Power of love

May 20, 2018

Episcopalian bishop, Michael Curry, gave the address at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

He began:

And now in the name of our loving, liberating and life-giving God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

From the Song of Solomon in the Bible: “Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is as strong as death, passion fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, a raging flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it out.”

The late Dr Martin Luther King once said, and I quote: “We must discover the power of love, the redemptive power of love. And when we discover that, we will be able to make of this old world a new world. For love, love is the only way.”

There’s power in love. Don’t underestimate it. Don’t even over-sentimentalize it. There’s power, power in love. . . 

He continued quoting the Bible, Martin Luther King and towards the end quoted French Jesuit Teilhard de Chardin:

. . . he said, as others have, that the discovery or invention or harnessing of fire was one of the great scientific and technological discoveries in all of human history. Fire to a great extent made human civilization possible. Fire made it possible to cook food and provide sanitary ways of eating which reduced the spread of disease in its time. Fire made it possible to heat, warm environments and thereby made human migration around the world a possibility, even into colder climates. Fire made it possible, there was no Bronze Age without fire, no Iron Age without fire, no Industrial Revolution without fire. The advances of science and technology are greatly dependent on the ability and capacity to take fire and use it for human good. . . 

And de Chardin said fire was one of the greatest discoveries in all of human history. And he then went on to say that if humanity ever harnesses the energy of fire again, if humanity ever captures the energy of love, it will be the second time in history that we have discovered fire.

Dr. King was right. “We must discover love the redemptive power of love. And when we do that, we will make of this old world a new world.” . . 

You can read about de Chardin here.

 

 

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Royal wedding

May 19, 2018

The order of service is here.

22:45: Meghan Markle is travelling in a Rolls Royce to St George’s Chapel.


On walking down the aisle

May 19, 2018

Who is going to walk Meghan Markle down the aisle?

Speculators have been speculating on this since she announced her father is unable to attend the wedding.

The speculation has gone from the traditional (if her father can’t be there another man might) through the less traditional but no longer unusual (her mother could escort her) to the trashy (I was listening to the radio yesterday and some of the suggestions are best not repeated).

A father escorting his daughter down the aisle and giving her away is the traditional start to a marriage service but there are plenty of alternatives.

As a marriage celebrant it is my role to create a service that suits the couple and meets the requirements of the Marriage Act.

I give the bride and groom several options and even though it’s the 21st century, many choose to stick with tradition.

If the bride’s father is dead or estranged some choose to come in with their mother, brother or grand parent.

I’d been away from home for several years before I married and wasn’t comfortable with the idea of being given away.

Instead I followed both my parents down the aisle with my best lady at my side and rather than the traditional giving away, the minister asked all our parents if they gave their blessing to our marriage.

A couple whose marriage service I officiated at last year were married on a beach. The groom arrived first with his mother, his father followed with the bride’s mother, the attendants came next and then the bride walked in with her father.

Alternatives include:

* The groom walking in with both parents and/or other family and/or friends and the bride walking in with her parents and/or other family and/or friends.

* The groom enters with his family and the bride with hers side by side (this needs a wide aisle so works best in a garden).

* The bride and groom enter together with or without parents/family.

Weddings can be much more informal than they used to be and sometimes the couple choose to mingle with guests as they arrive and then come forward together to start the service.

However they choose to start the service and whatever else they say and do during it, I remind the couples that what matters is that they are relaxed and happy and what matters more than the wedding is the marriage.

 

 

 

 

 


It’s another boy

April 24, 2018

The Duchess and Duke of Cambridge had a second son (yesterday NZ time, which was St George’s Day in England).

All babies should be wanted and loved as this one is and his arrival is worth celebrating for that.


Carpool Karaoke with Down Syndrome children

March 22, 2018

Fifty mothers and their children with Down Syndrome lip-sync in carpool karaoke:

 

You can read about it here.


365 days of gratitude

March 6, 2018

The bereaved parents’ club is one none of us choose to join.

Tonight five of the six of us at dinner were unwilling members.

The statistics for the survival of marriages for couples who’ve lost children are depressing but all five of us are still married.

There are many reasons that marriages of couples who have lost children fail. But one factor the five us whose marriages have survived have in common is that we haven’t lost the good things we have to bitterness over what we lost.

Fresh from the therapeutic benefit of sharing our experiences this evening I’m grateful for that.

 


Teenage fertility rate drops to lowest ever

February 23, 2018

New Zealand’s fertility rate has dropped well below replacement level:

In the December 2017 year:

  • 59,610 live births and 33,339 deaths were registered in New Zealand, resulting in a natural increase (live births minus deaths) of 26,268.
  • There were 180 more births and 2,160 more deaths compared with 2016.
  • The total fertility rate dropped to a low of 1.81 births per woman, compared with an annual average of about 2.01 from 1980–2017.
  • The infant mortality rate was 3.9 deaths per 1,000 live births.
  • All regions had more births than deaths.

If it wasn’t for a lower death rate and more immigration our population would be in decline.

The replacement rate for fertility is around 2.1% in the developed world. New Zealand has joined other OECD countries in falling below that.

Part of the reason for that is more couples are choosing to have no children or just one child.

Another reason is that more are leaving it too late and fertility drops for both men and women as they age.

The birth rate has dropped for all ages and among the statistics is one very positive one,  the teenage fertility rate has dropped to its lowest ever:

The teenage fertility rate has dropped to its lowest ever, with 15 live births per 1,000 women aged 15–19 in 2017 – just under half the 2008 rate of 33.

In 1962, when fertility rates were highest for women in their twenties, the teenage fertility rate was 54 births per 1,000 women aged 15–19. While rates dropped for women in their twenties throughout the 1960s and 1970s, the teenage rate increased to a peak of 69 births per 1,000 women in 1972. The teenage rate then decreased to 30 births per 1,000 women in 1984. 

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The media release doesn’t say how many of the teenage mothers are single but the drop in the number of teens giving birth is reflected in a drop in benefit numbers for teen parents.

In 2017, the median age (half are younger and half older than this age) of New Zealand women giving birth was 30 years.  It has remained at 30 years since 1999. In comparison, the median age of women giving birth in the 1970s was 25 years.

If, we want a return to replacement fertility rates or higher the aim should be to encourage more couples to have children sooner but not too soon – in their 20s rather than their 30s or teens.

 


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