Wedding: “Fire at Dawn” The Toms-Gaskill Wedding


Congratulations to Paul and Amber for a truly unique wedding, although dawn (ie.5.45 am) is rather early…I slept for the rest of the day! Full ceremony and pictures below…


“Fire at Dawn” The Toms-Gaskill Wedding
November 26, 2006

Space Setup: Coloured flags create a large circle in a clearing at the edge of the Maribyrnong River at Pipemakers Park. At the centre of the circle is a steel hearth in a central aisle filled with smouldering coals. At the front is an altar with cross and bible to which elements are added during the opening prayer.
Ushers: Luke and Kyle, Timshel and Shelly
Gate opener: Mark and Kiah
PA: Dave Waterworth
Welcome: Marcus Curnow
Good Morning. On behalf of Paul, Amber and their families, welcome to Pipemakers Park this morning. This is a place with a living sense of history and I encourage you to enjoy the surrounds. I Invite you to make a circle around our hearth. At the Easter Vigil of the Christian Church fire is used as a symbol of Christ and the rising sun his resurrection. Along with fire we will use the other elements, of earth, air and water, in today’s ceremony which have been an important theme in Paul’s art and are also a 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 this circle of life.
Entrance:
Music: “My Lagan Love” performed by Alira and Kathe’rine
Entry of families from different directions on the path,
(Toms family from the River; Gaskill family from the bluestone building).
Attendants: Stephen Toms and Colin White; Miko Gaskill and Liana Leach
Stephen and Miko act as a thurifer leading their group swinging incense via a thurible. Colin and Liana act as boat boy/girl (holding extra incense).

The families join and enter, then take their seats. Paul and Amber walk past the hearth to the right of the altar.

Marking the Circle:
Marcus (walking from altar to hearth facing East):
May there be Peace in the East, Peace in the South, Peace in the West, Peace in the North
(Draws a Circle with finger sunwise, from the North back around to the North again.)
May there be Peace in this Circle, and throughout the whole Earth. Us cres yn kylgh ha yn norvys.
Acknowledgement of Country
The indigenous story of the creation of fire told in mosaic, and an underground oven in the garden behind us act as a reminder that this is a place of age old ceremonies of celebration, initiation and renewal. To begin, Amber and Paul wish to acknowledge the traditional custodians of this place, the peoples of the Murin Bulluk clan of the Wurunjeri of the Kulin Nations. People of Waa the Crow for whom this river was important. We acknowledge their elders and families and commit ourselves to care for the land with them. May our worship and our service be work for reconciliation with people and with our God.
(Take eucalyptus branch, strip some leaves and place in fire, return down ailse and place on altar for the blessings.)
Opening Prayer: Suzy Gilbert
Holy God, Creator of the elements
Earth beneath us, Sustainer of Life; (stone) Nod
Air around us, Inspiring all Life; (thuribles) Stephen Toms and Miko Gaskill
Water within us, Refreshing of Life. (jug of water) Neil Smitham
Fire of Stars above us, Empowerment of Life;
Eternal Circle of Love, Three and One, who knows neither morning nor evening, yet surrounds us in love both night and day.
Lift the curtain from the world and the veil from our hearts
May we know and dwell at the thin places, where your kingdom breaks into our world.
May we walk this day in the steps of Jesus, the Christ.
Who lived and loved on earth and who always worked in harmony with your will, even unto death.
Around this hearth we look to the East*
Rise with the morning sun upon our souls and enliven our work and prayer as we join Paul and Amber in marriage.
Amen
(*At the Easter Vigil of the Christian Church fire is used as a symbol of Christ and the rising sun his resurrection)

Confession
Today Paul and Amber 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 Paul and Amber and their communities, excited hopes for them, a desire to let go, to enjoy and celebrate. It’s going to be a great breakfast!
Or perhaps feelings that are more difficult. 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.
Paul and Amber wish today to celebrate not only their commitment to each other but also to their community, as they put their pasts aside to start a new life together they ask for the grace of their community to also put past issues and hurts behind them.
Whatever we feel, whatever the state of relationships, let us bring together with Amber and Paul the good and the bad; our hopes, as well as our fears for their future. As we come together, let us bring to this circle our honest selves and journeys. For the circle is created, redeemed and sustained by God who journeys, who forgives and who celebrates with us.
The Vocation (Call) of Marriage:
Reading:
Genesis 2:20b – 25: Robyn Samson

Creation stories are sacred because they preserve for a culture that which is essential to their understanding of what it means to be human.
The story we have heard read speaks of a man Adam which comes from the Hebrew “Adamah” for earth. Adam is created from the earth like the other creatures. Unlike the other Hebrew creation story where man and woman are created together and God looks and says it is good, this Adam or “earth creature” among other earth creatures is described as incomplete and alone and it is described as not good!
And so we see God go back to work and it says he works very hard. This time not working from the earth, from which the other animals but from Adam. At the end of the process the “earth creature” is greatly relieved. “Finally, flesh of my flesh.”
Those who would see the creation of woman as secondary fail to see that far from a subordinate helper, woman is created as the climax of creation, the essential partner who completes an incomplete humanity.
Interestingly at this first wedding it’s not the woman who changes her name. Adams name is changed from adam “of the earth” to of the woman, from ish to ishshah. No longer of the earth but of each other.
It reminds us of our need for the other, for difference, for inter-connection.
For this reason they are made one flesh, leaving behind all other structures of human power be they family, tribe loyalty and identity.
Amber and Paul have chosen this story as it calls for a valuing of the other as oneself, and to mutuality at the deepest level. The story ends by saying they were naked and they felt no shame. It is an image of the connection they seek emotionally, physically and spiritually.
And so marriage is a gift of God, our creator. It declares that love is the ultimate force that drives the universe.
As Gods calls to marriage, so God draws differing gifts and hopes into a unity of love and service.
Through marriage a new household is formed, where children may be born and grow in secure and loving care.
Marriage should therefore not be entered lightly or selfishly, but responsibly and joyfully, with mutual respect and the promise to be faithful.
It should be honoured by all.
Declaration of Call:
Paul and Amber:
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
Marcus: Then receive the blessing of God which falls like dew from heaven upon this place, eucalyptus and Water, Peace and Life, entwined. Amen
(Sprinkle with eucalyptus leaves dipped in water)
Immediate Family (they stand)
Parents you have raised Paul and Amber out of the vocation of your own relationships
Siblings you have been raised 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.
Marcus: Then receive the blessing of God which falls like dew from heaven upon this place, eucalyptus and Water, Peace and Life, entwined. Amen
(Sprinkle with eucalyptus leaves dipped in water)
Symbol: The Mixing of the Coals
The incense in the thuribles on our altar entered our ceremony at the head of each family procession as a symbol of the families and their life. As a further part of the family blessing Miko and Stephen will take the coals and place them in the hearth to recognise the joining of the families in the marriage of Amber and Paul.

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.
Marcus: Then receive the blessing of God which falls like dew from heaven upon this place, eucalyptus Lavender and Water, Peace and Life, entwined. Amen
(Sprinkle with eucalyptus leaves dipped in water)
1 Corinthians 13 – Remix
Written and performed by Cameron M. Semmens

That which is often confused with lust is patient.
That which is the defining essence of God is kind.
That sentiment which most pop songs aspire to capture does not envy.
That which is more influential than power and prestige does not boast.
That which has motivated some of the greatest actions in human history
is not proud.
That which makes hard men write poetry and soft women watch rugby
does not behave rudely.
That which is often reduced to the salutation at the end of a letter is not selfish.
That which is used to rhyme with ‘dove’ in bad greeting card poems
is not easily angered.
That which is also a four letter word thinks no evil.
That which transcends the law does not rejoice in wrongdoings.
That which sees the best in people always defends.
That which inspires humans to give without thought of receiving always trusts.
That which prompts a man and a woman to commit their whole lives together
always expects the best.
That which binds a mother to a child; a people to a land; a God to a universe
always perseveres.
That which also means ‘no score’ in tennis is greater than faith.
That which can survive the cut and thrust of being unrequited
is greater than hope.
That which can be easily spelt out but NOT SO EASILY DEFINED
goes on… goes on… goes on… forever.
The Covenanting:

Exchange of Vows:
Paul, Will you cause Amber pain?
I May
Is that you intent?
No
Amber, Will you cause Paul pain?
I may
Is that you intent?
No
*To Both*
Will you share each other’s pain and seek to ease it?
We will
Amber, Will you share Paul’s laughter?
Yes
Paul, Will you share Amber‘s laughter?
Yes
*To Both*
Will both of you look for the brightness in life and the positive in each other?
We will
Amber, Will you burden Paul?
I may
Is that you intent?
No
Paul, Will you burden Amber?
I may
Is that your intent?
No
*To Both*
Will you share the burdens of each so that your spirits may grow in this union?
We will
Amber, will you share Paul’s dreams?
Yes
Paul, will you share Amber’s dreams?
Yes
*To Both*
Will you dream together to create new realities and hopes?
We will
Paul:
Amber, today I am committing myself to being your husband and the challenge of our partnership. I commit to making choices despite myself, by following the example of Jesus, and putting the needs of you, my other, before my own
Sharing every part of myself with you like I do with no other.
You, me, and the Spirit of Christ, this is my new centre by which my world is measured.
Until death reunites us with the one from whom love comes.
Amber:
Paul, today I am committing myself to being your wife and the challenge of our partnership. I commit to making choices despite myself, by following the example of Jesus, and putting the needs of you, my other, before my own
Sharing every part of myself with you like I do with no other.
You, me, and the Spirit of Christ, this is my new centre by which my world is measured.
Until death reunites us with the one from whom love comes.

Symbol: Greishog Ritual
Grieshog is an ancient Celtic ritual for keeping the embers of a fire alive through the night. It is the process of burying hot coals in ashes or under a layer of peat in order to preserve the fire for the cold morning to come. It is a holy process – the preservation of purpose, of warmth and light in darkness. At marriage the coals from a family hearth are often transferred to that of the new couple. And so Paul and Amber will use incense to tend the coals that each family has brought to the altar. From the coals of the families a new hearth and household is created. Paul and Amber may your love create a warm centre of hospitality and grace for all.

The Giving of Rings:
Marcus: May we have the Rings
(Karen Borton walks down the center aisle and gives the rings to Marcus who holds them aloft.)
Forged in fire the ring is a never ending circle, a reminder of the never ending love of God, the eternal dance of Trinity, which encircles us all, creating and sustaining the circle of connection in which each of us stand.

Paul:
Amber I offer you this ring as a symbol of the commitment I have made to you today will you take this ring and join me as we continue our journeys together into the future?
Amber:
“I will take the Ring, though I do not know the way.”
(places the ring on Amber’s finger)
Amber:
Paul I offer you this ring as a symbol of the commitment I have made to you today will you take this ring and join me as we continue our journeys together into the future?
Paul:
“I will take the Ring, though I do not know the way.”
(places the ring on Paul’s finger)
Marcus/Elrond:
“This is the hour of the Shire-folk, when they arise from their quiet fields, to shake the towers and counsels of the Great. Who of all the Wise could have foreseen it?
(Given the stature of the bride and groom they endured many jokes about this being a Hobbit Wedding and having rejected many ideas including going barefoot and dressing me as Gandalf, decided to throw in the words of Frodo and Elrond’s response. As you can see below I put on my extra serious face to deliver it whilst Paul and Amber cack themselves!)

Blessing and Pronouncement of Marriage
Paul and Amber today in the presence of God and your community of family and friends you have sworn solemn vows, shared rings and tended the hearth of a new household. In the name of Almighty God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit I pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the groom.
Song: Irish Blessing
Chorus: May your life in this world be a happy one,
May your sun be warm and may your skies be blue,
May each storm that comes your way, clear the air for a brighter day,
May the saints and the saviour watch over you.
Verse 1: As you spend your time with friends and family,
And you see the warmth and love they have for you,
When you see the wars and hate others radiate,
May the saints and the saviour watch over you.
Chorus
Verse 2: As you spend your time in this old world of ours,
As you see the beauty of the morning dew,
As you smell the summer flowers while you pass away the hours,
May the saints and the saviour watch over you.
Celtic Circle Blessing: Marcus Curnow
(Congregation form circle around the couple. All say “Circle them Lord”, various voices give the blessings.)
Marcus: Circle them Creator God
All: Circle them Lord
Glen and Mary: May the angels of Heaven protect you this day and circle you with the fragrance of peace.
Virginia: (to name something they wish to be kept without)
Marcus: Circle them Redeemer Christ
All: Circle them Lord
Peter and Joy: May Christ your Lord and loving friend protect you this day and circle you with affection and love.
Jeff: (to name something they wish to be kept within)
Marcus: Circle them Sustainer Spirit
All: Circle them Lord
Sammy and Dave: May the Spirit of Truth, who dwells in your heart, protect you this day and circle you, and fill your heart with joy.
All: A m e n
Housekeeping: Instructions of what to do next, Breakfast, Second Breakfast and Elevenses preparations, family photos. The first meal from their marriage hearth is to be shared with us all.
Final Blessing:
Christ as a light illumine and guide us
Christ as a shield overshadow us
Christ under us, Christ over us,
Christ beside us, On our left and our right
This day be within and without us
Lowly and meek yet all-powerful
Be in the heart of each to whom we speak
In the mouth of each who speaks to us
This day be within and without us
Lowly and meek yet all-powerful
Christ as a light, Christ as a shield
Christ beside us, on our left and our right
(St Patrick)
Ladies and Gentlemen I give you Paul and Amber
Recessional:
With the battery operated PA conking out halfway and with no way to play the CD of The Proclaimers “500 miles” Dave Waterworth the PA guy ingeniously coopted the band and spontaneously started singing off the CD cover whilst a slightly bewildered circle looked on.


Advertisements

One Reply to “Wedding: “Fire at Dawn” The Toms-Gaskill Wedding”

  1. Amber suggested that we look at your blog – it’s really terrific, Marcus, although we don’t know when you get the time to do it!
    Wonderful photos of the hobbit wedding of the year, and judging by their expressions, Amber and Paul DO know the way!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s