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New wedding resource tackles current issues

   

May 31, 2004
- by Annemarie Plenert

Winnipeg, Man. —The world of marriage preparation is a crazy place for everyone, including pastors trying to keep God as the focus of marriage amidst the madness of the wedding industry.

But help is here. Mennonite Church Canada has just released Weddings, an 80-page book to help pastors in working with the reality of marriage in the present day.

“Weddings provides theological perspective, thoughtful reflections on current issues, and practical ideas on preparing for weddings,” writes Sven Eriksson, denominational minister of Mennonite Church Canada, in the foreword.

Writer Karen Martens Zimmerly, pastor at Grace Mennonite Church in Regina, Sask., compiled the contributions of several pastors and others. Their collective experiences make Weddings a practical and useful tool in responding to the often challenging circumstances that are a part of getting married.

Weddings addresses several issues that have become increasingly prevalent and require discernment in order to find an approach that respects both God and the people involved. These topics include co-habitation, interracial marriages, divorce, second marriages, and non-Christian couples who want a church wedding. It also brings up questions such as appropriate wedding music and giving children a place in the ceremony.

The resource is divided into four main sections, titled “What our theology says about Christian marriage,” “Issues in marriage,” “Marriage and wedding preparation,” and “The wedding as worship.” The sections are organized into headings that deal with particular aspects of these topics using personal stories, articles, and sample outlines for interviews or services. It also contains an extensive list of other resources and where they can be found.

Martens Zimmerly feels that the book is a good start. “It makes resources accessible to couples so they can plan intentionally for the wedding service and focus on making it worshipful and Christian, as opposed to just going through the to-do list from a bridal magazine. It is a hands-on tool for both the pastor and the couple and family.”

Weddings is available from the Mennonite Church Canada Resource Centre (1-866-888-6781) for $10 in bound hard copy format, or from http://www.mennonitechurch.ca/resources/family/wedding.htm.