Here’s Gary Turner’s description of his divorce worship service.
I recently created and performed this service with the assistance of several friends. It grew from my need for concrete spiritual closure for my marriage.
As I realized that I was going to be divorced, I discovered many questions that the established legal, intellectual, and emotional institutions did not address. And like many people I buried myself in books looking for answers.
Several friends (themselves divorced or working with divorce recovery ministry) and I began the process of writing a service to that would fill in some of the gaps. We worked within the guidelines of the United Methodist church with an ordained minister administering the sacrament.
Only after we began the process of writing a service ourselves did we discover the obscure reference from the 1976 Abington publication, “Ritual in a New Day – an Invitation”compiled by the section on worship by the Board of Discipleship and subcommittee on alternative rituals editorial committee, which I have attached. It explains much of the motivation, process, examples of services, and suggestions for other rituals. I found the references in the endnotes insightful.
I want to share this information so divorced Christians with similar needs will have a starting place to gain spiritual peace. Just as every person is unique, so is every marriage, and so is every divorce. I hope and expect that every person who finds this service will adapt the scripture, rituals, and prayers to their own situation.
A few basic thoughts to consider about this service.
- Do what you need to strengthen your relationship with God.
- Do customize this to fit your own needs.
- Do invite friends and family to participate.
- Do talk with your minister about what you want/need to do.
- Do add music if you want to.
- Do it when you are ready. This may be close to your legal divorce date or several years later.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help in putting this together.
- Don’t be surprised if some of your best friends don’t come or don’t want you to do it.
- Don’t get discouraged if people don’t understand what it is or why you are doing it. It is not for them as much as it is for you.
- Don’t invite your ex-spouse unless you are absolutely certain it will help you heal.
- Don’t forget to tell people how to dress. It’s a good chance the people you invite have never been to a service like this before and will want to be advised on what to wear.