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INTRODUCTION TO THE VOWS

REV. LESLIE: But, despite the beauty of catherine's submission, and strength of Stephen's Dominance they came to believe that there was a still greater depth to be explored by them. There grew between them a desire to form a bond that would express the unique form of their loving relationship in a sanctified union that would speak to all the world…D/s or not…they desired to be married. Marriage means many things…different things in different times and different cultures…but one thing is always true…it always means that two individuals wish to proclaim to their community that they desire to have their relationship acknowledged and accepted as having attained the highest level of commitment possible. They join together, in the sight of the community which supports them, and become something greater…something more powerful…more potent, than they could ever hope to become on their own. Marriage has meant…more often than not…the giving of the wife to the Husband…and has carried the expectation with it that the Husband would lead while the wife would follow. This is perhaps no longer politically correct in the 21st century USA…but a time honored tradition none the less…and still widely held be true in many lands. Stephen and catherine believe that this is the tradition that will bring them the most joy…and this is the union into which they intend to enter. St. Peter, in his First Letter writes of marriage…the duties of the wife to her husband, the husband to his wife…and the responsibilities of both to their community: "You married women, be submissive to your husbands, so that even if any do not obey the Word of God the may be won over by the godly lives of their wives. When they observe the pure and modest way in which you conduct yourselves together with your reverence for your husband; you are to feel for him all that reverence includes: respect, deference, honor, esteem, appreciation, prizing him, and in the human sense, adore him. That is, to admire, praise, be devoted to, and enjoy your husband. In the same way you married men should live considerately with your wives, with an intelligent recognition of the marriage relation, honoring the woman as the weaker, but realizing that you are joint heirs to the grace of God. Finally, all of you should be of one and the same mind…united in spirit…sympathizing with one another…loving each other as brethren…compassionate and courteous. It is with this understanding of the duties and responsibilities that each of them wish to undertake for the sake of the other that Stephen and catherine stand here before you today.

THE WEDDING VOWS:

REV. LESLIE: Now, standing here in the presence of the Almighty and in the presence of this assembly, repeat these words after me with all the love that fills your hearts: Yes, I Stephen,…choose you, catherine, to be my wife…my friend, my love…I will be yours in plenty and in want…in sickness and in health…in failure and in triumph…I will cherish you and respect you…comfort you and encourage you…and together we shall live…finding our greatest freedom in the bonds of our love. Yes, I catherine,…choose you, Stephen, to be my Husband…my friend, my love…I will be yours in plenty and in want…in sickness and in health…in failure and in triumph…I will cherish you, respect you and obey you…comfort you and encourage you…and together we shall live…finding our greatest freedom in the bonds of our love. And, so it is.

SERMON FROM
I CORINTHIANS 13:7,13

REV. LESLIE: Love bears all, Believes all, And endures all. Love never fails, And though there are many different kinds of love, the greatest of all is unconditional love. What the sages are telling us here is to love one another without reservation or prerequisite… to be understanding of each others' faults and to rise above the particular situation to exercise your option to put aside the minor annoyances of the day and focus instead on your deep and abiding love for one another. Through your many years together, whenever you become angry or frustrated, I hope that you will remember these words: "The greatest of all is unconditional love." AMEN

RING CEREMONY

kitten brings to rings to Rev. Leslie.

REV. LESLIE: Stephen, take this ring as a token of your love for catherine. Place it on your bride's finger and repeat after me:

With this ring…I give you my promise….that from this day forward…you shall never walk alone… My heart will be your shelter…my arms will be your home…we will walk together through life…as lovers and as friends… I promise that I shall always do my best…to love and guide you. With this ring…I give you your freedom…and my trust in you. I give you my heart until the end of time…I have no greater gift to give… Do you so promise?

STEPHEN: "I do."

REV. LESLIE: catherine, take this ring as a token of your love for Stephen. Place it on his finger and repeat after me: With this ring…I give you my promise…that from this day forward…you shall never walk alone… My heart will be your shelter…my arms will be your home…we will walk together through life…as lovers and as friends… I promise that I shall always do my best…to love and obey you. With this ring…I give you dominion over me…and my trust in you. I give you my heart until the end of time…I have no greater gift to give… Do you so promise?

CATHERINE: "I do."

REV. LESLIE: Please hold hands. For Stephen and catherine the ring ceremony is of special importance. The rings, like the collar, are symbols…but doubly potent…for while the rings are smaller than the collar they encompass a wider and deeper meaning…one that subsumes the collar and all that it signifies within it. For this reason their rings are emblazoned with circles of rope knotted together at the front…the symbols of bondage and their chosen lifestyle. But the knotted ropes also speak of the bonds of marriage they accept today before God and all assembled here.