06 February 2002

New prayers to help people with vows and partings

National Marriage Week sees the launch of a new book of prayers and services by the Methodist Church for people at every stage of marriage and other relationships - as a relationship starts, during its good and bad times, when the going gets really tough, and when a relationship ends.

The book, Vows and Partings, stresses that relationships "are not static. They begin, develop, grow and change. They go through highs and lows, joys and pains. They have their significant moments, achievements and anniversaries. Some relationships come close to ending, but are rebuilt through forgiveness, reconciliation, healing and restoration. Other relationships come to an end."

In particular, the book contains services and prayers for people who want to reaffirm their marriage vows - something that an increasing number of people do in churches up and down the country during National Marriage Week (the week including St Valentine's Day). But there are also suggestions of how to pray when people's marriages don't work out, when relationships go badly wrong and reach near to breaking point and beyond.

Vows & Partings includes prayers for retirement, engagements, anniversaries, reconciliations, separations and new relationships. Other notable examples include prayers

  • on losing a loved one to Alzheimer's Disease
  • in a relationship that has suffered violence or abuse
  • of a parent whose son or daughter comes out
  • when a marriage has ended in divorce.

Methodist Church Vice President and a former Chair of the National Executive of Relate, Mrs Ann Leck, was part of the editorial group for Vows & Partings. Welcoming the new book, she said: "Here is a response to the need in all churches for liturgy and prayers at various critical times in people's lives. It acknowledges the presence of God at times of happiness in relationships. But harder and often ignored are the times of loss and despair - times that can feel like failure. It has been a moving and encouraging experience to have expressed the deep emotions of these situations in prayer."


  1. 'Vows & Partings' is published by Methodist Publishing House for £3.50 plus p&p. To order call 01733 332202 or e-mailsales@mph.org.uk  (Quote ref: PE130)
  2. National Marriage Week 2002 runs from 10-17 February. It includes a major conference hosted by faith leaders and family groups. Further information from the Futureway Trust.

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