With the Spring... and I hope by March the spring will be
underway... we begin the Wedding Season in earnest. Well, in
fact we don't start actual weddings till April, but we are holding
a Wedding Seminar at the beginning of March (5th March to be
precise) at which I hope to have a group of our prospective brides
and grooms together in Church and/or the Loft to talk through
some of the issues that are bound to arise as they prepare for
the Big Day. And it won't be just me - I hope that our Organist,
Verger and Flower Guild will be represented to help field a few
questions - and maybe a married couple or two to give them the
benefit of their experience too!
It is coincidence that I had been planning this (and another
day later in the year) to both help the couples concerned and
I hope make some good use of my limited time, before I had heard
of the 'Weddings Project' that has been going around the Dioceses
nationally. And we had a presentation at General Synod in February
also. They have done a lot of research with couples to discover
what makes the most difference to the whole experience of going
through a church wedding. Amazingly (!) it is often down to the
welcome and attitude of the Vicar concerned.
It is always good to get new ideas and I am always on the lookout
for new resources to help with marriage preparation - but I was
much relieved to discover that I was already doing many of the
things recommended by the Weddings Project. What has been helpful
is a well-designed section on the national Church-of-England
website that is very useful for giving couples ideas for their
service. And of course we believe that getting married in Church
- while it doesn't guarantee a marriage that will stand the test
of time, does give couples the best possible start to married
life together. One of the things I try to explore with them is
the reality that - even if they have been living together for
many years (in some cases) being 'married' does make a difference
to the relationship - bringing a whole new dimension.
And I am sure
that all of us could gain a new dimension to our everyday faith
by exploring together this year's Lent Course. While our course
runs on Monday evenings, this is the same course being offered
throughout the Churches Together in Albrighton & Area during
Lent. So if Mondays are not possible, perhaps you could join
in one of the other locations and days? We will be looking at
the Rich Inheritance; Jesus' legacy of love (which sounds sort
of appropriate given the focus on weddings and all things matrimonial!).
We will be looking at the Easter story of course as we travel
towards the climax of Easter Day, through the medium of an empty
tomb, a group of people, a story, a power and a meal - Jesus'
legacy of love.
I am writing
this just before Valentine's Day - so may you take time to make
the most of and to appreciate your loved one - not just on one
day, but on every day of the year. And to remember that God extends
his love to us - not just on one day of the year, or of the week,
but every day too.
God bless you and keep you,