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Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Preparing for St Valentine's Day?

The Church of England is encouraging churches to consider celebrating marriage on St Valentine's Day (14 February) which this year falls on a Sunday. The co-incidence presents an opportunity to offer themed worship and foster connections made with those who have been married in church.

One suggestion is that churches offer a Valentine service with themed readings on Sunday 14th February, and the Archbishops’ Council’s Weddings Project has promoted the production of liturgical resources. These include a suggestion for a Special Service of Celebration for use with A Service of the Word, as well as thoughts on how the regular Sunday Worship might adopt a marriage/love theme. If you are interested, the liturgical resources are available here.

An aside: I am not a particularly romantic person so I take comfort that origin of the Church’s commemoration of St Valentine has nothing to do with lovers, but with martyrdom. There were several notable Christians called Valentine in the early Church, including one who was the bishop of Terni, a city near Rome, who was martyred in Rome in 273 (pictured above). I like to give this particular Valentine some prominence, as the present bishop of Terni, Vincenzo Paglia, St Valentine's successor, is a friend of mine. And yes, he is a very loving and beloved bishop!

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