Wedding: Cookie & Cathy

Well done Cookie and Cathy! What a great day on Saturday down on the banks of the Maribyrnong!!! The Liturgical Risks? For Cookie it was picking up a guitar and singing Cathy & family down the aisle….despite grave fears from all who know and love him he pulled it off!!! For me it was trying to talk about the evangelical disciplines without boring everyone to tears.
Thankfully the “chastity” section seemed to keep people awake! Comments included “There was too much sex”, “Sex, Sex, Sex thats all you think about”, “You talked about sex like God invented the thing.”, ” I’d never heard about sex in a broader context like that.I got it!” The other liturgical risk was Brent Lyons Lee doing the full “I so wanna be a rock god” worship leader bit for “Hear our Praises” wearing his baby pink shirt… talk about a “closet pentecostal” in more ways than one! They’re gunna bash you in Norlane mate!
Ceremony below…

The River and The Tree: Dave and Cathy’s Wedding
Prelude Music: from Jesse and band.
Music: Forever, by Ben Harper
Cookie’s family walks in from the river, welcomed into the space by friends. Then Wilson family, welcomed by friends, while Cookie sings.
Welcome: Marcus Curnow
On behalf of David, Cathy and their families, a warm welcome to the banks of the Maribyrnong River today.
This is a significant place as the images of the ‘tree by the riverside’ and ‘discerning a sense of call’ have been very important to Cathy and Dave in shaping this ceremony.
Throughout the day David and Cathy encourage you to enjoy the surrounds. Be aware of your senses, what you see and hear. Breathe deeply and take it in.
It is one way we can appreciate our dependence upon the creation, the role that marriage plays in maintaining this connection, and give thanks to the Creator who sustains all of this.
At the beginning of this ceremony David and Cathy wish to acknowledge the traditional custodians of this place, the peoples of the Kulin nations, clan of the Murin Bulluk who have lived long and well on this land.
They also want us to be aware of our emotions. What it is that each of us feel and bring to this place and celebration today.
Perhaps goodwill, a sense of connection with David and Cathy and their communities, excited hopes for them, a desire to let go, to enjoy and celebrate.
Or perhaps feelings that involve the more difficult parts of being community. Weddings can raise fears and expectations, painful memories of people who have died or are not here, reminders of relationships that have failed or that remain un-reconciled.
Whatever we feel let us bring all of our memories of times shared with Cathy and David; the good and the bad; our hopes, as well as our fears for their future. Let us bring our journeys together and offer them to the God who allows us to be honest.
Opening Prayer: Mr. Geoff Wilson
Song: Hear our Praises
The Vocation (Call) of Marriage: Marcus Curnow
Reading by: Edith Wilson

“Marriage is not a lifelong attraction of two individuals to each other, but a call for two people to witness together to God’s love. The basis of marriage is not mutual affection, or feelings, or emotions and passions that we associate with love, but a vocation, a being elected to build together a house for God in this world.”

In this tradition, marriage is considered a sacrament, a religious vocation. David and Cathy like brothers and sisters of a religious order today you will make certain vows. Catholic religious swear vows of Stability, Chastity, Poverty and Obedience. Dave and Cathy, today you will not make a vow of Stability: but you will make a commitment for life. You will not take a vow of Chastity but you will take a vow of sexual fidelity. You will not take a vow of poverty but you will vow to share all possessions. You will not vow obedience but you will mutual influence and submission.
The word vocation derives from the Latin “vox”, meaning “voice.” As Nowen suggests marriage is more than a response to the voice within; the private attraction you sense toward each other. Marriage is also a divine call to a holy life; a lifelong process of listening for God’s summons, hearing Gods voice and responding to God’s call of love in the world.
Declaration of Call:
David and Cathy:
Having heard the nature of the call. Of your own free will, understanding the responsibility and commitment it invites, will you choose to belong to each other in the vocation of marriage?
We will
Immediate Family (they stand)
Geoff and Liesje, Clive and Valerie, you have raised David and Cathy out of the vocation of your own marriages.
Edith and Dianna, Andrew and Maria, Narelle and Shane, you have grown up with and journeyed alongside them.
Will you give your blessing to their marriage and share in its joys and challenges as they embark on this way of life together
We will
Community of family and friends (they stand)
Will you give your blessing and will you support them as they embark on this way of life together.
We will
Readings: Psalm 1 (Dianna Wilson) and Acts 17: 22-28 (Narelle)
Homily: Rev. Ron Ham and Marcus Curnow
Introduction: Rev. Ron Ham
Dave and Cathy, as you, Marcus and I have prepared for this day, we have been inspired by some helpful images. We don’t want to ignore any of them because they represent the ways in which, and the places where, we find God and God finds us!
Some of these images are personal to you – the river below us reminds you, Dave, of the Murray River so important to you in your growing up, and now. The trees are so loved by you, Cathy, because your family home is planted among them in the hills. River and trees speak to both of you of the whole Creation which mediates the presence of God.
Two other images are common to all of us:
* We have acknowledged the original inhabitants of this land on which we stand, an image linking us to a past we have ignored but which reminds us that God meets us in all of our brothers and sisters, whoever they may be.
* Henri Nouwen has suggested that in marriage we are building together a house of God in the world. What an image that is! Not just a house of God at our particular street address, but in the world – we are to nourish each other in the privacy of our home, but not as an indulgence for ourselves alone.
That means that your home will be ‘a house of God in the world’, because the doors will be open so that you may go out into the world, and for some of the world to come in to you for hospitality; God meets you at your street address, but waits to meet you in the house of the world.
Dave and Cathy, will this continue? Do you think you may remember any of this homily in twenty years time? I don’t care whether you remember or not so long as the images which inspire you now may continue to energise your life.
You are now living authentically in an alternative community-sensitive lifestyle informed by these images. What shape will authentic living mean for you in twenty years? You cannot possibly know. You may be trying to understand the culture in which your teenage children are living!
You will keep on discovering what shape that living should be by adding two other images: you will live your lives as an inward journey and as an outward journey. The inward journey is a life of prayer and contemplation where you open yourselves to what Paul the Apostle, in his Ephesians letter, calls “the immeasurable greatness of the power of God in us who believe; the mighty power of God in raising Jesus Christ from the dead.” This regular appointment with Jesus Christ, made real to you by the Holy Spirit, will keep the ear of your hearts open to hear what God is saying to you.
And you will discover the shape of your living by hearing God speaking to you in the outward journey when you go out of your street address into the house of the world where you will discover God there ahead of you, sometimes speaking in the voice of the “least of these”, Christ’s brothers.
Marcus has something to say about what this might mean for you now that you are to become a married couple.
The Evangelical Disciplines and the Vocation of Marriage: Marcus Curnow
As Ron has said hearing the call of God has been important for you. Earlier we mentioned the vows of religious brothers and sisters, suggesting that their insights on vocation are not just for single life but can be applied to marriage and us all. Just before you say your vows to each other I wanted to say some things about these “Evangelical disciplines” Poverty Chastity and Obedience, that have stood the test of time in sustaining alternative households in our world.
Vow of Poverty: Money and The Economy of Enough
Delwyn and Peter are here today. At their wedding in this place the preacher gave them a memorable blessing. “I hope you will never have to know the burden of wealth.” It expresses gospel concern about the power of greed over our spirit and the way it builds unequal societies. Dave and Cathy, Money is a major issue in spirituality, community and in relationships. Your going to fight about it!
In the economy of this world it seems there is never enough,
The vow of poverty is a response to this scarcity….and has never been about celebrating poverty. Just ask a poor person!
The vow of Poverty involved renouncing private ownership so that through sharing our possessions poverty could be overcome. Ironically I made many religious houses very rich!
In vowing to share what you have today you are creating your own economy. Ecomony has its roots in the Greek word oikos, which means household, and was also associated with the early church where Christians came together by sharing their possessions.
When Jesus feeds people outdoors, turning water to wine at weddings, much like we are going to do today…. the message is that when we share there may not always be much but there is always enough.
The Vow of Poverty means you can live simply. Anyone who knows David will know he is very careful and thoughtful about how he uses his money and time. This is a good thing but Cathy, make sure he doesn’t get too careful. Simple lifestyle is not about making you more pure, it doesn’t change the world, it’s about celebrating ENOUGH! It points to the abundance and the extravagance of Gods grace to us.
Because of this it means that we have time to live in close proximity to the poor and their needs. Often the voice of God is most clearly heard in those who are broken and you have both sought to do this through your work at TEAR, Urban Seed and your own homes. Remain close to this perspective.
An important part of the vow of poverty involved not just renunciation but taking up of common work. From Brad and Jen in Hollywood down we know that self fulfilment through career is a major barrier to marriage. In the economy of this world, Instead of binding us together our work tears us apart.
Find some work that brings you together. Even if its not in your professional lives, think about it in the work of household.
Today’s economy has made housework & homemaking, a menial, even degrading task. But there is much in the common work of making home, the art of thrift, raising children, grow some of your own food, raising animals, sharing with others that can build an inclusive marriage.
And this connects with the second vow.
Chastity: Sex and fidelity to People, Land and Place
If poverty is about money, chastity is about sex. Guys, If you thought the fight about money is difficult wait till the fights about sex. Again in the Economy of our world it seems there is never enough?
Our basic human desires are preyed upon to sell things. Its seems at times there is no higher purpose to human sexuality than recreation or companionship in the here and now. There is a lot of flesh!!!
Fundamental to the idea of the vow of chastity is not prudish Christian hang up’s about sexuality but an understanding about the profound connection between flesh and spirit.
Wendell Berry, the Theologian and Farmer, whose thoughts have been so defining in building a sense of community that you’re part of here in Footscray gives us a different vision.

“Sexual Love is at the heart of community life. Sexual love is the force that in our bodily life connects us most intimately to the Creation, to the fertility of the world, to farming and the care of animals. It brings us into the dance that holds the community together and joins it to its place.”

These are not ideas commonly heard on Desperate Housewives or Sex in the City.
Today you are not taking a vow of chastity but you are taking a vow of sexual fidelity that is not just about ecstatic highs but about the spiritual connection of your bodies to the whole of creation.
Creation has its cylces, and so does human sexuality. Fidelity in marriage creates households where ecstasy can be returned too. These cycles may also involve the creation and raising of children. No kids, no community. Even the boss of our economy Peter Costello understands this. It also invovles the fidelity of our bodies to the places we live in, the land on which our households are located, the connection of our bodies to the food that sustains us and the common work of producing and consuming in ways that are healthy for us, others and the earth. Good sex involves fidelity to creation and all its creative processes, to land and to place.
You have demonstrated this in your images of the River and the Tree, valuing the places from which you come, the households where you have created and raised.
This is good sex in its broadest sense, our bodies alive with the spiritual, connected with and respectful of the natural rhythms, processes and limits of God’s creation. Get into it guys.
Obedience: Power & Freedom
The final vow is that of Obedience. Its an awkward sort of word in the Economy of our world which worships freedom of choice and the power of the individual. Let us be honest, In the name of marriage and obedience the church has often defended and perpetuated abusive relationships and yet central to this vow is the idea of giving up our own sense of will for the sake of community and others.
The apostle Paul describes this, at times using the language of equality (which modern people like) or at others the language of mutual submission ( which modern people struggle with) but its emphasis is the same.
Love involves the sacrifice of power.
This is central to the message of Christianity, Jesus, God incarnate loves us so much that he dies on a cross.
Marriage is a gift that helps us to understand, practise and perfect love. Your household becomes a space where we learn politics. Where we get confronted and have to deal with our power issues.
It is sometimes said “At marriage Two become one flesh, and within six months you can tell which one.”
Cookie, you are older, organised, and do what you say, doggedly at times, there is great power in that.
Often your strength works in support of people who are broken and let me say you have the respect of this community in that regard. The downside is that sometimes you become attached to ideas and causes, with an inflexibility that drives us up the wall.
One of the ideas that we spoke of around your theme of “The River and The Tree” was that of interdependence. Trees need rivers to be watered as rivers need trees to keep the water tables in balance.
Cathy I know Cookie can be a very strong river. You will need to be a strong tree. I know this is possible because you come from a family of fine Dutch women, who tell me that you are also very strong willed.
Together you will need to learn the skills of negotiating power needed to sustain your marriage and community in our world. May your committment to the vow of obedience mean you have many, good, creative, life giving fights.
Soon you will make your vows. These are not ideas that one can simply get attached to. Love is an art that takes work. Soon the time for words will be over and you will need to live it. Thankfully you are not alone. The voice of God is the living call of a living Christ whose love is accessible to all. May the call and love of Christ that has sustained households of grace and peace across the ages go with you. Amen.
The Covenanting: Rev. Ron Ham
Cathy, I love you
I, Dave Cook take you Catherine Heather Gaye Wilson to be my wife
I believe that God has called us together, and I promise that I will ever strive to place our common faith at the heart of our marriage.
I promise to love you
To cherish you
To comfort you
To respect you
And to support you
Whatever the future holds, I promise to walk with you as my partner, confidant and friend, as long as we both shall live.
Dave, I love you
I, Cathy Wilson take you David Neville Cook to be my husband
I believe that God has called us together, and I promise that I will ever strive to place our common faith at the heart of our marriage.
I promise to love you
To cherish you
To comfort you
To respect you
And to support you
Whatever the future holds, I promise to walk with you as my partner, confidant and friend, as long as we both shall live.
Ron: (Holds up rings)
David: Cathy I give you this ring, a symbol of my everlasting commitment to you and to God.
Cathy: David, I give you this ring, a symbol of my everlasting commitment to you and to God.
Blessing and Pronouncement The Kiss
Signing of the Register:
Song performed by Felicity: Deeper River (Digby Hannah)
Prayers: Ian Charles and Dave White
Song: Irish Blessing
Blessing and Announcement of Couple: Marcus Curnow
Recessional: band to continue music for Irish Blessing.


6 Replies to “Wedding: Cookie & Cathy”

  1. A comment I hear from one of the Mt Evelyn Reform people (Mim) was how much she really really enjoyed the wedding and could feel a good strong sense of community.

  2. Gee, you’re quick Marcus – I checked just on the off chance you might have this posted, and you’ve got the whole thing here.
    Thanks so much for a great day – we can’t get over how beautiful it was. It was so special to share the day with so many of our family and friends, and Marcus and Ron really nailed the message. Many thanks to everyone who made the day such a success.
    We’re having fun in NZ and will be home soon. Tell you all about it then.

  3. I may have a pink shirt…I may be a pentecostal… and I may even get bashed in Norlane (at least its amongst the poor unlike Footscray)… but you have the new Duchess of Cornwell…Camilla. I couldn’t think of anyone more fitting.

  4. I wish I could have been there, but hey life is like that at times. WOW Cussa you rock, what a grouse message. We had dinner with the couple in our house here in NZ on the Honeymoon. The big change in cookie was he had a grin bigger than the social coruption that NIKE undertakes in. It was great to see them here and bless you guys.

  5. Hey you two. Sorry I couldn’t be there but untill they invent an aircraft to get to Australia in less than 5 hours, it was going to be difficult. It sounds and looks like it was an amazing day. You can tell that God was at the centre of the whole day and will be in you continuing relationship together. You take care of each other and I’m sure we’ll be seeing each other somewhere in the world. Love ya’

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