The Ceremony of Marriage
FOR USE BY CLERGY OF THE
UNIVERSAL CHURCH TRIUMPHANT OF THE APATHETIC AGNOSTIC CHURCH
Please note: These are merely guidelines and you are encouraged to alter the ceremonies to suit the tastes and desires of those to be joined. As members of the clergy, we are obligated to serve those who come to us for our services to the best of our ability. Please also consider spiritual counseling as a prerequisite to the actual services for two very good reasons. First, many people in today’s society look to marriage and commitment unions as answers to a failing relationship or tribulations in life. They must be certain they are entering into this next step of their lives fully comprehending the seriousness of their decisions and commitments. Secondly, as a legally ordained minister, you are viewed under the law as a professional. You can be held legally liable for performing marriages that may be contested at a later date. Retain any and all documents and records of your services and check the local laws of the state and or county where the ceremony is to take place.
From the Agnostic point of view, marriage is neither holy nor unholy. Agnosticism does not regard marriage as a religious duty nor as a sacrament that is ordained by heaven. Marriage is at it’s base a personal and social obligation / desire, it is not compulsory. Men and women must have the freedom either to marry or to remain single. Among human beings, the institution of marriage has come about so that society guarantees the perpetuation of the human species and also ensures that the young would be cared for. This is based on the premise that children born through the pleasure of sex must be the responsibility of the partners involved, at least until they have reached a certain level of maturity. And marriage ensures that this responsibility is upheld and carried out.
A healthy society grows through a network of relationships which are mutually intertwined and inter-dependent. Each relationship is a whole-hearted commitment to support and to protect others in a group or community. Marriage plays a very important part in this complex of relationships of giving support and protection. A good marriage should grow and develop gradually from understanding and not impulse, from true loyalty and not just sheer indulgence. The institution of marriage provides a fine basis for the development of culture, a delightful association of two individuals (or more depending on the subject’s cultural paradigms) to be nurtured and to be free from loneliness, deprivation and fear. In marriage, each partner carries a complementary role, giving strength and moral courage to one another, each manifesting a supportive and appreciative recognition of the other's caring and providing for a family. There must be no thought of either man or woman being superior. Each is complementary to the other. Marriage is a partnership of equality, generosity, calmness and dedication.
The following ceremony can be easily adapted to apply to both Hetero and Homosexual couples. I trust that my fellow church brothers and sisters will act accordingly to all couples seeking matrimony. I have used this ceremony three times for non-legal commitment unions. In the case of one where the couple was religious but wished to refrain from giving priority to one or another faith, I simply added “God” to the text and carried on. Good luck and try not to panic to much the first time!
We are gathered here today to celebrate one of life's most pleasant festivities. The wish to share the union of two people with those of whom they love is as old as time itself. We continue in this most human of traditions by uniting __________________ and ___________________ in marriage, witnessed by this assembly, on this day.
Should there be anyone present who with just cause believes this couple should not be united in marriage, they are encouraged to speak now or forever hold their peace.
(Since marriage is no longer viewed as male ownership of a woman, I have omitted the customary offering of the Bride by the father.)
____________________ and __________________ , I ask of you both to remember to offer each other respect, and to remind yourselves often of what brought you here today. Tenderness, gentleness and kindness are the hallmarks of a successful union. When difficulties arise as they will, remember this day. Remember the day you met each other and remember the day you realized that you were in love. Communication, caring, respect and ultimately love should be the hallmark of your commitment. Adhere to this simple advise and you can be assured of lifelong companionship and joy.
(Groom) ________________, do you take _______________ as your Wife? On your honour, do you give your word to love, cherish and protect her, forsaking all others and holding only unto her until death do thee part?
(Bride) ________________, do you take __________________ as your Husband? On your honour, do you offer your word to love, cherish and protect him, forsaking all others and holding only unto him until death do thee part? "
(After rings or other symbols of commitment are exchanged…)
I hereby by the power of the Universal Church Triumphant of the Apathetic Agnostic and the State of__________________, pronounce you both joined in the state of matrimony. Let all those present accept this union with a whole heart and open arms. Let us all offer our best wishes to their present and their future life together as they are now of one body, one flesh, one life. Let us all be happy for them and for ourselves.
You may now kiss your mate.