The Anglican Church in North America’s presentation booklet entitled Holy Matrimony is an authoritative resource for the clergy’s premarital pastoral ministry. The beautifully printed booklet, which includes the Church’s Rite of Holy Matrimony, can be used to conduct the wedding service itself, and so become a treasured keepsake for the couple. Because the overarching purpose of publishing a Holy Matrimony booklet is to help make the renewal of marriage and family life a priority of our Church, it may also be used as a parish-wide teaching tool, fostering afresh a culture of faithful and godly marriage.
The accompanying audio book is packed in a see-through sleeve inside the back cover. It contains 24 short “talks” authored and read by The Rev. Dr. Stephen Noll, Chairman of The Anglican Church in North America’s Task Force on Marriage, Family, and the Single Life. Wed Talks explains to couples and their clergy the meaning of the holy matrimony service. It is not an entire program of preparation for marriage. There are matters such as sex, relatives, money and communication it does not address. Rather, Wed Talks is an overview of the important principles of Christian marriage that are of value to couples both before and after the wedding day. This is Dr. Noll’s own interpretation of marriage: therefore, it is not an official teaching of the Anglican Church in North America. However, the basic principles of marriage apply to other Christian churches, so these talks may be helpful even if one are using another church’s liturgy – or none at all.
The clergy is to take great care to prepare all candidates for Holy Matrimony, and this attractively printed booklet is a resource to that end. In it you will find not only the exact text of the marriage rite; in addition, there are duplicate copies of a Marriage Certificate and a Declaration of Intention to be Married, one each for the church and the couple. And there is a supplemental liturgy for use with the Declaration of Intention.
The rite of Holy Matrimony is a worship service of the Church, in which the couple exchanges vows to uphold this covenant. They do this before God and in the presence of witnesses, who pray that God will bless their life together. The Church considers marriage to be a lifelong covenant between a man and a woman, binding both to self-giving love and exclusive fidelity. While some do not marry, it is important to realize that the covenantal union of man and woman in marriage signifies the communion between Christ, the heavenly bridegroom, and the Church, his holy bride (Ephesians 5:32).
In Holy Matrimony, God establishes and blesses the covenant between husband and wife, and joins them to live together in a communion of love, faithfulness and peace within the fellowship of Christ and his Church. God enables all married people to grow in love, wisdom and godliness through a common life patterned on the sacrificial love of Christ.
Dr. Noll is Professor Emeritus at Trinity School for Ministry, an Anglican priest, theologian and missionary of its Uganda Christian University, credited with building up the University. While a majority of the 12,000 students are Ugandan, students and staff are from many countries.
Incidental music for the audio book was composed by Sunbranch Music Founder Eric Sohlgren, though his many Christ centered songs feature various artists and bridge traditional and contemporary Christian music with rich arrangements engaging lyrics. Sonbranch Producer John Andrew Schreiner is an acclaimed as a collaborator with many world-renowned mainstream and well-known Christian artists. sunbranchmusic.com.