Friday, October 12, 2007

Church of Norway wedding service


WEDDING


General rules

Matrimony happens when a woman and a man, in the presence of witnesses and under authorised authority (civil or ecclesiastical) declare their vows to each other that they will live together in matrimony, and this is declared to be lawful.

Marriage, according to church order, consists both of a civil as well as an ecclesiastical part. The wedding ceremony, which is legally binding, takes place before God. It is a liturgical ceremony. Individual elements of it, like music, readings and others, must be formulated accordingly.

The ceremony takes place in church or in a chapel which with approval from the Bishop may be used for weddings.

Before the ceremony, the priest – or, in exceptional circumstances, someone else on his/her behalf – has a preparatory talk with the couple.

Hymns and songs must be approved by the priest beforehand, and the music by the cantor/organist.

The forthcoming wedding should be announced beforehand during a service, and the couple should be mentioned in the intercessions.

If a celebration of a Wedding Mass is desired, the liturgy for a Wedding up to and including the last hymn should be followed. This will be the hymn before the Eucharist, followed by the Eucharistic liturgy in the Order of Worship, or one of the alternative Eucharistic liturgies in the Service Book. Alternatively, the Order of Worship may be used. The Introduction of the Order of Worship is then replaced by that of the Order for a Wedding. The Marriage Vows and the Giving of the Rings are placed where the Announcements normally are, and the Intercessions in the Order for a Wedding replace the intercessions in the Order of Worship.
One of the lessons must be from a Gospel.

During the Introduction, the celebration of Wedding Mass is announced, e. g.:

M: Dear (name) and (name). You have come here to (name of church) in order to be married. We are gathered here to rejoice with you. We shall hear your vows to each other and pray for God’s blessing for you and your home. You have also asked to take part in the Eucharist when you start your life together as husband and wife. We will therefore celebrate a Wedding Mass, so that those who wish may join you at the Lord’s Table on this day.

Couples who have been married by civil authority may apply for a service of prayer. See Order of Prayer after a Civil Marriage.

Bells may be rung for about 5 minutes before and after the ceremony.

The Officiant wears a white stole.


THE ORDER FOR A Wedding

Participation of various kinds may be introduced into the ceremony. Wedding guests may participate in the liturgy, and additions to the ceremony may be made in the form of music or readings, if desired combined with lighting of candles. Among the cultural elements there may be openings for elements underlining the ethnic background of the bride and groom. If one party has another denominational background than the Church of Norway, there may be openings for participation from this denomination, after approval from the Bishop. Participation from other denominations as well as cultural elements, these shall be adopted according to the liturgical nature of the wedding ceremony and not be contrary to the theological basis of the Church of Norway.

Elements adding to the liturgy may be placed after part 9 Intercession.

Where the names are mentioned, one can use full name or first name, depending on what is natural in the individual case. In the questions during part 7 The Marriage Vows, full name shall be used.

The readings are taken from the Bible New International Version


1. Prelude/Entrance

Organ music or other suitable music as prelude/entrance.
The bridal couple may process up the nave together to the chancel and may sit together.
If desired, the bridal couple, Maid of Honour and/or the Best Man, representative(s) of the families, officiant and others process into the church.

Vocal or instrumental music may then be performed.

2. Introduction

Either A

M: In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Or B

M: Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Then the bridal couple and the assembly are welcomed with these or similar words:

M: Dear (name) and (name). You have come here to (name of church) in order to be married. We are gathered here to rejoice with you. We shall hear your vows to each other and pray for God’s blessing for you and your home.


Then the Officiant may say

Either A

M: O Lord, how priceless is your unfailing love!
Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast in the abundance of your house;
you give them to drink from your river of delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light. Psalm 36:7-9

Or B
M: Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures for ever.
This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:1, 24

Or C
M: God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. 1 John 4:16b


3. Hymn


4. Lesson(s)

M: God has created us to live in harmony with him and with each other.
He has ordained that man and woman shall be one, and he has confirmed this fellowship by his blessing.
Marriage is God’s generous gift.
To live together as man and woman is to live in trust and love, to share joy and sorrow
and to faithfully stand by each other until life ends.

God’s word testifies that marriage is holy and inviolable.

It is written in the Book of Genesis:
So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
God blessed them and said to them,
“Be fruitful and increase in number;
fill the earth and subdue it.” Genesis 1:27-28a

And our Lord Jesus Christ says:
“Haven’t you read […] that at the beginning the Creator
‘made them male and female’, and said,
‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother
and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’?
So they are no longer two, but one.
Therefore what God has joined together,
let man not separate.” Matthew 19:4-6

M: Let us hear more from God’s word.
2-4 of the following lessons or other suitable readings, at least one from each of the two Testaments.
The lessons may be read by wedding guests.
Those who shall read, go up to the lectern together.


The bridal couple and assembly remain seated during the lessons.

The final lesson ends like this:
“This is the Word of the Lord.”


5. Hymn
The Hymn may be replaced with appropriate vocal or instrumental music.


6. Address
The Officiant gives an address based on one of the lessons read under part 4 or on another appropriate text from the Bible.



7. The Marriage Vows
M: Come before the altar of the Lord, so that we may hear your vows to each other and pray for God’s blessing on you and your home.

The bridal couple stand before the altar rail.


Either A
M: In the presence of God our Creator and before these witnesses, I ask you (the groom’s full name without title): Will you take (the bride’s full name without title) who stands beside you, as your wife?
Groom: I will.
M: Will you love and honour her and be faithful to her for better, for worse, until death do you part?
Groom: I will.

M: Likewise I ask you, (the bride’s full name without title): Will you take (the groom’s full name without title) who stands beside you as your husband?
Bride: I will.
Will you love and honour him and be faithful to him for better, for worse, until death do you part?
Bride: I will.

M: Then join your hands as a sign of this.

The bride and groom face each other and give each other the right hand.
The Officiant shall lay his/her hand on the joined hands of the bride and groom.


M: In the presence of God and before these witnesses you have promised each other that you will live together in matrimony, and have joined your hands as a sign of this. I therefore declare that you lawfully are husband and wife.


Or B
M: In the presence of God our Creator and before these witnesses, I ask you (the groom’s full name without title): Will you take (the bride’s full name without title) who stands beside you, as your wife?
Groom: I will.
M: Likewise I ask you, (bride’s full name without title): Will you take (the groom’s full name without title) who stands beside you as your husband?
Bride: I will.

M: Now repeat after me.
The groom and bride face each other. They join hands and remain so while they say their vows.
The Officiant reads the vows part by part, then the groom and bride repeat in turn.

O: I take you (name) as my wife/husband.
G/B: I take you (name) as my wife/husband.
O: I will love and honour you
G/B: I will love and honour you
O: and faithfully stay with you for better, for worse
G/B: and faithfully stay with you for better, for worse
O: until death do us part.
G/B: until death do us part.

Then the vows are repeated by the other.
The Officiant shall lay his/her hand on the joined hands of the bride and groom.

O: In the presence of God and before these witnesses you have promised each other that you will live together in matrimony, and have joined your hands as a sign of this. I therefore declare that you lawfully are husband and wife.


Here may follow:

8. Giving of Rings

Either A

O: Now give each other the rings, which you shall wear as a sign of your vows of faithfulness.

Each puts the ring on the other’s finger.


Or B

M: Give each other the rings, which you shall wear as a signs of your vows to each other.
Repeat after me.

The Officiant reads the words, then the groom and briderepeat them in turn.

M: (Name), I give you this ring
G/B: (Name), I give you this ring
M: as a sign of my vows of love and faithfulness.
G/B: as a sign of my vows of love and faithfulness.

The ring is then put on the other’s finger.

Then the giving is repeated in the same way by the other.


9. Intercession

O: Let us pray.

The bride and groom kneel at the altar rail. With the laying on of hands, the Officiant prays for the bridal couple one of the following prayers, ending with The Lord’s Prayer.
If desired, guests may also participate, during the intercession, in the laying on of hands.


I

Either A

M: Merciful God, you who have established marriage, and blessed man and woman, we pray: Let your blessing rest upon (name) and (name) who kneel in your presence. Fill them with your love and build their home in peace. Grant them your grace and strengthen them with your Spirit, so that in times of joy and sadness, they may place their trust in you, be faithful to each other and help each other towards eternal life.




Or B

M: Merciful God, we give you thanks for (name) and (name) and for their love for each other. Bless their life as husband and wife.

Help them keep the vows they have made to each other, so that their marriage may be filled with trust, care and joy.

Grant them the ability and will to build their home in peace, so that it will be a place where [children may grow up in safety and] family and friends may find fellowship.
You are the way, the truth and the life; let them walk in your truth. You forgive and heal; help them forgive each other. You are the source of love; help them and all husbands and wives grow and mature in love.



II
Here can be added a free prayer, if desired combined with lighting of candles.
The assembly may also sing a hymn of prayer (while the bride and groom are kneeling).



III
The Intercession always ends with The Lord’s Prayer.

O: Let us together pray The Lord’s Prayer.

A Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
your 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.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.
Amen.

The bride and groom sit.



Here may follow
10. Music/Acts of Symbolism

Wedding guests and others may participate with music, readings or other cultural elements.


11. Hymn

12. The Blessing

Either A

M: facing the assembly:
Let us praise the Lord.

All stand.

ALL: God be praised. Hallelujah. Hallelujah. Hallelujah.

M: The Lord bless you and keep you,
The Lord make his face shine upon you
and be gracious to you,
The Lord lift up his countenance upon you
and give you peace. +

ALL: Amen. Amen. Amen.


Or B

M: facing the assembly:
Receive the Blessing.

All stand.

M: The Lord bless you and keep you,
The Lord make his face shine upon you
and be gracious to you,
The Lord lift up his countenance upon you
and give you peace. +

ALL: Amen.

13. Recessional

Organ music or other appropriate music. The bride and groom leave the church together.

1 comment:

Joseph Clarke said...

This blog post is really interesting.
It's fun to know different wedding traditions around the world and thanks to you, I have now more info regarding weddings ;-0

Cheers and more power to your blogging ;-)