The Wedding of Bonni Elizabeth Hall & Andrew James Bromage

Order of Service

Our wedding service was held on Easter Sunday, which is regarded by most Christians as the most sacred celebration day of the year. This choice was deliberate, as the day represented new beginnings and a new life. The service was unquestionably and absolutely Christian, and deeply moving. The bride, groom, and groom's family are Christian, as were most of the guests present. The officiating celebrant, Donald Peters, also happens to be the grandfather of the groom. Rowland Croucher is a well-known author, speaker, and minister, and a friend of the bride and groom; Dorothy Lee is one of the chaplains of Queen's College.

The bride walked down the aisle unescorted, and the bridegroom met her a few steps from the altar to take her hand. The day was a perfect, clear early autumn day (yes, Easter Sunday is in the autumn in the Southern Hemisphere; think "very early October" if you're from the Northern Hemisphere), and the intimate and very beautiful Queen's College chapel was warmly lit with the sunlight, making the brilliant stained-glass windows shine like multi-colored jewels throughout the ceremony.

The bride and groom actually kissed each other two times during the course of the service: once after the Pronouncement and once after the Benediction before returning to walk back down the aisle. It is also a rather charming Australian custom to present the bride with lace horseshoes on long ribbon loops for good luck as she walks back down the aisle; Bonni received three as she made her way back (given by the groom's mother, the groom's godmother, and the groom's cousin, who later caught the bouquet).

This page is a sort of combination of the actual Order of Service which was handed out to guests to follow along with the ceremony, and the ceremony itself, which was a pretty standard modern Anglican service with vows and a few prayers and other phrases taken from the the Uniting Church in Australia service.

The physical Order of Service was a standard folded booklet with a pale golden parchment cover, the pages held together with a gold-edged, green satin ribbon, matching the invitations. It did not have the vows, introduction, address, or other such things in it, only the actual order of the service, Bible readings, hymn lyrics, and other direct information the congregation needed to follow along with the service.

The Address by Rev. Croucher (of John Mark Ministries) which appears here was taken directly from his own notes. I've edited it very slightly for this format, but otherwise it is as Rev. Croucher wrote it.

Note that the elements shown in bold (non-italic) are meant to indicate congregational participation. Some of the hymns have a link you can click to listen to the tune (or in th case of the processional, a full mp3 rendition). All of the .midi files are courtesy of The Cyber Hymnal and are copyright-free (both original music and .midi arrangements). The mp3s were obtained legally from various sources on the web. I've included some "more info" links on the various pieces of music for those who may be interested.

At the ceremony, the prelude music was all Baroque-era, primarily hymns, played on the organ. The processional, sung hymns, music during the signing of the register, and recessional were all played as organ and trumpet duets. The .midis, although they will give you the idea for the tunes of the hymns, cannot possibly do justice to the glorious sound of a pipe organ in a chapel with excellent acoustics, or the brilliant, bright sound of the trumpet and the joyful sound of the voices of the congregation.


Officiating Celebrant Rev. Donald Peters
Assisting Celebrant     Rev. Dr. Rowland Croucher
Reader Rev. Prof. Dorothy Lee
Best Man Gregory Bromage
OrganistColin Jenkins
TrumpetColin Chandler

Processional

"Te Deum", Marc-AntoineCharpentier [mp3: 2.4Mb] (more info)

Welcome

Rev. Peters:
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ,
and the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit
be with you all.
   And also with you.

Rev. Croucher:
(Psalm 118:24)
This is the day that the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Introduction

Rev. Peters:
We have gathered together here in the presence of God to witness the marriage of Andrew James Bromage and Bonni Elizabeth Hall and to ask God's blessing on them as we share their joy.

Marriage is a gift of God our Creator. It is a symbol of God's unending love for his people, and of the union between Christ and his Church. Christ loved his bride the Church, and gave himself for her; so Saint Paul teaches that the husband must love his wife as Christ loved the Church, and that the wife must give due honour to her husband.

As God has called Andrew and Bonni to marriage, so he draws their differing gifts and hope into a unity of love and service.

Hymn

"Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee"
(Tune: Hymn to Joy, Beethoven [midi] Words: Henry Jackson Van Dyke - more info)

Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flowers before Thee, opening to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; drive the dark of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness, fill us with the light of day!

All Thy works with joy surround Thee, earth and heaven reflect Thy rays,
Stars and angels sing around Thee, center of unbroken praise.
Field and forest, vale and mountain, flowery meadow, flashing sea,
Singing bird and flowing fountain call us to rejoice in Thee.

Thou art giving and forgiving, ever blessing, ever blessed,
Wellspring of the joy of living, ocean depth of happy rest!
Thou our Father, Christ our Brother, all who live in love are Thine;
Teach us how to love each other, lift us to the joy divine.

Mortals, join the happy chorus, which the morning stars began;
Father love is reigning o'er us, brother love binds man to man.
Ever singing, march we onward, victors in the midst of strife,
Joyful music leads us Sunward in the triumph song of life.

Bible Readings

Rev. Peters:
(Genesis 2:18-24 NRSV)
Then the LORD God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner." So out of the ground the LORD God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every animal of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper as his partner. So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then he took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called Woman, for out of Man this one was taken." Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh.

Rev. Croucher:
(Ecclesiastes 4:9 NRSV)
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up the other; but woe to one who is alone and falls and does not have another to help. Again, if two lie together, they keep warm; but how can one keep warm alone? And though one might prevail against another, two will withstand one. A threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Rev. Lee:
(Song of Songs 8:6-7 NRSV)
Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is strong as death, passion fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, a raging flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If one offered for love all the wealth of his house, it would be utterly scorned.

Rev. Peters:
Hear the word of the Lord,
   thanks be to God.

Hymn

"In Christ There is No East or West"
(Tune: St. Peter, A. R. Reinagle. [midi] Words: John Oxenham -- more info)

In Christ there is no East or West,
In Him no South or North;
But one great fellowship of love
Throughout the whole wide earth.

In Him shall true hearts everywhere
Their high communion find;
His service is the golden cord,
Close binding humankind.

Join hands, then, members of the faith,
Whatever your race may be!
Who serves my Father as His child
Is surely kin to me.

In Christ now meet both East and West,
In Him meet North and South;
All Christly souls are one in Him
Throughout the whole wide earth.

The Marriage

Rev. Peters:
Scripture teaches that a godly marriage is a lifelong partnership uniting a man and a woman in heart, mind, and body. In the joy of their union, husband and wife enrich and respond to each other, growing in tenderness and understanding. Through marriage a new family is formed, where children may be born and grow in secure and loving care. Marriage is therefore to be honoured by all. no one should enter into it lightly or selfishly, but responsibly and joyfully, with mutual respect and the promise to be faithful.

So let us pray with Andrew and Bonni as they prepare to exchange solemn vows:

Prayer

Rev. Croucher:
Blessed are you, loving God,
your Spirit binds us together.
   Crown us with your goodness;
   sustain us all our days with your love.

Bless Andrew and Bonni with wisdom and pleasure.
Be their friend and companion in joy,
their comfort in need and in sorrow.
And when this life is ended
welcome them into your presence,
there with all your people to praise your holy name:
   Blessed be God; Father Son and Holy Spirit,
   as in the beginning, so now, and for ever. Amen.

Exchange of Vows

Rev. Peters says to the Andrew:
Andrew, will you give yourself to Bonni,
to be her husband,
to live with her according to God's word?
Will you love her,
comfort her,
honour and protect her,
and, forsaking all others,
be faithful to her
so long as you both shall live?

Andrew answers:
I will.

Rev. Peters says to Bonni:
Bonni, will you give yourself to Andrew,
to be his wife,
to live with him according to God's word?
Will you love him,
comfort him,
honour and protect him,
and, forsaking all others,
be faithful to him
so long as you both shall live?

Bonni answers:
I will.

Andrew, taking Bonni's right hand in his, says:
I, Andrew James Bromage,
take you, Bonni Elizabeth Hall,
to be my wife,
according to God's holy will.
I will love you,
and share my life with you,
in sickness and in health,
in want and in plenty,
in conflict and in harmony,
as long as we both shall live.
This is my solemn vow and promise.

Bonni, taking the Andrew's right hand in hers, says:
I, Bonni Elizabeth Hall,
take you, Andrew James Bromage,
to be my husband,
according to God's holy will.
I will love you,
and share my life with you,
in sickness and in health,
in want and in plenty,
in conflict and in harmony,
as long as we both shall live.
This is my solemn vow and promise.

Exchange of Rings

Prayer: Rev. Peters receives the rings and says:
God of steadfast love,
by your blessing,
let these rings be for Andrew and Bonni
a symbol of their love andfaithfulness
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Andrew places the ring on Bonni's finger and says:
I give you this ring
as a symbol of our marriage.
With all that I am and all that I have
I honour you.

Bonni responds:
I accept this ring
as a symbol of your love and devotion
to the end of our days.
May God enable us to grow in love together.

Bonni places the ring on Andrew's finger and says:
I give you this ring
as a symbol of our marriage.
With all that I am and all that I have
I honour you.

Andrew responds:
I accept this ring
as a symbol of your love and devotion
to the end of our days.
May God enable us to grow in love together.

Pronouncement

Rev. Peters joins their hands and declares to the people:
Before God and in the presence of us all,
Andrew and Bonni have joined hands
and made their solemn vows
to live with each other in accordance with God's word.
In the name of the Father,
and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit,
I declare them to be husband and wife.

Hear the words of our Lord Jesus Christ:
(Mark 10:6-9)
But from the beginning of creation,
'God made them male and female.'
'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.'
So they are no longer two, but one flesh.
Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate."

Address

Rev. Rowland Croucher:

Andrew and Bonni...

I've been conducting weddings for 35 years, and this is the first wedding talk I've given to two people who met on the 'net... (and who I met on the 'net).

In 1994, the International Year of the Family, I was commissioned by Harper Collins to write a book about marriage and family. What did I learn in that year, and in 16,000 hours of counseling, and in 39 years of marriage, that can be summarized in three minutes?

First, having a partner, a mate, is a good idea. It's God's idea. The other day I offered to take one of my clients to The Catnap Place; she was going away and her cat was also to have a little holiday. I was sitting in the car waiting for her to bring the cat out in a cage thing and she was an awfully long time. Finally I went in, and she was struggling to control an unwilling cat and shut this poorly constructed cage. She needed another two hands. People who live alone are often in that situation... Our Creator has told us it's not good to be alone. Today you're fixing that!

But you can't be your partner's therapist in th strict sense. You'll never satisfy all your partner's needs. If you do an Alta Vista search you might find a reference to a 1970s sociologist called Elizabeth Bott and "Social Networks". She highlighted the extra stress thrown on to modern marriages with increasing mobility -- moving more often, and further away from the networks of extended family support. So if you are not connected into an extended family network, you must create one. Your church is a good place to start. Preserve your friendships. And each of you should have your own friends/confidantes...

There's a modern idea that "submission" to one another is wrong, or demeaning, or likely to lead to one of you becoming a doormat or to being abused. Now that can happen, sure. But I believe there's great wisdom and joy in "submitting" appropriately to your spouse, provided that yes, it's mutual. I said you submit to a person: you don't have to submit to abuse, which is why it's a good idea to go to a marriage enrichment weekend or get a marriage checkup with an experienced counselor at least once a year.

And I think it's a good idea to pray together. When Christian couples come for counseling about an adulterous situation they sometimes tell me they don't pray together any more. Why not? "I'd feel hypocritical praying with my wife after what I've done." But with all its emotional complications, that's exactly when you should pray together. The best prayer to God is a four-letter word: "HELP!"

About the importance of regular meaningful communication, there's a book on the best-seller lists at the moment entitled "Why Won't Men Listen and Why Can't Women Read Maps?" In my talks to men's and women's groups, I'm saying something like this: "Men usually hope that by not talking about a problem it will go away; women generally know that by talking out a problem it will help." The men are silent; the women ask, in unison, "Who's right?" It's a good idea to schedule communication-time into every week. Jan and I have the same day off -- Tuesday -- when we enjoy our grandchildren, watch a movie, go out to lunch or dinner, and/or just talk....

Now why don't men listen to their wives? It's called "transference", and it's very important to recognize when it's happening in a marriage. Husbands hate to be shamed by their wives (which is why the pubs are full of working-class men; others become workaholics to escape this possibility). Transference is confusing the other with someone else (in this case, one's mother). Women do it too, of course. We bring into marriage all the accumulated experiences with significant others. My wife had an angry father who beat her, often unjustly, until she was eighteen. I rarely get angry, but she can remember vividly the four times I have with her!

Andrew and Bonni, all of us here join together to wish you every happiness. Your marriage will not be trouble-free. That's not possible in life. But may God enrich your marriage, and bless you both as you journey into an exciting future together.

God the Father lovingly enfold you.
God the Son grace your home and table.
God the Holy Spirit crown you with joy and peace.
The Lord bless you and keep you in eternal life. Amen.

Signing of the Register

"Voluntary No. 1", William Boyce [mp3: 5.24Mb] (more info)

Blessing

Rev. Peters:
God of tenderness and strength,
you have called these two persons to marriage
and led them to this day;
go with them now
as they travel through good times,
through trouble,
and through change.
Bless their home,
their partings and their meetings.
Make them worthy of one another's best,
and tender with one another's dreams.
Amen.

Benediction

Rev. Croucher:
(Num 6:24-26 NRSV)
The LORD bless you and keep you;
the LORD make his face to shine upon you,
and be gracious to you;
the LORD lift up his countenance upon you,
and give you peace.
Amen.

Recessional

"Easter Hymn" [mp3: 2.81Mb]
(Tune: from Lyra Davidica, 1708 -- more info)