Marriage and Family Covenants
Whatever one says about the Order's relationship to marriage and families (and much has and can be said on this topic), I think there is one thing we can all agree was part of it: a demand that it be approached with serious intentionality. We used to shock good church folk who took the Marriage and the Family
advanced course offered by the Ecumenical Institute with the beginning question we threw at the participants: "Why in God's name would you ever want to get married today?"
Members of the Order who wished to be married were expected to do more than normal advance reflection on just that question. We asked them to write a Marriage Covenant in which they articulated their joint understanding of the family mission (and created a symbol for it), the venue and timeline for the family's projected future engagement and its economic, political and cultural modes of operation. This document became the basis of a covenant not only between the couple but also with the larger community, and the individuals asked that community to hold them accountable for the decisions they had made and declared. Each year, on the anniversary of their marriage, the community did just that, in a brief ceremony that called upon each of them to publicly answer whether they had, over the past year, been faithful to their covenant of marriage--after which, an absolution was pronounced.
The Harper Family Preamble and Meeting Design
- 01 Jul 2009