An American Baptist Gay Wedding Ceremony
BY: Officiated by Rev. Howard Bess
September 20, 2002
Dear Friends, we have come together in the presence of God, family, and friends to witness and celebrate the joining together of Laura and Carelie in holy marriage. The bond of marriage was established in creation. The creator noted, according to Bible tradition, that people should not live life alone. God gave Adam and Eve to one another so that they could live in partnership. Our Lord Jesus Christ acknowledged this manner of life by joining in a marriage celebration in Cana of Galilee. He further blessed the celebration with his first recorded miracle when he changed water into fine wine.
Today's celebration is important and special because the commitments of Carelie and Laura to one another are being marked by public celebration and Christian blessing. The commitments are time tested and well understood, but public acknowledgment has been lacking. Our civil government continues to refuse to grant legal standing and to recognize the virtue of Laura's and Carelie's relationship. Today a part of Christ's Church is recognizing the rightness and the holiness of their relationship. It is with great joy that we come to today's celebration.
The union of two persons in heart, body, and mind is intended by God for their mutual joy, for the help and comfort given one another in prosperity and adversity, and for the securing of the roles of parents, children, and family. Therefore, marriage is not entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, deliberately, and in accordance to the purposes for which it was instituted by God and blessed by the Church.
The Commitment to Marriage
Laura, will you have Carelie to be your beloved spouse, to live together in the holy estate of marriage? Will you love her, comfort her, honor, and keep her in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, be faithful to her, so long as you both shall live?
Carelie, will you have Laura to be your beloved spouse, to live together in the holy estate of marriage? Will you love her, comfort her, honor, and keep her in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, be faithful to her, so long as you both shall live?
Words of Wisdom
Once Jesus was asked what the greatest of all commandments might be. He responded "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, strength, and soul."
In the experience of married life, keeping priorities is important but not always easy. As important as loving each other is, it is even more important to love God. To love God is to love life, to nurture life, to treat life gently and with care. Truly loving life leads to a life lived well.
The Bible also reminds us that we are to love one another. God is the fountainhead of love, and the persons who truly love one another know God. It is because God loves us that we are able to love one another.
In the book of I Corinthians we find a marvelous poem about the nature and workings of love. Listen carefully.
Even though I speak in the tongues of human beings and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong and a clanging cymbal. If I have powers of prophecy and understand all mysteries and if I know everything, and if I have so much faith that I can move mountains, and do not know how to love, I am nothing. If I give away everything that I have and do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in the wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. So faith, hope and love are with us, but the greatest of these is love.
Therefore, Laura and Carelie, make love your aim.
I, Carelie, take you Laura to be my beloved spouse.to have and to hold from this day forward..for better, for worse..for richer, for poorer..in sickness and in health..to love and to cherish..as long as we both shall live..to this I give you my promise.
I, Laura, take you Carelie to be my beloved spouse..to have and to hold from this day forward..for better, for worse..for richer, for poorer..in sickness and in health..to love and to cherish..as long as we both shall live..to this I give you my promise.
Sealing the Promises with Rings
Carelie, I place this ring on your finger..as a seal of all the promises I have made to you.
Laura, I place this ring on your finger..as a seal of all the promises I have made to you.
Prayer of Blessing
Because Carelie and Laura have made promises to one another and have sealed those promises with the giving and receiving of rings in the presence of God and under the witness of family and friends, I declare them joined together in holy marriage, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Those whom God has joined, let no human being or group of human beings divide.
Laura Bandt and Carelie Coombe, joined together in holy marriage.