distinction even as it brings unity of heart, mind, and soul.

So you are two - yet you are one. Your hearts and minds are more deeply joined now than you could have imagined they would be forty years ago. You know one another - as friends, as lovers, as parents, as comrades, as fellow workers. You can finish each other sentences and anticipate just what it is that the other wants or needs. The flesh of your flesh testifies to your union, to your oneness, the Spirit speaks of how you both are as one in the eternal circle of God.

It is a privilege to be with you today - to see that there continues between you a passion for one another - a passion moderated by the comfort of many years together - but a passion none-the-less for that comfort - and indeed perhaps greater because of it. It is good to witness - as I have gotten to know you over the last few months - the care and the respect and concern you have for one another and for those whom God has gifted you with as a couple - your family, your friends, and your community.

As you renew your vows, I urge you to recall those things that have made your relationship succeed, the self-giving, the patience, the making of space, the forgiveness, the encouragement, the prayer, the telling of truth in love, and the willingness to accept and trust one another and to give thanks to God for how he has blessed you. Indeed bless God at all times with your thankfulness and your prayers and your future will be even more blessed than your past.

I would like to conclude my comments by sharing with you a portion of the poem RABBI BEN EZRA by Robert Browning that NAME shared with me with the comment "that it represents the point we are at now":

Grow old along me!
The Best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first made:
Our times are in His hands
Who saith "A whole I have planned."
Youth show but half;
trust God: see all, nor be afraid.
Our times are in his hands! Thank God - and ask that God may continue with you and make your remaining days together ones of ever greater joy and fruitfulness. Amen.


SAMPLE PORTIONS FOR A RENEWAL OF VOWS

The following is the Address and Exchange of Vows, Rings, Blessing and Prayer for a Couple Who Renewed Their Vows on Their 10th Anniversary. It adapted their original service.
ADDRESS
NAME and NAME, today you declare publicly before God, family and friends that special love that is you; and are re-making a lasting commitment to journey through life as partners in love and life.

Today you take a significant step in your relationship by declaring once more, that in spite of the difficulties and hardships of life, that with God's help you will continue to love and be faithful to one another. You again commit yourselves to a love for one another that involves the total giving of yourselves to one another. You covenant to accept each other totally, creating a safe and loving space for each other to grow as individuals and partners and to mature in faith.

You make this covenant today before God, the creator of the life that you share, and the giver of that special love that you have for each other. God will sustain you and your love for each other. God is in fact the source of all that is good and an essential part of all those marriages that we call blessed. As you grow in love for God and as you grow in love with God, so too you will grow in your capacity to love each other.

Today, too, you make this re-commitment in the presence of your families and friends because you do not live alone to yourselves, but as part of a larger community. The support you receive from your family and friends, like God's love, will help you grow as persons as you seek to grow as partners.

May that special love you now share continue to grow and blossom in years to come and be sustained by God, family and friends and the commitment you make again this day.

VOWS: {Face each other and join hands and say after the Presider}:
I, NAME / NAME take you again NAME / NAME to be my wife / husband, to laugh with you in joy, to grieve with you in sorrow, to grow with you in love, wherever life may take us, so that together, we may continue to grow, as partners through the rest of our lives.

CEREMONY OF RINGS: A circle is the ancient symbol of wholeness and peace. It also represents the boundaries beyond which the specialness of a particular relationship does not extend. In the form of a ring the circle is the accepted token of a marriage covenant. As these rings are fashioned from one of the earth's most precious material, Platinum, so may your love, nourished and sustained by the love of God, be the most precious and durable of the values you share. In giving and receiving these rings, you again acknowledge that your lives remain joined in one unbroken circle, wherever you go, you will always return to your shared life together.

THE EXCHANGE OF RINGS: {Each shall give a ring, saying}:
NAME / NAME: I give you this ring that you may wear it as a continuing symbol of the renewal of our vows that we have made this day.

THE KISS

LIGHTING OF THE UNITY CANDLE

DECLARATION: Before God and this company NAME and NAME have renewed their marriage vows. They have re-confirmed their covenant of marriage by the joining of hands, the exchange of rings and by the giving of a kiss. Therefore, I declare them to be renewed as husband and wife.

BLESSING: May there be truth and understanding between you. May you enjoy length of days, fulfilment of hopes, and peace and contentment of mind. May God bless and keep you always.

SIGNS OF AFFIRMATION: Let us now greet: NAME and NAME who have now re-joined one another in commitment and love. (Applause)

PRAYER: Spirit of God, in whom we live and move and have our being, you have given us life and grace of human love that draws us to each other. Today we pray for NAME and NAME in their continued life together. We are thankful for the joy they find in each other and the hope they declare in this act of re-marriage. May they always be strengthened to keep the vows they have made and cherish the life they share, and to honor each other in love. Amen.

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