Archive for October, 2009

Spiritual Cosmology

October 19, 2009 - 7:50 pm 33 Comments

“The forgoing generations beheld God and nature face to face; we through their eyes. Why should we not also enjoy an original relation to the universe?” – Ralph W. Emerson

A few years ago, while I was in Minnesota, , I attended at lecture/presentation by Dr. Brian Swimme at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church.

He is a well known cosmologist or an astrophysicist whose special area of study is on the origin of the universe, and ultimately life itself. He was sponsored by the Continuum Center of Minneapolis, an interfaith educational center that focuses on providing information on how science and spirituality, health and education can come together to inform, instruct and enlighten us.

Swimme is a well known person for me, having read his books and watched his video series on cosmic origins and how they impact our human understanding of the universe and our place within it. (The Universe is a Green Dragon, The Universe Story, the Canticle of the Cosmos are among his works) He is a former member of the Institute for Studies in Creation Spirituality which is an inclusive, interfaith approach that has become my personal home base for my understanding of spirituality, ministry, and panentheism.

In his lecture, he made certain observations that might be applied cogently to the nature of human groups as much as it might be applied to clusters of stars and the swirls  of the galaxies. Among his observations were these:

When the efforts of your actions are other than your intentions, then you are ready for transformation …

Small solutions or conservative responses to problem solving are not ultimately helpful; they might be comfortable, expedient, but they are not ultimately transformative….

The universe exists as shimmering disequalibrium- in a constant state of dynamism, alchemy and change- stasis or clinging to the past, trying to avoid growth or change is ultimately useless at best, and often becomes self-destructive. We try in vain to live as if we were in anthropocentric, geocentric world – so that we can feed the illusion of control, and so we can continue to see the earth and its resources in an exploitative self-centered or capitalistic way. Whereas, what we need to claim and affirm is that we live together in a relational universe that is  pneumocentric. That we live in a Spirit-centered cosmos where our awareness of our intimate and ultimate connections form our sustaining relationships, and that it is only through affirming and adopting an outlook of comprehensive compassion that our world and our lives find their purpose and meaning.

Theodore Parker, in the 19th century, saw these cosmological spiritual connection long before the scientific theories were understood. He frames his out look in these words: ”

The fullness of the divine energy flows inexhaustibly into the crystal of the rock, the juices of the plant, the splendor of the stars, the life of Bee and Behemoth.” While this might seem a strange and far afield topic, I find that it is a compelling one. Just as I spoke last week about the status of chaos or crisis in one’s life or in the life of a church as being a dynamic, even gracious one, so too does it parallel the dynamic and gracious work of the cosmos…. And I feel that they mirror themselves accurately.

In short, I believe the future, 2012 and beyond,  will be our dynamic time dedicated to understanding and then transforming the chaos, and emerging from crisis to opportunity- in short, to build a world fit for our evolution and our habitation- a place for our bodies, minds, and spirits to create a communities and a congregations of mutual respect and caring.

Queries and Confessions of a Electronic Neo-Luddite

October 18, 2009 - 4:14 pm 7 Comments

Queries and Confessions of a Electronic neo-Luddite;  Or looking at the value of being a little less media connected in our daily lives…

    The Luddites were a historical American social/religious group in the 1800″s. They were known for their disdain and distrust of modern technology- favoring more organic and natural ways. Their outlook fervently stated that modern machinery and inventions served to derail and distract from a person’s ability to learn, to live reverently and pray, or simply rob you of the time necessary to pay attention to the movement of the spirit and other essentials of community life. I wonder what they would think of today’s wired world?
     
    Admittedly, I have yet to befriend most of this modern technology that pervades our world- the vast array of technological tools, gadgets, and entertainment options that are marketed so pervasively to young and old alike. Some years ago, I drew my line at wearing a pager- but I easily succumbed to the cell phone. I brought a PDA, and it baffles me; I am in awe of all the wireless ways of contact and computation, and I warily eye the temptation of flooding myself with even more outside sources of stimulus.

    As a Baby Boomer, I have come to deeply appreciate the uses of mass media, and do also strenuously deprecate much of the actual uses and abuses of radio, television and film in our world. As the popular critique goes, all the possible channels  could be conveying PBS quality programming as sources of creativity, intelligence and enlightenment have been relegated to a precious few. Instead, in the name of electronic freedom, we have an abundance of mindless programming, crass commercialism, and the prophecy of the “vast wasteland” covering many channels and media outlets.

    Now, along comes small sizes for personal audio and video…. Now it fits into our phones, and with tiny headsets, fits into our pockets! Additionally, we are being given every possible avenue for electronic preoccupation and fantasy living…

Not only does the example of people sleeping out in the cold and rain for their new X-Box attest to the addiction we have to fantasy and violence, but it seems to contribute to the lack of honest and heartfelt reflection on humanity, our world, and the need for creative problem solving and developing an engaged, active compassion. It seems that we have fully succeeded in inventing ways to stay plugged in, but tuned out, so that the last priority of youth and our engrossed media culture appears to be listening to the wind, the song of the birds, and for the most practical of reasons- paying attention to oncoming traffic!
   
    In a world where education standards have declined, where, if I am to believe this, a majority of high school children cannot find their own state on a map, I have to ask, what will happen to the rate of our cultural literacy?

    Will the next generation of technophiles be too busy texting, downloading pop tunes and video clips? Well, I guess that might be a great advancement if I could be assured that they were also spending quality time listening to Mozart or Chopin instead of the latest tunes from “gangsta rap” or air head singers. Will they be occupied viewing classic films, great plays, and reading the essential writings of Western Civilization, or will they become further fascinated by “grand theft auto” or save us one and all, still listening and modeling the behaviors of Brittany Spears, Paris Hilton, Eminem, and Fitty Cent, etc.?
   
    Throughout our media saturated world, I ask when will we give ourselves permission to unplug, to think? To give ourselves and our children the gift of time to just listen…. Play; learn; etc. be outside? Have our cultural attention spans become so short, and our need for distraction so great that sound bytes replace honest dialogue and extended discussion… Does it replace any impetus towards more contemplative living, where we can reflect and ponder the meaning of our lives, our choices, our values?

    From St. Benedict’s first rule: Asculta! Listen! ( listen to your heart) To Thich Nhat Hanh’s “Peace in every step, and mindfulness living”, every great philosophical and religious tradition of humanity recommends time set aside for reflection, quiet, meditation, prayer, etc. as necessary tools for inner and ethical development.    So I end this reflection by asking this:

Can you think highly enough of yourself, your place in our world, to give yourself the gift of silence? Can you fit in a quiet walk, or a meditative rest? Even if you begin modestly, with setting aside only 15 minutes a day for your inner work, you will receive unexpected dividends, and valuable results.

                So why not start living on a more quiet note?  

A Halloween History? The Story of Jack O’Lantern

October 8, 2009 - 7:35 pm 180 Comments

A Brief History of Halloween:

A  Children’s Message:  The Story of Jack O’ Lantern

What  day is today?   ” Halloween!” Who is going out soon to do trick or treating?

Did you know that such an idea as trick or treating is a very new one? That it was NEVER done before W.W.II? Think about that, since we all know that Halloween is a very old, even ancient holiday. ….

A long, long time ago, a thousand years or more, there was a tribe of people that were called the Celts. (Kelts) They lived on the British Isles- England, Scotland, and Ireland….

Their religious leaders or priests were known as druids, and their church was based on learning lessons from Nature, and the changing seasons.  Each season had a holiday or holy day connected to it- some of these special days were happy ones, and some were sad ones. There was a sad one that fell on October 31st, called Samhain, (Sow wayne)  which was the Celtic New Year’s  Eve….

This was the day of Judgment. The Lord of Death, Samhain, would decide the fate of anyone who had died that year, and offer them either happiness or punishment. It was a night when all the souls could walk about like ghosts. Because the souls were afraid of harsh judgment, some tried to take over  living people and they tried to possess them! So people would build large bonfires for protection, for you see, dead souls were cold and like moths drawn to warmth, they would harmlessly perish in the bonfire’s flames!

Some people would dress up like the family members who had died, and then go out and call on their relatives- to scare them into giving them more food, or they threatened to stay as guests for a whole year! When the Romans conquered England, they added new events to the old Halloween holiday that they called Pomona. They added the extra food to the festival- they added apples, nuts, and pumpkins! They also added fun, games, contests and prizes!

Then as the years went on, the Christians arrived in Britain, and they tried to end or stamp out this festival… When they finally realized that they couldn’t they decided to change it so that it was more in line with their religious teachings… They allowed the games on October 31st to continue and called it All Hallows Eve, or the night before All Saints Day. They conceded or gave in to the idea that people need to have fun so they decide to try to control their mischief before the somber days of fasting and prayer. Much like Mardi Gras, before Ash Wednesday, we were permitted Halloween before All Saint’s Day.

When Halloween came to America, with the British immigrants, we see a continuance of holding a “mischief night” among the Puritans. All the children were allowed to play innocent pranks, teases, and stunts… Two favorite ones from those days were unhinging people’s doors and tipping over the outhouses! (Vacant, I hope!)

Among the many stories and retold legends of Halloween is the tale of Jack O Lantern…  Who knows what a Jack O Lantern is? Did you ever cut or carve one? Did anyone ever explain to you what it means?

Well, here is the real story…. Or at least the legend of jack O ‘Lantern….

There once was a big, mean, selfish and tricky man named Jack. He was always greedy; He always took too much food, drink, money, toys, and kept them all for himself! One day, Jack ran into the Devil, who warned him about continuing in his evil or selfish ways. The Devil was sitting in a large tree, and was talking down to Jack.  ….

After listening, Jack came up with a plan to scare the Devil himself! He took out his knife, and carved a large cross in the trunk of the tree, and when the devil saw it, he let out a yell! The Devil said, I am trapped, and I can’t get out of the tree!

Jack smirked, for he believed that he tricked the Devil and pulled a fast one on him. Then the devil begged Jack to scratch out the cross, so he could climb down… Jack refused! The Devil pleaded with him, and Jack said I will do it only if the Devil promised not to punish him or keep him in Hell after he died. Reluctantly, the Devil agreed, and Jack scratched out the cross, and the Devil climbed down and went away…

Some years pass… And Jack continued in his selfish ways… He was convinced that no harm would come to him after he died, because of the Devil’s promise… Then when Jack died, something strange and unexpected happened!

First, God saw Jack’s soul and reviewed his awful life and quickly sent him away from Heaven and down into Hell. There, Jack met the Devil again, and he reminded him of his promise… The Devil was angry!  And he threw a flaming coal at him! Jack was still eating at the time, and had hollowed out a turnip.

As he was running away, Jack caught the glowing coal in the hollowed out turnip, and when he returned to Earth, looking for food and shelter, he found that no one would take him in… So Jack had to wander, and scrounge for food, and he had to walk from place to place… Forever…. Lonely and hungry. The people could always see him coming, because that Devil’s glowing coal never went out, and that the Devil’s light followed him everywhere, and on Halloween, we can still see Jack coming, and we can lock our doors!

So Be It!

Wild Dunes Weddings

October 8, 2009 - 7:03 pm 40 Comments

The Wedding Ceremony
for Megan Thomas & Jayson Judy
Wild Dunes Resort (Croquet Lawn)
5:30 PM July 31, 2010

· Prelude (music on ipod – Classical music as guests are being seated and as bridesmaids enter)

Bach – Jesu, Joy of Man’s (3:04)
Pachelbel – Canon in D (4:34)
Handel – Water Music Suite (3:28)
Bach – Orchestral Suite (3:49)

-Grandmother of Bride (Eadie Leach) escorted by Mike Fekete
-Grandmother of Groom (Helen Hartman) escorted by Billy Judy
-Sharron Frahm escorted by Elijah Denton – Stay up front
-Mother of the Bride (Cindy Trumpler) escorted by Mike Fekete up front
-Mother of the Groom (Sandy Judy) escorted by Billy Judy – up front

· Processional (Music from above still playing)
Walk down the aisle in this order:
-Caleb Barnwell (passes rings off to Billy Judy and then sits with Jason Barnwell once he gets to the front of the aisle)
-Sarah Denton then Sherri Barnwell followed by Michele Terroni

· Bridal Processional (Music – “Marry Me” by Train)
Fred Trumpler (father) & Megan Thomas

Rev. Lanzillotta: “Who gives this woman to be married to this man?”

Dad – “Her mother and I do” (Dad kisses bride and takes a seat)

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· Opening Words & Ceremony – Rev. Lanzillotta

“Friends and family, we are gathered here today to celebrate the love which Megan and Jayson have for each other, and to acknowledge their decision to commit their lives to each other.
Megan and Jayson would like to thank everyone for making the trip to join them here in Charleston, South Carolina in this joyous celebration of their love and commitment and the commencement of their new life together.
They would also like to remember those who are not able to be with us today and honor their memory with the flowers surrounding the palms:
Ted Leach, Margaret Trumpler, Raymond Trumpler, Earl Hartman, Elva Mae Freeman, and Ben Judy

Marriage is an act of faith and a personal commitment as well as a moral and physical union between the parties. Marriage has been described as the best and most important relationship that can exist between two human beings; the construction of their love and trust into a single growing energy of spiritual life.
Marriage is also a moral commitment that requires and deserves daily attention since no earthly happiness exceeds that of a reciprocal satisfaction in the conjugal state. Marriage should be a lifelong consecration to the ideal of loving kindness, and it needs to be backed with the grace, and the human will that ensures that those bonds of caring and respect last a lifetime…

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Matrimony, then symbolizes the ultimate intimacy between a man and a woman; yet this closeness should not diminish but strengthen the individuality of each partner. A marriage that lasts is one that always has a little more to grow.”

· Reading – “The Art of Marriage” by Wilfred Peterson and will be read by Sarah Denton

Rev. Lanzillotta: “Sarah Denton will now offer a poem that is entitled,
“The Art of Marriage”.

“The Art of Marriage by Wilfred Peterson
The little things are the big things. It is never being too old to hold hands.
It is remembering to say “I love you” at least once a day.
It is never going to sleep angry. It is at no time taking the other for granted; the courtship should not end with the honeymoon. It should continue through all the years.

Marriage is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.
It is standing together facing the world. It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family.
It is doing things for each other, not in the attitude of duty or sacrifice,
but in the spirit of joy.

Marriage is speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating
gratitude in thoughtful ways. It is not expecting the husband to wear a halo
or the wife to have wings of an angel.
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It is not looking for perfection in each other.

It is cultivating flexibility, patience, understanding and a sense of humor.
It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.
It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow.

Marriage is finding room for the things of the spirit.
It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.
It is establishing a relationship in which the independence is equal,
dependence is mutual, and the obligation is reciprocal.

In short, Marriage is not only marrying the right partner,
it is being the right partner.”

· Blessing of the Hands
Rev. Lanzillotta: “Megan, please face Jayson, and hold his hands, palms up, so you may see the gift that they are to you. These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, for a lifetime of happiness. These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes; tears of sorrow and tears of joy. These are the hands that will comfort you in your accomplishments.

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Jayson, please hold Megan’s hands, palms up, where you may see the gift that they are to you. These are the hands that will hold you tight as you struggle through the difficult times. They are the hands that will comfort you when you are sick or console you when you are grieving. These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, for a lifetime of happiness. These are the hands that will give you support as she encourages you to fulfill your dreams. Together, as a team, everything you wish for can be realized.”

· Statement of Intention (Rev. Lanzillotta)

· Exchange of Vows
Rev. Lanzillotta: “Now Jayson and Megan will exchange their vows.”

Rev. Lanzillotta: “Jayson, please repeat after me. I, Jayson take you Megan as my wife. I pledge myself to you, to always treat you with love, honor, and respect. I promise you my absolute honesty, trust, and my complete devotion. I will cherish and care for you all the days of our lives.

Megan, please repeat after me. I, Megan, take you Jayson as my husband. I pledge myself to you, to always treat you with love, honor, and respect. I promise you my absolute honesty, trust, and my complete devotion. I will cherish and care for you all the days of our lives.

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· The Blessing and Exchange of the Rings

Rev. Lanzillotta: The wedding ring has been worn on the third finger of the left hand since Roman Times. The Romans believed that the vein in that finger runs directly to the heart. In addition, the circle has long been a symbol of spirit and the power of God. Without beginning or end and with no point of weakness, the circle is a reminder of the eternal quality of God and of unending strength. Let the seamless circle of these rings become the symbol of your endless love and unending faithfulness.
To signify their loyalty and love, Megan and Jayson have chosen these rings. (Turn to best man to get rings)

Rev. Lanzillotta: Jayson, repeat after me – “Megan, with this ring, I pledge my love and faithfulness to you today, tomorrow, and always.” (Jayson repeats these words and puts the band on Megan’s finger)
Rev. Lanzillotta: Megan, repeat after me – “Jayson, with this ring, I pledge my love and faithfulness to you today, tomorrow, and always.” (Megan repeats these words and puts the band on Jayson’s finger)
·

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Pronouncement
Rev. Lanzillotta: “May the meaning of these moments be fulfilled in the years to come in the lives of Megan and Jayson, may their unity of spirit grow deeper and stronger in the chances and changes of the life they will share.
May they be strength and comfort to one another and the cause of much mutual happiness. Loving each other, may they reach out to love others in their circle and to serve humankind, and the earth upon which we dwell.”
Now, in the glad recognition of your desire to unite your hearts in mutual love and affection, I most happily pronounce that you are husband and wife… You may kiss!

· Irish Wedding Blessing

Rev. Lanzillotta: “May you always have enough happiness to keep you sweet, trials to keep you strong, success to make you eager, friends to give you comfort, wealth to meet your needs, enthusiasm to look for tomorrow, and a growing love to make each day better than the day before…”
· First Introduction:
Rev. Lanzillotta: “And now, ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to present to you for the first time, Mr. and Mrs. Jayson Judy.
Congratulations!
· Recessional (I Pod – “In My Life” – The Beatles)

“The Art of Marriage by Wilfred Peterson
The little things are the big things. It is never being too old to hold hands.
It is remembering to say “I love you” at least once a day.
It is never going to sleep angry. It is at no time taking the other for granted; the courtship should not end with the honeymoon. It should continue through all the years.
Marriage is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.
It is standing together facing the world. It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family.
It is doing things for each other, not in the attitude of duty or sacrifice,
but in the spirit of joy.
Marriage is speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating
gratitude in thoughtful ways. It is not expecting the husband to wear a halo
or the wife to have wings of an angel.
It is not looking for perfection in each other.
It is cultivating flexibility, patience, understanding and a sense of humor.
It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.
It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow.

Marriage is finding room for the things of the spirit.
It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.
It is establishing a relationship in which the independence is equal,
dependence is mutual, and the obligation is reciprocal.

In short, Marriage is not only marrying the right partner,
it is being the right partner

The Wedding Service
For
Ralph Petrek & Susan Lemley
The Wild Dunes Resort
May 22, 2010

Prelude:
Opening Words and The Ceremony:
The Rev. Peter E. Lanzillotta, Ph.D.

Good Evening, and welcome to all the family and friends of Susan and Ralph who have come together from great distances to be with us here tonight…
Welcome to this celebration of love and romance! We meet here in the evening light and springtime warmth of this garden setting to witness a special event- a time when two souls will be joined as one- Now, in the company of our family, friends, in the presence of God, and in the loving regard and the memory and timeless graces of those souls who cannot be with us.
The precious yet challenging union of husband and wife is a unity of heart, of mind, and body, intended, at its best, to serve their mutual inspiration and to foster a lasting sense of joy. It is a togetherness that gives support and comfort to one another in prosperity and adversity, a togetherness and a sense of mutual security that can face all the various situations and circumstances of human life.
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Therefore, marriage is not to be entered into lightly, or without sufficient insight and wisdom, but it is to be established, and then upheld deliberately in an abiding respect for one another.

Acknowledgment:
Ralph and Susan thank all of you for coming here this evening to share in their union. The history you bring together for this couple, as their friends and family, defines much of who they are as individuals and what they have become as a couple. They are grateful for the enduring values that have been bestowed and examples that have been given to them from those who have loved and nurtured them along life’s way.

We would also like to reflect for a moment on the memory of their parents who cannot be with us here today; Elizabeth Scholten and Frank & Raphaella Petrek. Special memorial flowers in their honor have been placed on what would have been their chairs.

Words of Intention- Words To The Couple for a Marriage
Ralph & Susan — many paths have led you to this destination, this place where you know you belong. Your journey has brought you here, to the beginning of the rest of your life together. This public declaration and ceremony that publicly declares your love is neither a private end, nor a social beginning, but rather a holding place that offers each of us a momentary pause to reflect on the celebration of a heartfelt commitment
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that has already occurred. It is a blessing upon the love, spirit, and commitment that already exists in your hearts, souls, and minds.
Marriage symbolizes the giving of a gift to one another. It is a gift of oneself as a companion for life; someone who will listen and not judge; someone who will offer support and unconditional love. It is the gift of someone who will share your dreams and disappointments, your achievements and defeats. Marriage is a growing together – it is the task of making a strong, secure couple out of the best that each person can be. Marriage combines the unifying forces and independent wills of two people who choose to live together, and then together, reach further into the future than either could attain separately.

A Pastoral Prayer and a Wedding Blessing
O God, as Susan and Ralph begin their new journey together, please help them to be strong as they do not know what lies ahead for the road has many turns and bends. We are grateful to you for helping them make the best of whatever comes their way. We are thankful that they can continue to enjoy each other as they did when they first met and for helping them realize that nothing or no one is perfect and to look for the good in all things and all people, including themselves. Thank you for helping them to respect each others’ likes and dislikes, opinions and beliefs, hopes and dreams and fears even though they may not always understand them.

We Thank you God, who is our source of human life and the example of a holy and selfless love, for helping them to learn from each other and to help each other to grow mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Thank you for helping them to realize that no matter what happens to them they will hold on to each other and know that things have a way of working out for the good. But most of all, dear God, thank you for helping them to keep lit the flame of love that they now share so that by their loving example they may pass on the light of love to their children and grandchildren forever and ever. Amen.

Statement of Intent- Rev. Peter-
(Please turn and face one another and hold hands/flowers)
Susan & Ralph, you have made a very serious and important decision in choosing to marry each other today. You are entering into a sacred covenant as life partners.
As in tending the flowers in a garden, the quality of your marriage will reflect the effort you put into nurturing this relationship. You have the opportunity to go forward from this day to create a faithful, kind, and tender relationship.
Ralph, do you understand and accept this responsibility and do you promise to do your very best each day to create a loving, healthy, and happy marriage? Yes, I Do.

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Susan, do you understand and accept this responsibility and do you promise to do your very best each day to create a loving, healthy, and happy marriage? Yes, I Do.

Marriage Vows:
Ralph: I, Ralph, choose you, Susan, to be my wife.
From this day forward, I promise to love you, to honor you,
to respect you, and to support you, as long as we both shall live.

Susan: I, Susan, choose you, Ralph, to be my husband.
From this day forward, I promise to love you, to honor you,
to respect you, and to support you, as long as we both shall live.

Presentation and Blessing of Rings [Rev. Peter]
Cue: Bring the rings up

These rings are circles, and circles are symbolic of the sun, the earth, and the universe. These arms that embrace, these wedding rings you give and receive this day reflect the circle of shared love into which you enter as partners in life. May you always be blessed, and may you abide in peace and love.

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Ring Exchange:
Ralph: Susan, I give you this ring as a symbol of my vow.
May it encircle your finger always, as my love will your heart.

Susan: Ralph, I give you this ring as a symbol of my vow.
May it encircle your finger always, as my love will your heart.

A Love Poem Of Togetherness ( from the Apache wedding ceremony)

Read by Susan & Ralph’s friend Pamela Kurschner

Now you will feel no rain, for each shall be shelter to the other.
Now you shall feel no cold, for each shall be warmth to the other.
Now there will be no loneliness, for each shall be a companion to the other
Now there are two bodies, but there is only one life between you.
Go, now to your dwelling place, to enter into the days of your togetherness, and may your days be good and long upon the earth.

Final Blessing [Rev. Peter]

Susan and Ralph, on behalf of your loved ones who are here with you today, I would like to mention some of the things that we wish for you.
First, we wish for you a love that is rich, deep, and powerful enough to inspire others and to support you both in bringing forth the best that is within you. May you lavishly love one another and love being loved by one another today, tomorrow, and always.
Second, we wish for you the kind of home that is a sanctuary for you both, a place of peace, freedom, vitality, growth, and humor. And in this home, we hope that you are blessed with a healthy and happy family.
Finally, we wish that at the end of your lives, you will be able to look back and smile upon the life that you have shared together, pleased, satisfied, and fulfilled beyond your wildest dreams.
And now, by virtue of the authority vested in me, it is my great pleasure to pronounce you husband and wife. Susan and Ralph, you may now kiss as husband and wife for the first time. Congratulations!

First Introduction:
And now, ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to present to you for the first time, Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Petrek.
Congratulations! Live with joy, and go in peace! So Be It!

The Wedding Ceremony
For
Presley Rosier and Brian Howlett
The Wild Dunes Resort
October 23, 2009

Processional- Mother of Bride escorted by Evan Rosier;
Sister of Groom to carry sand ceremony vases
Flower girls- Morgan and Lauren Rosier
Maid of Honor- Hannah Rosier
Music for the Processional: Can you Feel the Love Tonight by Elton John
Bridal processional: Farther of the Bride- Kelly Fultz
Music – The Wedding Song (There is Love) the O’Neill Brothers
Dad kisses bride and takes a seat

Opening Words & Ceremony: The Rev. Peter E. Lanzillotta, Ph.D.
In marriage, two persons turn to each other in search of a greater fulfillment than either can achieve alone. Marriage is a going-forth, a bold step into the future; it is risking what we are, for the sake of what we yet can become.
Only in giving of oneself and sharing with another can the mysterious process of growth take place. Only in loyalty and devotion bestowed upon another, can that which is eternal in life emerge and be known.
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Two among us, who have stood apart, come now, in our presence, to declare their love and to be united in marriage.
Love is a living thing, waiting within each one of us for an awakening touch. In this ceremony, we will celebrate love come to life for Presley and Brian. We rejoice in its presence among us.
Presley and Brian thank you all for coming here today to share this celebration with them. The history you bring together for this couple, as their friends and as members of their families, defined much of who they are as individuals, and what they can become as a couple. Each of you has unselfishly given of yourselves. You have helped them to arrive here today as happy, healthy, and loving people, willing and ready to share their lives together
With and through these intimate associations of the past, they have been given a solid foundation for lasting marriage. The love and friendship which has surrounded them has led them to this turning point – the ceremony of marriage, from which they will begin to create their united future.

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Readings: The Art of Marriage by Wilferd A. Peterson
A good marriage must be created.
In the art of marriage the little things are the big things…
It is never being too old to hold hands.
It is remembering to say “I love you” at least once each day.
It is never going to sleep angry.
It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.
It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family.
It is speaking words of appreciation and
demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.
It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.
It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow. It is finding room for the things of the spirit.
It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.
It is not only marrying the right partner…
It is being the right partner.

Statement of Intention:
“Brian, will you have this woman to be your wedded wife, to share your life with her and do you offer to love, honor , and care for her throughout the journey of your lives together? “I Will ”

Presley, will you have this man to be your wedded husband, to share your life with him, and do you offer to love, honor , and care for him throughout the journey of your lives together? ” I Will ”
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Family Pledge/Statement of Inclusion for Presley’s Children:

” Your mother and Brian want me to express that you four children are very important to them. They feel they have chosen the best partners to spend their life with and together they feel they can care for you and support you through all your years together. Tonight starts the beginning of a new family, not just for your Mom and Brian, but for you as well. Are you willing to say that belonging to this new family is a good thing? Can you pledge to Brian and your Mom your cooperation, respect, support, patience, and love? ” WE WILL”

Blessing of the Hands:
Presley, please face Brian, and hold his hands, palms up, so you may see the gift that they are to you. These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, for a lifetime of happiness. These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from you eyes: tears of sorrow and tears of joy. These are the hands that will comfort you in illness, and hold you when fear or grief fill you. These are the hands that will give you support and celebrate with you in your accomplishments.

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Brian, please hold Presley’s hands, palms up, where you may see the gift that they are to you. These are the hands that will hold you tight as you struggle through the difficult times. They are the hands that will comfort you when you are sick or console you when you are grieving. These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, for a lifetime of happiness. These are the hands that will give you support as she encourages you to fulfill you dreams. Together, as a team, everything you wish for can be realized.

The Wedding Vows:
I, Brian take you, Presley, as my wife. I pledge myself to you, to always treat you with love, honor, and respect. I promise you my absolute honesty, trust, and my complete devotion. I will cherish and care for you all the days of our lives.

I, Presley, take you, Brian, as my husband. I pledge myself to you, to always treat you with love, honor, and respect.
I promise you my absolute honesty, trust, and my complete devotion. I will cherish and care for you all the days of our lives.

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The Blessing and Exchange of Rings:

The circle has long been a symbol of spirit and the power of God. Without beginning or end and with no point of weakness, the circle is a reminder of the eternal quality of God and of unending strength. Let the seamless circle of these rings become the symbol of your endless love and unending faithfulness.
Your wedding rings are most special because they say that even in your uniqueness you have chosen to be bonded, to allow the presence and partnership of another human being to enhance who you are. Your rings carry a potent double message: That we are individuals and yet we belong to one another; we are not alone.
“Presley, with this ring, I pledge my love and faithfulness to you today, tomorrow, and always. ”

Brian, with this ring, I pledge my love and faithfulness to you today, tomorrow, and always. ”

Sand Ceremony:
Today, Presley and Brian have chosen to commemorate their marriage through the celebration of the Sand Ceremony. Similar to the unity candle, it indicates the joining of their lives, their hearts and their souls.
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As you stand near to the ocean tides, may your love always be as constant as the never-ending waves that pour near your feet, flowing endlessly from the depths of the sea.
You have pledged yourselves on this day, your love will be as dependable as the tide; as these waters touch and nourish the many shores of the earth and sustain life, may your love be a moving sea between the shores of your souls and your constant devotion nourish and sustain you until the end of time. .
This beautiful union is further symbolized through the combining of these two individual containers of sand, one representing you Presley, and all that you were, all that you are, and all that you have to offer. The other shall represent you Brian, in all that you were, all that you are, and all that you have to offer.
Each one holds its own unique beauty, strength, and character. They can stand on their own and be whole, without need of anything else. However when these two are blended together they create an entirely new and extraordinarily more intricate entity. Each grain of sand brings to the mixture a lasting beauty that forever enriches the combination…

Music- You Raise Me Up by Josh Groban

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Pronouncement:
May the meaning of these moments be fulfilled in the years to come in the lives of Presley and Brian, may their unity of spirit grow deeper and stronger in the chances and changes of the life they will share.
May they be strength and comfort to one another and the cause of much mutual happiness. Loving each other, may they reach out to love others in their circle and to serve humankind, and the earth upon which we dwell.

Now, in the glad recognition of your desire to unite your hearts in mutual love and affection, I most happily pronounce that you are husband and wife… You may kiss!

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Benediction (The Irish Wedding Blessing)

May the road rise to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face, The rains fall soft upon the fields.

May the light of friendship guide your paths together.
May the laughter of children grace the halls of your home.

May the joy of living for one another trip a smile from your lips, a twinkle in your eye.

And when eternity beckons, at the end of a life heaped high with love, May the good Lord embrace you with the arms that have nurtured you the whole length of your joy-filled days.

First Introduction:
And now, ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to present to you for the first time, Mr. and Mrs. Brian Howlett….
Congratulations! Live with joy, and go in peace! So Be It!

The Wedding Ceremony
For
David Pitman and Charissa Ragot
The Wild Dunes Resort
October 3, 2009 5:30 PM

Processional: Song: “In My Life” by The Beatles
(Mothers bring in the 3 containers… Dave escorts his mother…)
Bridal Processional: Sing: “I Will” by The Beatles

Greeting / Call to Worship
Dearly beloved family and friends… welcome! We are gathered here this evening to celebrate the marriage of Dave and Charissa. In this ceremony, Dave and Charissa confirm their love, trust and dedication before their family and friends.
Having decided to enter into a life of commitment, Dave and Charissa have invited you to share in the happiness that they feel in the knowledge that they have found together, a deep enduring love.
On this day, Dave and Charissa will declare the love and happiness that they have found in one another. In this ceremony we will celebrate their love and in this decision in which it has led – for it touches each of us here today.

Giving Away of Bride
Who gives this woman to be married to this man? “Her mother and I do” (Chris gives Charissa’s hand to Dave ad steps back and sits in pew.)
Then… Please Be seated!
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Acknowledgment:
On this beautiful October evening, Dave and Charissa want to take a moment to thank the family and friends that have traveled from far and wide to celebrate their union. They are especially grateful to their parents
Gary and Pam Pitman and Chris and Susan Ragot & Barbara Yamasato
for bestowing the love and values that have helped shape their lives, and nurtured them along life’s way.
We would also like to reflect for a moment on the memory of those grandparents who cannot be with us here today: Pierre Ragot, Bob Pitman, and Norman and Laverne Roseth – Doris Pitman is still with us but unable to be with us today. Special memorial flowers in their honor have been placed on the chairs.

In gathering for the sacred event of marriage, there has to be a clear conscience and the full public intention to witness this marriage without false claim or ethical reservations…
In the Christian tradition, there is a public question, and the opportunity for anyone who has “just cause” to speak against your intention to marry…. Does anyone, have such a just cause why this couple should not be married? If so, speak now, or forever hold your peace!

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Word to the Couple
Dave and Charissa, as you ready yourselves to make the promises to each other, let us hope that the sustaining values and insightful ideas expressed in the service will continue to assist you in making this day a beginning of a relationship that will grow, deepen, develop and mature with each passing year – for it will be your love for one another that will make the latter days warmer and more wonderful than the first.

Selected Readings:
1) The Art of a Good Marriage by Wilfred Arlan Peterson
Read by Krista Miller (step-sister of the bride)

Happiness in marriage is not something that just happens. A good marriage must be created. In marriage the little things are the big things. It is never being too old to hold hands. It is remembering to say “I love you” at least once a day. It is never going to sleep angry. It is at no time taking the other for granted; the courtship should not end with the honeymoon, it should continue through the years. It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives. It is standing together facing the world. It is forming a circle of love that gathers the whole family.

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It is doing things for each other, not in the attitude of duty or sacrifice, but in the spirit of joy. It is speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways. It is not looking for perfection in each other.
It is cultivating flexibility, patience, understanding and a sense of humor. It is having the capacity to forgive and forget. It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow old. It is a common search for the good and the beautiful. It is establishing a relationship in which the independence is equal, dependence is mutual and the obligation is reciprocal. It is not only marrying the right partner, it is being the right partner.

2nd Reading – Selections from The Epistle to the Corthinians Chapter 13 Read by Kim Bost (Step-sister of the bride)

“If I speak with the eloquence of men and angels but have not love, I become no more than a blaring brass or a crashing cymbal. If I have the gift of foretelling the future, and hold in my mind all of human knowledge, and if I have that absolute faith which can move mountains, but have no love, I amount to nothing . . .
This love of which I speak is slow to lose patience – it looks for a way to be constructive. It is not possessive; it is neither anxious to impose nor does it cherish inflated ideas of its own importance.
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It is glad when truth prevails. Love knows no limits to its endurance, no end to its trust, no dashing of its hope; it can outlast anything. It is, in fact, the one thing that still stands when all else has fallen.”

The Statement of Intention
(please turn, face one another, and hold hands…)

Dave, do you take Charissa to be your wedded wife, and in the presence of God and these witnesses, do you vow that you will do everything in your power to make your love for her a growing part of your life? Will you continue to strengthen it from day to day? Will you shun all others and keep yourself to her alone as long as you both shall live? I WILL

Charissa, do you take Dave to be your wedded husband, and in the presence of God and these witnesses, do you vow that you will do everything in your power to make your love for him a growing part of your life? Will you continue to strengthen it from day to day?
Will you shun all others and keep yourself to her alone as long as you both shall live? I WILL

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The Wedding Vows:

From this day forward, I choose you, Charissa, to be my beloved soul mate, to live with you and laugh with you, to stand by your side and sleep in your arms, to be joy to your heart and food to your soul; to bring out the best in you always; to be the best I can be, just for you; to celebrate with you in good times; to struggle with you in the bad; to care for you with my entire being; to share with you everything that I have; as we treat each other with tenderness, compassion and love now and forever.

From this day forward, I choose you, David, to be my beloved soul mate, to live with you and laugh with you, to stand by your side and sleep in your arms, to be joy to your heart and food to your soul; to bring out the best in you always; to be the best I can be, just for you; to celebrate with you in good times; to struggle with you in the bad; to care for you with my entire being; to share with you everything that I have; as we treat each other with tenderness, compassion and love now and forever.

Blessing and Exchange of the Rings

Q: What do you offer as a symbol of your love? THESE RINGS.
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The circle is the symbol of the sun, the Earth and the universe, of wholeness, perfection and peace . . .May these rings be forever a sign of your unbroken circle of love. Love freely given has no beginning and has
no end. Love freely given has no giver and has no receiver for each is the giver and the receiver. May these rings remind you always of the vows you have taken here today.

(taking the rings, and then repeating as you place the ring on one another’s left hand…
” With this ring, I thee wed, and pledge my faithful love.”

Grits Ceremony:
When this ceremony began, you might have seen the mothers carrying three containers… In a special homage to a South, and with a more organic twist !), the two colored containers have white and yellow grits in them… These two colors symbolize the heritage and legacy of their respective families, their individuality, and their roots of family and branches of their belonging… The third, that was empty, will be used now, as Charissa and Dave, will take some of their family and individual grits and pour them into the new vessel- the one that they will swirl and it will blend their past and their personalities to freely form the basis and a new pattern of life that will grow and will create a new family, from this day onward…

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The Pronouncement/Declaration of Marriage

Now that Charissa and Dave have given themselves to each other by the promises they have exchanged, I now pronounce them husband and wife, in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. +

Closing Prayer/Blessing of the Marriage (The Book of Numbers, Chapter 6)

The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. The Lord lift up the light of his countenance upon you, and may the Lord give you peace.

The Kiss: Dave, you may now kiss your Bride.

Presentation of the Couple: ( Charissa gets her flowers…)
Minister: It is now my privilege to introduce to you for the first time, Mr. Dave and Charissa Pitman.

Congratulations!
Recessional

1) The Art of a Good Marriage by Wilfred Arlan Peterson
Read by Krista Miller (stepsister of the bride)

Happiness in marriage is not something that just happens. A good marriage must be created. In marriage the little things are the big things. It is never being too old to hold hands. It is remembering to say “I love you” at least once a day. It is never going to sleep angry. It is at no time taking the other for granted; the courtship should not end with the honeymoon, it should continue through the years. It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives. It is standing together facing the world. It is forming a circle of love that gathers the whole family.

It is doing things for each other, not in the attitude of duty or sacrifice, but in the spirit of joy. It is speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways. It is not looking for perfection in each other. It is cultivating flexibility, patience, understanding and a sense of humor. It is having the capacity to forgive and forget. It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow old. It is a common search for the good and the beautiful. It is establishing a relationship in which the independence is equal, dependence is mutual and the obligation is reciprocal. It is not only marrying the right partner, it is being the right partner.

2nd Reading – Selections from The Epistle to the Corthinians Chapter 13 Read by Kim Bost (Stepsister of the bride)

“If I speak with the eloquence of men and angels but have not love, I become no more than a blaring brass or a crashing cymbal. If I have the gift of foretelling the future, and hold in my mind all of human knowledge, and if I have that absolute faith which can move mountains, but have no love, I amount to nothing . . .

This love of which I speak is slow to lose patience – it looks for a way to be constructive. It is not possessive; it is neither anxious to impose nor does it cherish inflated ideas of its own importance. It is glad when truth prevails. Love knows no limits to its endurance, no end to its trust, no dashing of its hope; it can outlast anything. It is, in fact, the one thing that still stands when all else has fallen.”

The Wedding Ceremony of
Robert F. Steele, Jr. and Pamela A. Morris
Wild Dunes Resort
Isle of Palms, South Carolina
May 9, 2009 – 5:30 PM

OPENING WORDS:

Welcome… Today we have come together to be with Pam and Bob as they begin their married lives. It is through sharing in such a journey that we, too, can discover the very essence of the human capacity to love, honor, and respect another human being.

Marriage is risking who we are for what we can become. Marriage is when two people who turn toward each other and join hands and hearts in search of a greater fulfillment than either could achieve alone. Marriage symbolizes the giving of a gift of special security to one another. It is a gift of oneself as a companion for life – someone you can trust; someone who can listen and not judge; someone who can support and respect you. Marriage is growing together – it is the task of making a strong and secure couple out of the best that each person can be.

Pam and Bob wish to thank all of you for coming here today to share in this special celebration with them and to lovingly acknowledge those special people who could not be with us here today. The history you bring together for them, as friends and as members of their family, defines much of who they are as individuals, and what they can become as a couple. You have helped them to arrive here today as happy, healthy, and loving people; two individuals who are willing to share their lives together. Thank you!

WORDS TO COUPLE:

How special it is when two people are able to stumble into each other, in the midst of life’s confusion, and to fall so completely in love. To hold each other, to be there for each other, through good times and hard times, and face life head on – together. On this day, your marriage, you stand apart from all other people. You stand within the charmed circle of your love, and this is as it should be. Together with God, let your love serve as a source of common energy as a form in which you can find the strength to live your lives with courage.

Now as you make your promises to each other, may this day be the beginning of a relationship that will grow, and mature, with each passing year – for it will be your love that will make the latter days warmer, and more wonderful than the first.

FIRST READING (Tierre and Antoinette Golsby): I Corinthians 13

The Way of Love
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 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. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

SECOND READING (Tyson and Tar Bogart):
I love you, not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you; not only for what you have made of yourself, but for what you are making of me.
I love you for the part of me that you bring out;
I love you for putting your hand onto my heaped-up heart
And passing over all the foolish, weak things
That you can’t help dimly seeing there,
And for drawing out into the light, all the beautiful belongings;
That no one else had looked quite far enough to find.
I love you because you are helping me to make of the lumber of my life, not a tavern, but a temple;
Out of the works of my every day, not a reproach, but a song….
I love you because you have done more than any creed could have done to make me good,
And more than any fate could have done to make me happy,
You have done it without a touch, without a word, without a sign.
You have done it by being yourself.

STATEMENT OF INTENTION:

Pam, will you have this man to be your lawfully wedded husband, to live together after God’s ordinance, in the holy estate of Matrimony? Will you love him, comfort, honor and keep him, in sickness and in health; and forsaking all others, be faithful to him as long as you both shall live?

I WILL [Pam]

Bob, will you have this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife, to live together after God’s ordinance, in the holy estate of Matrimony? Will you love her, comfort, honor and keep her, in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all others, be faithful to her as long as you both shall live:

I WILL [Bob]

THE VOWS:
I, Pam, take you Bob, to be my husband and my partner in life
I promise to love you without reservation, to honor and respect you
I will laugh with you and comfort you
I will believe in you, even when you doubt yourself
I will stand with you through good times and bad times
I promise to provide for your needs as best I can
As I have given you my hand today,
I give you my heart to keep

I, Bob, take you Pam, to be my wife and my partner in life
I promise to love you without reservation, to honor and respect you
I will laugh with you and comfort you
I will believe in you, even when you doubt yourself
I will stand with you through good times and bad times
Provide for you and keep you from harm
As I have given you my hand today,
I give you my heart to keep

THE EXCHANGE OF RINGS:

Q) What do you offer as a symbol of your love?
A) These rings.

Bob: “With this ring I pledge my life and love to you.”
Pam: “With this ring I pledge my life and love to you.”

A circle is the symbol of the Sun, the Earth, and the Universe; of wholeness, perfection and peace. May these rings forever be a symbol of the unbroken circle of your love…. Love that is freely given and which has no beginning and no end. Love that is freely given has no giver and no receiver, for each is the giver and each is the receiver. May these rings remind you always of the gift of love you have given each other here today.

BLESSING & PRONOUNCEMENT:

May these two people, now married, keep this covenant and become a blessing and a comfort to each other. May they share in each other’s joys, be consolers in each other’s sorrows, and helpers to each other throughout all the vicissitudes of life. May they encourage each other to accomplish whatsoever they seek to achieve. May they, trusting in each other, also learn to trust life and not to be afraid. May they not only accept and give affection between them, but together have affection and consideration for others.

We who are present, and those absent thinking of these two people share in the inspiration of this time and it will not be forgotten. May Pam and Bob love each other forever!

Now in recognition of your desire to link your lives in mutual love and affection, I most happily pronounce that you are husband and wife. You may kiss the bride!

Ladies and Gentlemen…. It is my privilege to introduce for the first time, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Steele, Jr.

Congratulations…. Go in peace!!

The Wedding Service
for Krissy Wiley and Trae Jones
The Wild Dunes Resort
April 18th, 2009
Isle of Palms, South Carolina

Prelude:
Mother; Bridemaids; Bride and father…
Q: “Who give gives this woman to be married to this man? Her Mother and I do”

Greeting/Opening: Welcome everyone.
Today we come together to witness a precious union between two people. It is through such a union we can discover the very essence of the human capacity to love, honor, and respect another human being. Krissy and Trae wish to thank you all for coming here today to share this special celebration with them. You all have traveled from Canada to West Virginia, as south as Florida and as close as here in SC, and we are so happy you all made a journey to be here.
The history you bring together for them, as their friends and as members of their families, defines much of who they are as individuals, and what they can become as a couple. Each of you have unselfishly given yourselves. You have helped them to arrive here today as happy, healthy loving people, willing and ready to share their lives together.

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With and through these intimate associations of the past, they have been given a solid foundation for a lasting marriage. The love and friendship, which has surrounded them, has led them to this turning point… the ceremony of marriage, from which they will begin to create a united future together. The essence of this commitment is the taking of another person as one’s friend, companion, and lover. It is seeing one another realistically, yet valuing the differences as much as the similarities.
In marriage two people turn to each other in search of a greater fulfillment than either can achieve alone. Marriage is a going forth, a bold step into a united future. It is risking what we are, for what we will become. Only by the giving of oneself and in the sharing with another can the mysterious awe-inspiring process of personal growth ever take place. Only in loyalty and devotion that is freely bestowed upon one another can that which is eternal in all of life emerge and be known.
Selected Readings:
1) The Velveteen Rabbit read by Krissy’s Mother

2) “A Gift from the Sea” Anne Morrow Lindbergh Michelle

Lord’s Prayer / Remembrances:
In keeping with the traditions of Easter, and everlasting love and life, I now invite you to say the Lord’s Prayer with me, keeping in mind this couple, those who have died, and the future we hold together…
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Our Father, who art in heaven; Hallowed be Thy name
Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done;
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day, our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Keep us from temptation, and deliver us from evil. AMEN
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Moment of silence
The Lasso Ceremony
The Bride and Groom will sit or kneel before the minister… While Aunt Lyn symbolically loops the rope around them…

Minister: Krissy and Trae have chosen to incorporate the Lasso ritual into their wedding ceremony today. The Lasso is a wedding ritual in which the couple are bound together with a ceremonial rosary. Lassoing is a declaration of intent, where the bride and groom clearly state that they are marrying of their own free will.

Krissy and Trae since your lives have crossed in this life, you have formed eternal and sacred bonds. As you enter this state of matrimony you should strive to make real the ideals that to you, give meaning to this ceremony and to the institution of marriage.

With full awareness, know that within this Lasso you are not only declaring your intent to be bound together before your friends and family, but you speak that intent also to God.
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The promises made today and the ties that are bound here greatly strengthen your union and will cross the years and lives of each soul’s growth.

Statement of Intention & Wedding Vows: flowers…
Kristine and Jimmy, I ask you to hold hands and look into each others eyes. …
Will you honor and respect one another, and seek to never break that honor? Will you share each other’s pain and seek to ease it?
Will you share the burdens of each so that your spirits may grow in this union? Will you share each other’s laughter, and look for the brightness in life and the positive in each other? I Do
Will you honor and respect one another, and seek to never break that honor? Will you share each other’s pain and seek to ease it?
Will you share the burdens of each so that your spirits may grow in this union? Will you share each other’s laughter, and look for the brightness in life and the positive in each other? I Do

Personal Expressions:

Exchange of Rings: Brandon
What do you offer as a sign of your love and loyalty? “These Rings”
The ring is an ancient symbol of such vows as the circle is considered the most perfect of all forms in nature. It is a symbol of the sun and the earth and the universe; of
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wholeness and perfection and peace.
The rings you give and receive this day, like the unbroken circle, are a symbol of the unending love. and commitment to each other for as long as you both shall live.
Trae Repeats after Minister: With this ring, I thee wed. As it encircles your finger, may it remind you always… That you are surrounded by my enduring love.
Kristine Repeats after Minister: With this ring, I thee wed. As it encircles your finger, may it remind you always.. That you are surrounded by my enduring love.

Aunt Lyn… Uncle Johnny … drapes the Lasso in the form of an “8” around the shoulders of the Bride and Groom.
The Lasso Prayer #1
Bless the marriage of Kristine and Trae, O God, as they begin their journey down the road of life together. We know not what lies ahead for the road has many turns and bends. We are grateful to you for helping them to make the best of whatever comes their way.
We are thankful that they can continue to enjoy each other as they did when they first met, and for helping them to realize that nothing nor no one is perfect, and to look for the good in all things and all people including themselves.

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Thank you for helping them to respect each other’s likes and dislikes, opinions and beliefs, hopes and dreams and fears even though they may not always understand them.
Thank you for helping them to learn from each other and to help each other to grow mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Thank you for helping them to realize that no matter what happens to them, they can hold on to each other and know that things have a way of working out for the good.
But most of all, dear God, thank you for helping them to keep lit the flame of love’ that they now share so that by their loving example they may pass on the light of love to their children and to their children’s children forever and ever. And so it is. AMEN

The Sand Ceremony
Today, Krissy and Trae have chosen to commemorate their marriage through the celebration of the Sand Ceremony. Similar to the unity candle, it indicates the joining of their lives, their hearts and their souls. As you stand near to the ocean tides, may your love always be as constant as the never-ending waves that pour near your feet, flowing endlessly from the depths of the sea. You have pledged yourselves on this day, your love will be as dependable as the tide; as these waters touch and nourish the many shores of the earth and sustain life, may your love be a moving sea between the shores of your souls and your constant devotion nourish and sustain you until the end of time.
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This beautiful union is further symbolized through the combining of these two individual containers of sand, one representing you Krissy, and all that you were, all that you are, and all that you have to offer. The other shell representing you, Trae, in all that you were, all that you are, and all that you have to offer. Each one holds its own unique beauty, strength, and character. They can stand on their own and be whole, without need of anything else. However when these two are blended together they create an entirely new and extraordinarily more intricate entity. Each grain of sand brings to the mixture a lasting beauty that forever enriches the combination.

Pronouncement and Declaration of Marriage:
Trae and Krissy, you have come here today before all of us, and before God, and have expressed your desire to become husband and wife. You have shown your love and affection by joining hands, exchanging rings, being symbolically tied and blended together, and throughout have made promises of faith and devotion, we who are your family and friends acknowledge this union…
Therefore, As your public witness and by the authority entrusted to me, by God and the State, I gladly pronounce that you are husband and wife! You may kiss the bride! Congratulations! Go in peace, live with Joy!
May I now introduce ….Mr. and Mrs. Jimmie and Kristine Jones!

THE WEDDING CEREMONY OF JASON WADE AND KRISTY
THE WILD DUNES RESORT,
ISLE OF PALMS, SOUTH CAROLINA
OCTOBER 22, 2007
THE REVEREND PETER EDWARD LANZILLOTTA Ph.D.

Opening Words:
Jason and Kristy, many paths have led you to this destination, this place where you know you belong. Your journey has brought you here, to the beginning of the rest of your life. Your dreams are something you’ve never compromised, and has never been more true than now.
In spirit and in truth, only you can truly marry yourselves. By mutual commitment to love each other, to work toward creating an atmosphere of care and consideration and respect, by a willingness to face the tensions and anxieties that underlie human life, soon every day will become a new discovery of love, of life and your future….. Let the desire to love and uphold peace rule in your hearts….
Kristy and Jason, one of the greatest blessings you can give to one another is the willingness to support each other’s spiritual growth; growth in values, character and in service to one another and to our world. As a vital part of this commitment is the willingness to forgive; to accept that each of you is an unfinished, growing person who’s love grows.
The excitement of the future lies in the mystery it holds, and its beauty is having someone to explore it with. When you look into each other’s eyes, may you see not only your love for each other, but all your hopes and dreams of tomorrow, and may you find something to treasure in every moment you are together.

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Statement of Intention

Kristy and Jason,, please turn and face each other and join your hands…

The hands offered by each of you is an extension of yourselves; it links your mutual love. Cherish its touch, for you have touched another’s heart and another’s life. Be sensitive to its pulse. Seek always to understand its flow and respect its rhythm.

Q: Jason and Kristy, Will you take one another as husband and wife? Will you love and respect one another? Will you trust one another always? Will you stand by one another and face whatever may come with strength, patience and love? “We Will”

The Wedding Vows
(Please turn and face one another and hold hands….
“I Kristy, Take you Jason to be my husband, my constant friend, and my true love. On this special day, I affirm to you in the presence of God, my sacred promise to stay by your side, as your wife, in sickness and health, in joy and sorrow, through good times and bad.”
This is my vow to you”
“I, Jason, Take you Kristy, to be my wife, my constant friend, and my true love. On this special day, I affirm to you in the presence of God, my sacred promise to stay by your side, as your husband, in sickness and health, in joy and sorrow, through good times and bad.
This is my vow to you”
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“What do you offer as a sign of your love and trust?”
“These rings.”
THE RING BLESSING AND THE EXCHANGE OF RINGS
The circle is the exchange of the sun, the earth and the universe, of wholeness, perfection and peace… May these rings forever be a sign of your unbroken circle of love. Love freely given has no beginning and has no end. Love freely given has no giver and has no receiver for each is the giver and each is the receiver. May these rings remind you always of the vows you have taken here today.

Kristy please repeat after me: “With this ring, I thee wed and pledge my faithful love.”
Jason, please repeat after me: “With this ring, I thee wed, and pledge my faithful love.”

PRONOUNCEMENT AND BLESSING
In the glad recognition of your desire to unite your hearts in mutual love and affection, I most happily pronounce you Husband and Wife.
May these two people, now married, keep this covenant that they have made. May they be a blessing and a comfort to each other, Sharers of each other’s joys, consolers in each other’s sorrows, helpers to each other in all the vicissitudes of life.
May they encourage each other in whatever they set out to achieve. May they, trusting in each other, trust life and not be afraid . Yet may they not only accept and give affection between themselves, but together have affection and consideration for others.
May Jason and Kristy love one another forever.

The Wedding Service
For
And Smith and Jim Ramser
Wild Dunes, Isle of Palms
October 12, 2007
The Rev. Peter E. Lanzillotta, Ph.D.

Opening Words/Invocation

Beloved Creator, Essence of Love, and Source of Hope, Open our hearts, and fill us with Your Presence. You graciously give to us the longing for love and the capability of loving, and we give you thanks for And and Jim, for their beautiful hearts and willing spirits, and for the example of love that they embody here today.
Elevate us to an awareness of the Sacred and the Eternal, as we celebrate this miraculous moment in their lives. Be with them on this joyous occasion, of showing their love and making their vows; and be with us, their witnesses, that we might all be inspired by the blessings and vows being shared today. Amen

Welcome:
Good evening. It is truly a blessing from heaven for two people to find one another and to love so deeply that they embrace the holy bond of marriage. That is why we are all here today, to witness and celebrate And and Jim’s commitment to their union. On behalf of them, I welcome you all.

Foundation
Marriage is a supreme sharing, perhaps the greatest and most challenging adventure in the most intimate of human relationships. It is the joyful uniting of a man and a woman whose care and affection and understanding have flowered into a deep and abiding love. Those who take its sacred vows have their lives blended together into one, as the waters of two rivers are joined when they come together to form an even greater one.

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A true spiritual marriage is an act of metamorphosis, a profound mystery of creation and rebirth, as two become one. It is not a giving up or loss of oneself, but rather a giving over of oneself to something greater- a transformation of self in which each one can say, “I am no longer only I but also we.” It is a process in which each can be challenged to discover new possibilities in themselves and each other.
In such a marriage, the wedding ceremony is the gateway into this mystery. For the lives the two of you have lived up until this moment are, in some sense, now truly completed and over. Together you now live within the creation of something wholly new and transcendent, something which has never existed before your miraculous marriage an expression that is at once public and private, precious, sacred, and truly unique to the two of you. In this act, you open yourselves to a fuller experience and expression of the great, vast miracle of love.

No ceremony can create your marriage. Only you can do that through love, patience, dedication, perseverance through talking and listening and trying to understand through helping and supporting and believing in each other through learning to forgive, learning to respect and appreciate your differences, and learning to make the important things matter and to let go of the rest.
What this ceremony can do is to witness and affirm the choice you have made to begin a new life today as husband and wife.

The Questions
And and Jim, If you are ready to step into the holy circle of matrimony, assuming all its rights, obligations and abundant joys, please so indicate by joining hands.
Do you, And take this man, Jim as your husband, to love him and to honor him, to nurture, serve and support him, in times of joy and in times of difficulty? Do you promise to remain by his side regardless of what trouble befalls you, and in the presence of temptation to forsake this love, do you promise to remain steadfast and true? Do you promise with all your heart and soul to honor this vow till death do you part? If so, answer now, “I do.” (Bride answers, “I do”)
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Do you, Jim take this woman, And as your wife, to love her and to honor her, to nurture, serve and support her, in times of joy and in times of difficulty? Do you promise to remain by her side regardless of what trouble befalls you, and in the presence of temptation to forsake this love, do you promise to remain steadfast and true? Do you promise with all your heart and soul to honor this vow till death do you part? If so answer now, “I do.” (Groom answers, “I do”)

Ring Ceremony
And so we come And and Jim, to the presentation of rings by which you symbolize and bind your love.
The circle has long been a symbol of spirit and the power of God. The sky and the earth are round. The wind in its greatest power whirls. The sun and moon, both round, come forth and go down again in a circle. Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing and always come back again to where they were. Without beginning or end and with no point of weakness, the circle is a reminder of the eternal quality of God and of unending strength. Let the seamless circle of these rings become the symbol of your endless love and unending faithfulness. Your wedding rings are most special because they say that even in your uniqueness you have chosen to be bonded, to allow the presence of another human being to enhance who you are. Your rings carry a potent double message: We are individuals and yet we belong; we are not alone. As you wear them through time, they will reflect not only who you are but also the glorious union that you are now creating.
God, bless these rings and the two who exchange them. Fill them with your Holy
Presence. Keep them safe in the circle of Your protection and love.
And, place the ring on Jim’s finger and repeat after me: “With this ring, I pledge my love and faithfulness to you, today, tomorrow and always.”
Jim, place the ring on Andi’s finger and repeat after me: “With this ring, I pledge my love and faithfulness to you, today, tomorrow and always.”
Wear these rings as the enclosing bond of reverence and trust. Fulfill the circle of love that now makes you one.
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Vows
Please join hands, look into each other’s eyes, and repeat after me:

I, Jim, take thee, And, for my lawful wedded wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health as long as we both shall live.
I, And, take thee, Jim, for my lawful wedded husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health as long as we both shall live.

Minister’s Blessing
And and Jim, you now have the opportunity for expressing through your union and partnership, God’s glory, love and healing. How could this be? Through devotion and service to each other. Through patience, kindness, total acceptance of each other, tempered by the willingness to change. You will be tempted, as time goes by, to take for granted the love which today seems so precious and dear, to speak to and treat each other in ways that do not reflect the highest good in both of you. Resist it. Promise to always see the goodness in your partner, even when it’s especially difficult. God will provide you the way, if you are willing. He is the key to your success as a married couple. Call on Him devotedly and consistently to guide your thinking and bless your home. May this marriage be to you a heavenly sanctuary. God bless you.

Pronouncement
Andi and Jim, in the presence of God, your family and friends today, you have spoken the words and performed the rites which unite your lives. It is my legal right as a minister and my greatest joy and privilege to declare you husband and wife. You may now kiss the bride.

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Benediction (The Irish Wedding Blessing)

May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon the fields.

May the light of friendship guide your paths together.
May the laughter of children grace the halls of your home.
May the joy of living for one another trip a smile from your lips, a twinkle from your eye.
And when eternity beckons,
at the end of a life heaped high with love,

May the good Lord embrace you
with the arms that have nurtured you
the whole length of your joy-filled days.

Conclusion:
And now, ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to present to you for the first time, Mr. and Mrs. Ramser.

Dr. Scott Peck on Love

October 3, 2009 - 10:11 am 10 Comments
Children’s story: St. Francis and The Wolf
Who was St. Francis? When you look at all these different pictures of him, what kind of person do you think he was?
I want to tell you a short story, that comes from your RE class on Holy Days and Holidays, about Francis and the wolf, and how he showed us that love overcomes fear…
There once was a little town near where Francis lived and taught.
The people of that town were not happy, they really were sad and afraid!
You see, there was this big, fierce gray wolf that walked and stalked, and growled all around the town… What does fierce look like?
That’s right, the wolf would bear his teeth, and the people would run, put their sheep in the barn, stay inside, and bolt all the doors! They did not know what to do, or what the wolf wanted from them…
So, some of the townspeople went to Francis, and asked him for his advice. They knew of his reputation of being able to talk to the animals, and that he was such a peaceful person, he might know what they should do.
So Francis said he would come over, and soon Francis began walking all around the town… One evening, Francis came face to face with the wolf!
And the large gray wolf began to growl and show his teeth to make Francis afraid, but Francis calmly stood there, and showed that he wasn’t afraid !
Francis knew that often when someone snaps or growls, that it was just the wolf’s way to say, “I need some love!” And if the people won’t love me, then at least, I can make them fear me!” Francis saw that behind unhappiness and anger there is often a need to be understood… Francis reached into his cloak for some bread, and gently held it out to the wolf to eat.
The wolf was amazed at Francis’s kindness! Francis then patted the wolf, and the wolf felt relaxed and glad. Francis quoted the Song of Songs to the wolf, saying that love is stronger than death, stronger than fear, and that hate is often the lack of love.
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From that evening on, the wolf began to follow Francis all around the town… And gradually the wolf became more tame and trusting. All of the townspeople were amazed; they began to relax, unbolt their doors, and the children came out to play, and soon, happiness returned to the streets and town square.
Then it was time for Francis to leave. So he asked his brother, the wolf, to stay and protect the very people he once threatened. The wolf agreed, and in appreciation, the townspeople set out all their table scraps so the wolf would feel loved and well fed. He soon became the town’s pet!
Through Francis’s love and courage to face and then go beyond fear, the prophecy of Micah, where the wolf and the lamb are together was made real and true. Whenever we can turn fear into love, and treat animals and one another with kindness, we will heal our hearts, and become happy….
Blessing For The Animals….
Spirit of Life, and of Love, we ask you to bless these animals that live with us. We pledge to look after them and treat them with kindness. We now bless these animals, in the name of St. Francis, who loved all the creatures of the earth.”

Dr. Scott Peck: On Love

When anyone attempts to speak about Francis of Assisi, one cannot help but be struck by his effulgent love, and sense of endless grace. As Universalists, we can agree with Dr. Scott Peck, the eminent psychiatrist, who looks at the difficulty of our lives, and at the definition of love as a transformational force.

In The Road Less Traveled, he writes:

[“What is this force that pushes us to grow against the ego resistance’s of our own lethargy? It is love. Love is defined as “the will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth.”

When we grow, (as a person, a family or a church community) it is because we are diligently working at it, and we work at it because we love ourselves.

Love is the extension of the self, the very act of evolution.

To try and explain the miracles of grace and evolution, we hypothesize the existence of a God that wants us to grow- a God who loves us. Simple as that might seem, if we take it seriously, we find that this simple notion of a loving God does not make life or death easy. We ask, “Why does God want us to grow?” What are we growing toward? What does this God want of us?”

All of us who postulate a belief in a loving (or Universalist) God come to a single, terrifying idea in the history and consciousness of humankind: God wants us to be like Himself or Herself. We are to grow towards the good, and God is the goal of evolution. It is God who is our source, and it is God who is our destination. This is what is meant when we say God is all in all; the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.” If we believe this, it would demand from us all that we can possibly could give towards loving activity; the constant push towards greater wisdom, effectiveness, self improvement and spiritual growth. Its then no wonder that the idea is repugnant: It brings us face to face with our own ego or laziness.]