New prayers to help people with vows and partings

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

The book, Vows and Partings, stresses thatrelationships "are not static. They begin, develop, grow andchange. They go through highs and lows, joys and pains. They havetheir significant moments, achievements and anniversaries. Somerelationships come close to ending, but are rebuilt throughforgiveness, reconciliation, healing and restoration. Otherrelationships come to an end."

In particular, the book contains services and prayers for peoplewho want to reaffirm their marriage vows - something that anincreasing number of people do in churches up and down the countryduring National Marriage Week (the week including St Valentine'sDay). But there are also suggestions of how to pray when people'smarriages don't work out, when relationships go badly wrong andreach near to breaking point and beyond.

Vows & Partings includes prayers forretirement, engagements, anniversaries, reconciliations,separations and new relationships. Other notable examples includeprayers

  • 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 theNational Executive of Relate, Mrs Ann Leck, was part of theeditorial group for Vows & Partings. Welcomingthe new book, she said: "Here is a response to the need in allchurches for liturgy and prayers at various critical times inpeople's lives. It acknowledges the presence of God at times ofhappiness in relationships. But harder and often ignored are thetimes of loss and despair - times that can feel like failure. Ithas been a moving and encouraging experience to have expressed thedeep emotions of these situations in prayer."


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