New Garden Meeting understands marriage to be a spiritually led union of two individuals founded in love and based on equality and trust. Individuals who enter into this union agree to nurture the light in each other while they continue to respect the personal journeys that each individual must follow. A marriage evolves through creativity and renewal in an ongoing process that constantly changes and grows.
The marriage ceremony is the public celebration and solemnization of the union of two people. It brings together family, friends and community to partake in the joy and love of the couple’s commitment to each other. In the traditional manner of Friends, the marriage ceremony comes after the couple, together with the Meeting, works through a careful process of clearness.
The ceremony takes place in a called Meeting for Worship where the couple stands in the presence of God and, without an intermediary, pledges their love and commitment to each other. Friends gathered at the Meeting for Worship affirm the union and offer to the couple their spiritual support.
While we clearly acknowledge the spiritual nature of marriage and the marriage ceremony, we also understand that truth is continually revealed, and for this reason, we feel a need to avoid rigid ideas about what specifically constitutes a marriage.
Instead of proposing absolutes, we place our trust in the clearness process and in the acts of spiritual discernment that take place through this process. The important task of the clearness committee is not to enforce the will of the Meeting, but to discover the will of God working through the couple.