Campbell and Pappas Wedding Ceremony

Campbell-Pappas wedding - exchange of ringsMain Line Unitarian Church
Devon, Pennsylvania
12 May 2012

Wedding Ceremony
for
Jennifer Wickham Campbell & Bruce Thomas Pappas

Prelude

Processional (organ)

Invocation: (Psalm 1 – Steve Mitchell [trans.])

Blessed are the man and woman
Who have grown beyond a hunger for material things,
Put an end to petty jealousies and anger born of injury,
And who no longer nurture illusions.
Instead they delight in the way things are
And keep their hearts open, day and night.
They are like trees planted near flowing rivers,
Which bear fruit when they are ready.
Their leaves will not fall or wither.
Everything they do will succeed.

 

Welcome:

Friends, we have been called together to bear witness to the happiness that this couple – Jennifer Wickham Campbell and Bruce Thomas Pappas – has found together, and to bear witness to their mutual pledges and their commitment to a shared future.

We rejoice with them that they have found in each other a partner that compliments them so well and love them so completely. It is our fondest wish that, from this day forward, their days will be rich in meaning and filled with joy because they are sharing life with one another.

Marriage is founded on an intimate promise. It is a promise to a lifetime of love and support, of laughter and forgiving, and of fidelity and understanding. It is a commitment that begins with a public proclamation but does not end there. Their demonstrated devotion to one another and their individual maturity in life not withstanding, Bruce and Jenny’s marriage will doubtless unfold to many new discoveries and unforeseen compromises, unexpected joys and necessary adjustments.

Through the years to come marriage vows will be an acknowledgment between them that they will grow together and indeed, will grow old together.

 

Affirmation of the Couple:

(. . . to Bruce) And so now I ask you Bruce, do you embrace Jenny with your mind, body, and spirit to be your wife, to live together in the holy estate of marriage, to love, comfort, and honor her, through life’s joys and sorrows, and be faithful to her, as long as you both shall live?   I do.

(. . . to Jenny) And so now I ask you Jenny, do you embrace Bruce with your mind, body, and spirit to be your husband, to live together in the holy estate of marriage, to love, comfort, and honor him, through life’s joys and sorrows, and be faithful to him, as long as you both shall live?   I do.

 

To the congregation:

It is appropriate that you, the families and dear friends, are here to participate in this wedding. Your presence shows that Bruce and Jenny take with them into this marriage, not only their own commitment to each other, but also your commitment and encouragement to them.

A marriage is, above all, an intimate relationship between two persons. But it also has wider ramifications for all those whose lives touch those of the couple; the lives of relatives, friends, and the members of the couple’s larger circle of community.

Mindful of that, will the members of Jenny and Bruce’s extended families please stand?

 

Affirmation of the Family

Do you, the members Jenny and Bruce’s families honor the desires of these, your kin? Will you give them your loving support, respect the sanctity of their home, and grant your blessing upon their union.

If so, please say, “We do.”

Will the families please remain standing?

 

Affirmation of the Congregation (please rise)

I ask all of you who are gathered in witness to this ceremony, do you pledge your support to Bruce and Jenny in the commitment that they are making to one another today and freely offer your blessings upon their union?

All: “We do.”

May these commitments enrich and ennoble all your lives.

 

Hymn #311 “Let It Be a Dance” (3 verses)

Reading: “Blessings For Marriage,” John O’Donohue [read by Elaine Friedman]

As spring unfolds the dream of the earth,
May you bring each other’s hearts to birth.
As the ocean finds calm in view of land,
May you love the gaze of each other’s mind.
As the wind arises free and wild,
May nothing negative control your lives.
As kindly as moonlight might search the dark,
So gentle may you be when light grows scarce.
As surprised as the silence that music opens,
May your words for each other be touched with reverence.
As warmly as the air draws in the light,
May you welcome each other’s every gift.
As eloquent as dream absorbing the night,
May sleep find you clear of anger and hurt.
As twilight harvests all the days’ color,
May love bring you home to each other.
Interlude: “The Wedding Sermon” Todd Thomas

Homily:

After hearing Todd sing a song titled “The Wedding Sermon,” I feel that my remarks at this point might be superfluous, but Jenny and Bruce asked me to say a few words on the occasion of their wedding, and it is my privilege to do so.

Often when I meet with couples that are planning their weddings, they ask me for resources to help shape their thinking about the ceremony. The book that I recommend to them is titled Into the Garden; an anthology of poetry and prose on love and marriage. When we think of budding young love or mature love flowering in elegant beauty, we often conjure in our minds the image of a “garden,” particularly in spring. And why not? Lush with new growth, fragrant with the smell of blossoms, and splashed with the fragile splendor of lovely new flowers, how could we not identify the beauty and gentleness of spring’s arrival in a handsome garden with the arrival of love into the lives of others about whom we care deeply? How much more so when we are blessed with a splendid spring day on which to celebrate the bond of union between a couple that is forged in love. We like to see renewal and growth in the lives of our friends as much as we enjoy it in nature.

Quite apart from any association with marriage, I love a beautiful garden. I remember, as a boy, visiting some stunning gardens when we lived in England. The British are legendary for their almost obsessive care of gardens. No matter how modest the size, they take great pride in their plot of ground and invest themselves fully in its upkeep. In particular, I loved the huge estate gardens. I marveled at the vast scope, the careful design, and the gentle beauty.

I recently took a visiting friend to Longwood Garden, because I was sure that he would enjoy it as much as I. We had a great time, and both of us said exactly the same thing, “Holy smoke, can you imagine how hard it is to maintain this place?”

Which brings me back to marriage. A beautiful marriage is every bit as admirable as a beautiful garden. I enjoy basking in the presence of a truly loving couple as much as I enjoy sitting in a splendid garden on a warm, spring day. The marriages I admire the most are those that have been carefully constructed and nurtured over time, just like those estate gardens that dazzle, enchant, and amaze me.

I don’t really think that I need to expand much on this metaphor. You’re smart people; you know what I’m telling you.

When it comes to gardens, choose wisely what you plant; be humble and recognize your limitations; learn from your mistakes and start again; invest time and energy to make it grow; offer nourishment; keep it strong so that it can withstand life’s harsher seasons; be patient and persistent in coaxing beauty forth; make the garden an expression of who you are; and – above all – make it some place that you really want to spend as much time as possible. Chances are that if you’re successful in creating such a space, a lot of other people will want to spend time enjoying the beauty and tranquility of your garden as well.

When it comes to your marriage, do all these same things. Chances are the end result will be an elegant, beautiful, happily married couple whom their family and friends admire and respect, and in whose presence people want to spend time, as much as they might enjoy spending time sitting in a splendid garden on a warm, spring day.

Go forth into your garden and make it a place of beauty and harmony. Bless you both.

 

Exchange of Vows:  . . . please repeat after me:

I, Bruce, take you, Jenny, to be my wife
I promise to
hold you, and the people and things that you hold dear,
close to my heart;
to listen carefully and care for you,
especially when you are vulnerable;
to speak to you truthfully,
even when there are difficult things to say;
to give you the fruits of my labor with love;
and to commit myself daily to re-creating my love for you.

Jenny, please repeat after me:

I, Jenny, take you, Bruce, to be my husband
I promise to
hold you, and the people and things that you hold dear,
close to my heart;
to listen carefully and care for you,
especially when you are vulnerable;
to speak to you truthfully,
even when there are difficult things to say;
to give you the fruits of my labor with love;
and to commit myself daily to re-creating my love for you.

May I have the rings, please.”
Chloe (dog) comes forward with Rings

Blessing of the Rings:

Spirit of All that is Good and Holy, bless these rings that they may be forever symbols of an unbroken circle of love. Love freely given has no beginning and no end. Love freely given has no giver and no receiver. May this couple abide in an unbroken circle of love unto their life’s end. Amen.


Giving of Rings:

(Bruce takes Jenny’s ring) May he who gives this ring and she who wears it abide in peace unto their life’s end. Please repeat after me:
With this ring, I thee wed
And pledge to you my faithful love.
(Jenny takes Bruce’s ring) May she who gives this ring and he who wears it abide in peace unto their life’s end. Please repeat after me:
With this ring, I thee wed
And pledge to you my faithful love.
Prayer:
Spirit of Holiness that dwells within each
and moves among all,
God of our understanding,
we gather in celebration this evening
to invoke and offer blessings upon Jenny and Bruce.
May their life together be long, their love lasting, and
may they be wealthy in all the humble things
that truly make a human life rich.
Bless them with determination and courage;
strength and faith.
May their trials be endurable, their hardships bearable,
and their sorrows surmountable.
Bless them with peace and prosperity;
health and happiness.
May their joys be amplified, their hopes multiplied,
and their love magnified always.
And may the assembled love that attends them
at this very moment – in this very place –
be more than a mere memory,
may it be alive in their hearts
and a constant blessing in their lives,
on this day and evermore.
AMEN.
Pronouncement:

Inasmuch as Bruce and Jenny pledged themselves to one another in marriage, witnessed the same before this company, and sealed their union with the giving and receiving of rings, I do therefore, most joyfully, pronounce that they are husband and wife. You may now kiss.
Presentation:

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, as husband and wife, Bruce Pappas & Jenny Campbell.

 

Benediction:

May you find great happiness in your union.
May you live faithfully together,
fulfilling the vow and covenant
you have made here today,
and may you ever live in sympathy, harmony,
and understanding,
that your hearts may be rich in the joys of life,
and your days good, and long upon the earth.
May the love which overcomes all differences,
which heals all wounds, which puts to flight all fears,
which reconciles all who are separated,
be in us and among us now and always.
Amen.

Recessional

Postlude