A Pastoral Liturgy for the Blessing of Same

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A Pastoral Liturgy for the Blessing of Same-Gender Partnership originally used in St
Luke’s Church, Charlton, reproduced on the Changing Attitude website with the
permission of the author, Jeffrey Heskins, from his book Unheard Voices, (London:
Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd, 2001), pp. 227-231.
A Service of Affirmation and Blessing
Music or hymn (optional).
Introduction
Minister: Brothers and sisters, we meet here in the presence of God to celebrate
and affirm the commitment of N and N to each other. May they, through the
assistance of the Holy Spirit, commit themselves today to each other; promising to
live together in love, faithfulness, trust and forgiveness. While they make this
solemn covenant we remember that our Saviour Jesus Christ shows us the path of
courage and selfless love as we ask God’s blessing on their lives. We join in
rejoicing with them and offer them support with our love and prayers. Let us hold
them in our hearts as we commit their lives to the love and grace of God.
Pause for a moment of silence before the minister continues.
Loving and gracious God, who made us in your image and sent your son Jesus Christ
to welcome us home; protect us in love and empower us for service. Through the
power of the Holy Spirit may N and N become living signs of his love and may we
uphold them in the promises that each will make this day, through Jesus Christ our
Lord.
All: Amen.
Minister: Jesus told us to ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your
soul, with all your strength and with all your mind’ and love your neighbour as
yourself.’ For the love that we receive and give let us all thank God, saying
together….
All:
EITHER: Almighty God, source of all being, we thank you for your love,
which creates and sustains us. We thank you for your unique and
personal gifts to every one of us in our minds, our bodies and our spirits;
and for the blessings of companionship and friendship. We pray that we
may use your gifts so that we can ever grow into a deeper
understanding of love and of your purpose for us, through Jesus Christ
our Lord. Amen.
OR: Almighty God, source of all being, we thank you for your love, which
creates and sustains us. We thank you for the physical and emotional
expression of that love; and for the blessings of companionship and
friendship. We pray that we may use your gifts so that we can ever grow
into a deeper understanding of love and of your purpose for us, through
Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
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Music or hymn (optional).
Reading from Scripture
This should be announced as ‘A reading from…’ and ended with ‘This is the word of
the Lord’.
Questions of Intent
Minister: N and N, is it your intention to enter into a solemn covenant with each
other in love and trust?
Couple: It is.
Minister: Do you offer your lives together for god’s blessing?
Couple: We do.
Minister: Will you be to each other a companion in joy and a comfort in times of
trouble’ and will you give each other opportunity for love to deepen?
Couple: We will, with God’s help.
The Promises
Minister (to each partner in turn): Will you, N, give yourself to N, sharing your
love and your life, your wholeness and your brokenness, your success and your
failure?
Partner: I will.
Couple: We, N and N, witness before God and this congregation that we have
pledged ourselves to each other. We offer you, Lord, our souls and bodies, our
thoughts and deeds, our love for each other and our wish to serve you. Take us as
we are, and make us all that we should be, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
All: Amen
Exchange of Rings or Tokens
Minister: God in Heaven, by your blessing, let these rings/tokens be to N and N
symbols of unending love and faithfulness to remind them of the solemn covenant
and promise made today.
All: Amen
Then each partner in turn presents the ring/token and says:
N, I give you this ring/token as a symbol of my promise, and with all that I am and all
that I have, I honour you in the name of God.
Music or hymn (optional).
During this time the couple may sign their wills and/or certificates marking their vows and
promises to each other (optional.)
Address
Prayers as appropriate concluding with the Lord’s Prayer if there is to be
no Eucharist
These might include the following or something similar.
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Minister: Loving God, whose son Jesus Christ welcomed strangers and called them
his friends, grant to N and N such gifts of grace that they may be bearers of your
friendship and their home a place of welcome for all.
All: Amen
Minister: Jesus, our brother, inspire N and N in their lives together, that they may
come to live for one another and serve each other in true humility and kindness.
Through their lives may they welcome each other in times of need and in their
hearts may they celebrate together in their times of joy, for your name’s sake.
All: Amen
Minister: Holy Spirit of God, guard and defend N and N in their life together,
protect them from evil, strengthen them in adversity until you bring them to the
joy of your heavenly kingdom, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
All: Amen.
The Lord’s Prayer. (Not when a Eucharist follows.)
Bidding to the Company
Minister: Will you the chosen witnesses of N and N do all in your power to
support and strengthen them in the days ahead?
All: We will.
Minister: God has called us to live with each other in the spirit of love, joy and
peace. Let us all share a sign of God’s peace. The peace of the Lord be always with
you.
All: And also with you.
Minister: Let us offer one another a sign of God’s peace.
The company greets N and N and each other.
Music or hymn (optional).
(A Eucharist may follow, the form to be agreed between the presiding priest and the
couple.)
The Blessing
Minister: N and N have now given themselves to each other by solemn promises
and the making of a covenant. Let us now pray that they may be sustained by
God’s love.
Spirit of God, you teach us through the example of Jesus that love is the fulfilment
of the Law, help N and N to persevere in love, to grow in mutual understanding,
and to deepen their trust in each other; that in wisdom, patience and courage,
their life together may be a source of happiness to all with whom they share it; and
the blessing of God Almighty, Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer be upon you to
guide and protect you and all those you love, today and always.
All: Amen.
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Dismissal
Minister: Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
All: In the name of Christ. Amen.
As the couple and their friends leave, music may be played.
Members of the congregation at St Luke’s, Charlton drew up this pastoral liturgy. Some of the prayers
in this service were adapted from Exploring Lifestyles published by the Lesbian and Gay Christian
Movement. Other material was drawn from liturgies used at the time at St Luke’s.
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