A service for use following a Civil Partnership

A Covenant of Special Friendship

In the wonderful Mystery of God,
Love-Making Spirit between us,
Pain-Bearing Presence beside us,
Life-Giving Future before us,
you have been given to me,
to be cherished in a special friendship,
to share my life with you,
(and to care for such children
as may be entrusted to us).

With and in that greater Love,
and in the presence of these our witnesses,
I affirm, renew, and deepen my promise
to do all that I can for your well-being
for as long as I shall live,
to honour you as God’s home,
and to be loyal to you
and full of faith in you,
our life-day long.
Amen. So be it.

Exchange of Rings or other gifts

Prayer:

God of generosity and bounty,
bless these rings
which we also bless in your name.
May N AND N who will wear them
recognize these symbols
of the love that never ends.
May they find gladness in each other,
in mutual giving and receiving,
in the ringed dance of love.
May they be glad in the gift of their bodies,
in touch and passion,
in affection and goodwill.
May they bring to each other tact and generosity,
compassion and forgiveness,
May they share their joys and their sufferings,
their fears and their trust,
each giving the other room to grow
in freedom and in truth.

Exchange:

This ring is a symbol
of never-ending love,
of all that I am
and all that I have.
Receive and treasure it
as a token and pledge
of the love I have for you.
Wear it always,
and find in it a protection
whenever we have to be apart.

Prayer of Offering

Living God,
Creator and Lover of the world,
we offer our lives to you this day,
and our life together in you,
all our words and deeds,
our hopes and fears,
and our amazing love.
Accept us as we,
with all our stumbling
and with all our courage.
Guide us into what you have us to be.
And in the power of your Spirit
enable us to be a sign of your presence in the world,
after the pattern
and in the name
of Jesus your true and well Beloved.

Prayer of Blessing

Spirit of the living God,
strengthen N AND N,
that they may grow and persevere in love,
grow in mutual understanding,
and give to each other ever-deepening trust.
Shower them with your gifts
of wisdom, patience, and courage,
that their love may be a source of happiness
and their home a place of welcome
for all who are their guests.
God the Giver of Life,
God the Bearer of Pain,
God the Maker of Love,
bless, preserve, and keep you.
The light of God shine upon you,
guide you in truth and peace,
and make you strong in love and faith,
that you may grow together in this life,
and you love be taken up even beyond death itself,
and be transfigured to glory.

Bidding to the Witnesses

Will you,
N AND N’S chosen witnesses this day,
do everything in your power
to support and encourage them
in the years ahead,
quietly being there for them
in times of stress and sorrow,
with laughter being there for them
in times of celebration and joy?

We will.

God has called us in the Spirit of friendship
to live in peace.
Let us share with N AND N
and with one another
a greeting of peace.
The Shalom of the living God embrace you:
The peace of the living God touch your heart.

Prayers

Dear God
Giver of life,
Bearer of pain,
Maker of love,
affirming in your incarnation
the goodness of the flesh,
may the yearnings of our bodies
be fulfilled in sacraments of love,
and our earthly embracings to be enjoyed
as a foretaste of the glory to come,
in the light of the Resurrection of Jesus,
our Companion,
our Lover,
and our Guide.
Amen.

Living God,
Source of our being
and Goal of our becoming,
in whose Holy Spirit of Love and Wisdom
we live the nights and days,
by whom our wounds are healed,
and our hurts and hurting are absorbed
and lose their power to harm,
through whom we are drawn close to one another in our bodies,
to be touched and to touch,
to receive and to give,
in pleasure and delight,
in intimacy and trust,
in tremblings of our flesh
and in matings of our soul,
we come to rest in your still ness in gratitude,
and to be recharged with your energy in hope,
that with deep desire rekindled
we may follow the Way of the Maker of Love,
who embodied, once, and for all,
your heart of Love Divine,
and with whom we swive
in the dance of the new creation.
Amen.

A day of blessing,
a day to focus all your nights and days,
as intense as sunlight focused through a glass,as ordinary as sunlight’s daily warmth.
A day of blessing,
that declares your love for each other is good,
that publishes it, through your witness, to the world.
A day of blessing,
that brings into the light of day
what has so banefully and for so long
been buried and obscure.
A day of blessing
that banishes fear
and celebrates with open joy.
A day of blessing to the other,
of declaring each to other
that the love you share is very good
and binds you close.
A day of blessing
of all the hidden creativity between you
and within each of you, as yet unknown,
to flower in the maturing of love’s surprise.
A day of blessing,
in and through all these things,
by the Divine Creator-Lover,
a blessing full of wonder and of laughter.
A voice from heaven was heard,
These are my beloved in whom I take great delight.

Questions of Intent in the early days of a relationship

in the early days of a relationship, for a period
of growing together,
of testing,
of sounding the depths.

N AND N,
God loves you.
How do you respond?
We wish to grow in love,
sharing more and more of our lives
with each other,
and we seek God’s blessing.

Will you, within your life together,
give each other room to breathe and grow,
each in your own way?
We will.

Your relationship has not yet been tested
by time or trouble.
Will you try to make it a strong durable one?
We will.

If you decide not to stay together,
will you try to part in goodwill,
with forgiveness, and without bitterness?
We will.

God is the source of love,
Will you accept that gift,
sharing it with each other
and with those around you?
We will.

These excerpts are taken from Quiverful © Jim Cotter 1999 by kind permission. Quiverful is no longer in print but revisions of these prayers can be found in The Service of my Love.

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