Alternative Services: Series One

    Alternative Services, Series One:
The Form of
Solemnization of Matrimony
     
    This service is virtually identical with the service in the Prayer Book proposed in 1928.
     
  Authorization
     
    This service is authorized pursuant to Canon B 2 of the Canons of the Church of England for use until further resolution of the General Synod. Canon B 3 provides that decisions as to which of the authorized services are to be used shall, in the case of occasional offices (other than Confirmation and Ordination), be made by the minister conducting the service, subject to the right of any of the persons concerned to object beforehand to the form of service proposed.
     
  Introduction
     
    At the day and time appointed for solemnization of Matrimony, the persons to be married shall come into the body of the church with their friends and neighbours: and there standing together, the man on the right hand and the woman on the left, the Priest shall say
     
    Dearly beloved, we are gathered here in the sight of God and in the face of this congregation, to join together this man and this woman in Holy Matrimony; which is an honourable estate, instituted of God himself, signifying unto us the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and his Church; which holy estate Christ adorned and beautified with his presence, and first miracle that he wrought, in Cana of Galilee, and is commended in Holy Writ to be honourable among all men; and therefore is not by any to be enterprised, nor taken in hand, unadvisedly, lightly, or wantonly; but reverently, discreetly, soberly, and in the fear of God, duly considering the causes for which Matrimony was ordained.
     
    First, It was ordained for the increase of mankind according to the will of God, and that children might be brought up in the fear and nurture of the Lord, and to the praise of his holy name.
     
    Secondly, It was ordained in order that the natural instincts and affections, implanted by God, should be hallowed and directed aright; that those who are called of God to this holy estate, should continue therein in pureness of living.
     
    Thirdly, It was ordained for the mutual society, help, and comfort, that the one ought to have of the other, both in prosperity and adversity.
     
    Into which holy estate these two persons present come now to be joined.
     
    Therefore if any man can shew any just cause, why they may not lawfully be joined together, let him now speak, or else hereafter for ever hold his peace.
     
    When two or more marriages are solemnized at the same time, all that follows, as far as the Psalm, shall be said in each case severally.
     
    Speaking unto the persons that shall be married the Priest shall say
     
    I require and charge you both, as ye will answer at the dreadful day of judgement when the secrets of all hearts shall be disclosed, that if either of you know any impediment, why ye may not be lawfully joined together in Matrimony, ye do now confess it. For be ye well assured, that so many as are coupled together otherwise than God's word doth allow are not joined together by God; neither is their Matrimony lawful.
     
    At which day of Marriage, if any man do allege and declare any impediment, why they may not be coupled together in Matrimony, by God's law, or the laws of this realm; then the solemnization must be deferred, until such time as the truth be tried.
     
     
  The Marriage
     
    If no impediment be alleged, then shall the Priest say unto the man
     
    N, wilt thou have this woman to thy wedded wife, to live together according to God's law in the holy estate of Matrimony? Wilt thou love her, comfort her, honour and keep her, in sickness and in health? and, forsaking all other, keep thee only unto her, so long as ye both shall live?
     
    The man shall answer
     
    I will.
     
    Then shall the Priest say unto the woman
     
    (either)
     
    N, wilt thou have this man to thy wedded husband, to live together after God's ordinance in the holy estate of Matrimony? Wilt thou obey him, and serve him, love, honour, and keep him in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all other, keep thee only unto him, so long as ye both shall live?
     
    (or)
     
    N, wilt thou have this man to thy wedded husband, to live together according to God's law in the holy estate of Matrimony? Wilt thou love him, comfort him, honour and keep him, in sickness and in health? and, forsaking all other, keep thee only unto him, so, long as ye both shall live?
     
    The woman shall answer
     
    I will.
     
    Then shall the Priest say
     
    Who giveth this woman to be married to this man?
     
    Then shall they give their troth to each other in this manner.
     
    The Priest, receiving the woman at her father's or friend's hands, shall cause the man with his right hand to take the woman by her right hand, and to say after him as follows
     
    I, N, take thee, N, to my wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse: for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health; to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God's holy law; and thereto I give thee my troth.
     
    Then shall they loose their hands; and the woman, with her right hand taking the man by his right hand, shall likewise say after the Priest, one or other of these vows
     
    I, N, take thee, N, to my wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, cherish, and to obey, till death us do part, according to God's holy ordinance; and thereto I give thee my troth.
     
    (or)
     
    I, N, take thee, N, to my wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse: for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health; to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God's holy law; and thereto I give thee my troth.
     
    Then they shall again loose their hands; and the man shall give unto the woman a ring, laying the same upon the book.
     
    Before delivering the ring the Priest may say
     
    Bless, O Lord, this ring, and grant that he who gives it and she who shall wear it may remain faithful to each other, and abide in thy peace and favour, and live together in love until their lives' end. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
     
    And the Priest, taking the ring, shall deliver it to the man, to put it upon the fourth finger of the woman's left hand. And the man, holding the ring there, and taught by the Priest, shall say
     
    With this ring I thee wed; with my body I thee honour; and all my worldly goods with thee I share: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
     
    Then shall the man leave the ring upon the fourth finger of the woman's left hand, and they shall both kneel down; but the people shall remain standing. Then shall the Priest say
     
    O Eternal God, Creator and Preserver of all mankind, giver of all spiritual grace, the author of everlasting life: Send thy blessing upon these thy servants, this man and this woman, whom we bless in thy name; that, living faithfully together, they may surely perform and keep the vow and covenant betwixt them made, whereof this ring given and received is a token and pledge; and may ever remain in perfect love and peace together, and live according to thy laws; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
All
  Amen.
     
    Then shall the Priest join their right hands together, and say
     
    Those whom God hath joined together let no man put asunder.
     
    Then shall the Priest speak unto the people
     
    Forasmuch as N and N have consented together in holy wedlock, and have witnessed the same before God and this company, and thereto have given and pledged their troth either to other, and have declared the same by giving and receiving of a ring, and by joining of hands; I pronounce that they be man and wife together, In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
     
    And the Priest shall add this Blessing
     
    God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Ghost, bless, preserve, and keep you; the Lord mercifully with his favour look upon you; and so fill you with all spiritual benediction and grace, that ye may so live together in this life, that in the world to come ye may have life everlasting.
All
  Amen.
     
     
 
  The Blessing of the Marriage
     
    Then the Priest, followed by the man and the woman, shall go to the Lord's Table, while there is said or sung a Psalm. The following are suitable:
     
    Psalm 128            Â  Beati omnes
     
1
  Blessed are all they that fear the Lord :
    and walk in his ways.
     
2
  For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands :
    O well is thee, and happy shalt thou be.
     
3
  Thy wife shall be as the fruitful vine :
    upon the walls of thine house;
     
4
  Thy children like the olive-branches :
    round about thy table.
     
5
  Lo, thus shall the man be blessed :
    that feareth the Lord.
     
6
  The Lord from out of Sion shall so bless thee :
    that thou shalt see Jerusalem in prosperity all thy life long;
     
7
  Yea, that, thou shalt see thy children's children :
    and peace upon Israel.
     
    Glory be to the Father, and to the Son :
    and to the Holy Ghost;
    as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be :
    world without end. Amen.
     
    Psalm 67           Â  Deus misereatur
     
1
  GOD be merciful unto us, and bless us :
    and shew us the light of his countenance, and be merciful unto us.
     
2
  That thy way may be known upon earth :
    thy saving health among all nations.
     
3
  Let the people praise thee, O God :
    yea, let all the people praise thee.
     
4
  O let the nations rejoice and be glad :
    for thou shalt judge the folk righteously, and govern the nations upon earth.
     
5
  Let the people praise thee, O God :
    yea, let all the people praise thee.
     
6
  Then shall the earth bring forth her increase :
    and God, even our own God, shall give us his blessing.
     
7
  God shall bless us :
    and all the ends of the world shall fear him.
     
    Glory be to the Father, and to the Son :
    and to the Holy Ghost;
    as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be :
    world without end. Amen.
     
    Psalm 37. 3-7            Â  Spera in Domino
     
3
  Put thou thy trust in the Lord, and be doing good :
    dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.
     
4
  Delight thou in the Lord :
    and he shall give thee thy heart's desire.
     
5
  Commit thy way unto the Lord, and put thy trust in him :
    and he shall bring it to pass.
     
6
  He shall make thy righteousness as clear as the light :
    and thy just dealing as the noon-day.
     
7
  Hold thee still in the Lord :
    and abide patiently upon him.
     
    Glory be to the Father, and to the Son :
    and to the Holy Ghost;
    as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be :
    world without end. Amen.
     
    The Psalm ended, the people kneeling, and the man and the woman kneeling before the Lord's Table, the Priest standing at the Table, and turning his face towards them, shall say
     
    Let us pray.
     
    Lord, have mercy upon us.
All
  Christ, have mercy upon us.
    Lord, have mercy upon us.
     
All
  Our Father, which art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done,
in earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil. Amen.
     
Priest
  O Lord, save thy servant, and thy handmaid;
All
  Who put their trust in thee.
     
Priest
  O Lord, send them help from thy holy place;
All
  And evermore defend them.
     
Priest
  Be unto them a tower of strength;
All
  From the face of their enemy.
     
Priest
  O Lord, hear our prayer,
All
  And let our cry come unto thee.
     
Priest
  O God of our fathers, bless these thy servants, and sow the seed of eternal life in their hearts; that whatsoever in thy holy Word they shall profitably learn, they may in deed fulfil the same; that so, obeying thy will, and alway being in safety under thy protection, they may abide in thy love unto their lives' end; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
    Amen.
     
    This Prayer next following shall be omitted, where the woman is past child-bearing.
     
    O merciful Lord and heavenly Father, by whose gracious gift mankind is increased; bestow, we beseech thee, upon these two persons the heritage and gift of children; and grant that they may see their children christianly and virtuously brought up to thy praise and honour, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
All
  Amen.
     
    This Prayer shall follow
     
    O God,who hast taught us that it should never be lawful to put asunder those whom thou by Matrimony hadst made one, and hast consecrated the state of Matrimony to such an excellent mystery, that in it is signified and represented the spiritual marriage and unity betwixt Christ and his Church: Look mercifully upon these thy servants, that both this man may love his wife, according to thy Word, (as Christ did love his spouse the Church, who gave himself for it, loving and cherishing it even as his own flesh,) and also that this woman may be loving and amiable, and faithful to her husband, and in all quietness, sobriety, and peace, be a follower of holy and godly matrons. O Lord, bless them both, and grant them to inherit thy everlasting kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
All
  Amen.
     
    Then shall the Priest say this Blessing
     
    Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Pour upon you the riches of his grace, sanctify and bless you, that ye may please him both in body and soul, and live together in holy love unto your lives' end.
All
  Amen.
     
    If there be a Communion, the foregoing prayer and blessing shall be said over the man and woman immediately before the final blessing of the congregation at the Communion.
     
    If there be no Communion, here shall follow the Sermon; or there shall be read some portion of Scripture. And then the Priest shall dismiss those that are gathered, saying
     
    Let us pray.
    O almighty Lord, and everlasting God, vouchsafe, we beseech thee, to direct, sanctify, and govern, both our hearts and bodies, in the ways of thy laws, and in the works of thy commandments; that through thy most mighty protection, both here and ever, we may be preserved in body and soul; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
All
  Amen.
     
    The blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, be amongst you and remain with you always.
All
  Amen.
     
     
  The Communion
     
    lf there be a Communion, the following Collect, Epistle, and Gospel, or the Collect, Epistle, and Gospel of the day, may be used immediately after the Prayer for child-bearing; or after the Collect preceding it, if that be not said.
     
   
The Collect
 
     
    O God our Father, who by thy holy Apostle hast taught us that love is the fulfilling of the law: Grant to these thy servants that, loving one another, they may continue in thy love unto their lives' end; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God world without end.
All
  Amen.
     
   
The Epistle
 
     
    For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
   
Ephesians 3. 14-19
     
   
The Gospel
 
     
    As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
   
St. John 15. 9-12
     
     
    Copyright
     
    © The Registrars of the Convocations of Canterbury and York, 1965, 1966
    The copyright of this service is assigned with effect from 1 July 1978 to the Central Board of Finance of the Church of England, and with effect from 1 January 1999 to The Archbishops' Council of the Church of England.