Welcome to the Wedding Ceremony for Joe Jobes and Dave Hingsburger
What follows is an annotated guide to the service. The bits written in italics explain why we chose what we chose and what we hoped to achieve.
Pre service music: Hikari Oe – Hikari is a Japanese composer with an intellectual disability. His music is proof that talent has no favourites and that someone who others might dismiss, actually has deep insight and understanding. We chose this music because we love it and because we wanted to share, through this music, our belief in the value and worth of all.
Flowers: for those of you interested in flowers, we attempted in our own little way to make a slightly short rainbow so use your imagination and you’ll see a floral rainbow, if you REALLY use your imagination you’ll see unicorns too … but if you do, it’s probably best not to drive after the ceremony.
Accessibility: In many wedding services people are asked to stand at various points in the ceremony. People in wheelchairs and children become lost in a sea of legs and cannot see what’s going on. For this service, we invite you to sit back and relax, you won’t be asked to stand at any point of the ceremony.
Clergy performing the service: The Reverend Doctor Brent Hawkes has known us for decades and we were fortunate to have him agree to perform the ceremony. Brent is one of the most recognized leaders of the LGBT community. His uncompromising vision and his strong voice has provided leadership on a myriad of topics. His leadership of the issue of same sex marriage was invaluable. In many ways, what is happening today, is as a result of Brent’s work.
Announcements: Rev. Dr. Brent Hawkes
PROCESSIONAL: Pride and Joy – Draw The Circle Wide – perhaps the finest hymn to inclusion ever written. We chose this hymn after hearing it sung in church a couple of weeks ago. Its simple melody is perfect accompaniment for words that express that we all, as a society, need to ‘draw the circle wide’ – wide enough to bring welcome to those who have lived without privilege and power.
WELCOME TO THE PEOPLE
Welcome! On behalf of Joe Jobes and Dave Hingsburger, we welcome you to this ceremony. We are here today to celebrate the love they share with each other. Let us rejoice in that love, for love is of God. By our presence here we accept responsibility for helping this couple and encouraging them in the new relationship into which they are about to enter. We are called to rejoice in their happiness, to help them when they are challenged and to remember them in our prayers.
PRAYER OF INVOCATION
O God, you are the creator of all things; you made us and you sustain us. We
depend on you. For the gift of life, we praise you. For being able to think about
its meaning and purpose we thank you. In a world without, and our lives within,
there is much that is confusing and contradictory. Many voices counsel us; many
forces pressure us; many things tempt us. We need your light to lead us, your
hand to hold us and your love to complete us. We ask for your blessing now on
this couple and on this ceremony in your many names. Amen
Rev. Dr. Hawkes: We will now have the 1st Reading.
Ruby and Sadie: From the children’s book ‘Four Feet Tall’ … this reading follows an incident wherein Peter’s dog was badly hurt when protecting someone from bullying and teasing:
Peter lay on his belly and began to talk. He talked to Eric about the winding trails behind the house. He talked about swimming at the creek. He reminded Eric about the day they met. Eric’s look gradually changed. It was as if Peter’s words were taming him all over again. The tone of Peter’s voice was weaving sounds and memories together and Eric listened intently falling slowly under their spell. Just as Peter was telling Eric about a special treat he would make for him, peanut butter on a chewy bone, Eric rose to a crouch and slowly crawled towards him.
There, underneath Peter’s mother’s desk, the two made peace with each other. Eric touched his nose to Peter’s nose and then lay down, noses still touching. Peter reached out and slowly stroked Eric’s ear touching the dog more gently than he had ever touched anything in his life.
For those few moments Peter understood how special love was between two very different animals. The bond was strong, but was never to be taken for granted. Eric’s love towards him was unconditional. He had always known that. But that day he learned that while Eric would always love him, his trust had to be earned every day.
SPECIAL MUSIC: Pride and Joy: Seasons of Love – This song from Rent speaks to how we live our days and what makes for a life. After living together for 24,177,600 minutes, which translates into 46 years, we realize that moments build into a lifetime and this song expresses that for us.
Rev. Dr. Hawkes: We will now have a 2nd reading.
Desmond Bailey Reading: A Reading from the Book of Dave Loves Joe: Verse 1 to the end.
Many of you here will know that Joe and I have long supported marriage rights for LGBTQA people, but had made the decision not to marry. We’d been together 36 years then and it felt a little late. We had wanted the support of church and family – then. We didn’t need it now. We felt that committing ourselves after 36 years was suggesting that our relationship before blessing was somehow less holy, less honourable, less worthy. We began our relationship in a time of hatred, and bias and bigotry. We began living together when our relationship was met with hostility and we lived in fear of lost jobs, lost friends, lost opportunities. We didn’t want that part of our journey dishonoured.
But, here we are today. Getting married. So what changed?
It’s because of a moment in Timothy’s coffee shop in the Manulife Centre. I had picked up my tea and turned my chair to face Joe. And I saw him. Really saw him. And there was not a word for him. And because there was no word, he, in time, will not exist in relationship to me. And I will not exist in relationship to him. This was wrong.
When I was a little boy, I realized I was gay at a very young age. I wonder if anyone can truly understand the sense of aloneness a child feels when they know, and know deeply, that they are different from their family, they are different from their friends, they are different from their teachers. And no matter how hard little eyes search, there is no relief from the sense of being utterly alone.
One of the first relationship words I learned was “husband.” I loved that word as a little boy but I knew my thoughts were dangerous. A ‘husband’ was a man who fell in love and got married to the person he loved. I knew that word did not belong in my hopes and wishes but it was never banished from my dreams. Other boys wanted to be firemen and police officers – me, I wanted to be less alone. I wanted a husband. I wanted a man who loved me. “Husband” - I would curl up inside the word, and I would feel safe there. “Husband” – I would wrap the word around me like a blanket and feel the warmth of hope.
But those were a little boy’s dreams.
And the world was very, very good at stamping out the dreams of lonely boys who wanted to find and love other lonely boys.
Even when Joe and I met and fell in love, in 1969, we were assaulted with words like ‘gear boxes,’ and ‘poofs’ and ‘queers’ the word ‘husband’ was shoved aside by hate filled words.
But in that moment in Timothy’s with a cup of tea in my hand, as I looked at Joe, I saw my husband.
It felt like that little boy woke up from a long nap to find he wasn’t alone.
HE WASN’T ALONE.
And he wants to claim the word.
He wants to shout the word back at all those who bullied him, battered him and called him names. “I am who I am, and I have a husband that loves me.”
Joe is part of my journey as I am part of his. He will be my husband and I will be his.
We will exist in language.
Today we will make the word real.
And because of that we will always exist in relationship to each other.
Special Music: Pride and Joy -Though I Speak – we chose this hymn because we both love the passage in the Bible that it is taken from. It is important to note that though gender is mentioned in the passage, it is never mentioned in relationship to the definition of love. This remarkable passage suggests that love is independent of gender, of status, of race, of level of ability, and therefore a completely inclusive emotion.
Rev. Dr. Hawkes: COMMENTS
LEGAL ADMONITION AND QUESTIONS
Joseph Victor Jobes and David James Hingsburger you have made it known that you want to be joined in marriage, and no one has shown any valid reason why you may not. If either of you know any lawful impediment why you should not be married you are now to declare it.
Joe, Do you take Dave to be your lawful wedded husband?
Answer: I do.
Dave, Do you take Joe to be your lawful wedded husband?
Answer: I do.
(Joe and I have opted not to exchange vows. Everything we wrote sounded as if it was for ‘show’ and we wanted no artifice in the ceremony. Notice we are both wearing clothes that we have worn every wonderfully ordinary day of our lives. This ceremony is preceded by the vow made by living and loving each other for 46 years. Really, is there a vow that covers the moment when you help your spouse, desperately sick with the flu, on to the toilet and as you give them a supportive hug, you feel vomit running down your back? That’s marriage stripped of pretty words.)
BLESSING AND EXCHANGE OF RINGS
Let us pray:
Loving God, we offer you these rings, these creations of metal, which we have taken from the earth. We ask that you will bless these rings, that they may signify the bond of love and unity that is expressed here today… AMEN
Dave, I give you this ring as a symbol of my promise to continue our life of love and care, honour and trust throughout the rest of our lives together.
Joe, I give you this ring as a symbol of my promise to continue our life of love and care, honour and trust throughout the rest of our lives together.
SIGNING OF THE DOCUMENTS – Pride and Joy – reprise: Draw the Circle Wide
For as much as Joe Jobes and Dave Hingsburger have made this solemn covenant of marriage before God and all of us here, by virtue of the power vested in me by the Ontario Marriage Act, I hereby declare them to be joined together as husbands, partners in life, in your many Names, Amen
PRAYER OF BLESSING/BENEDICTION
O God, Creator of us all, we thank you for the gift of life- and in life, for the gift of marriage. We praise you and thank you for all the joys that can come to us through marriage, and the blessings of home and family. Today we especially think of Dave and Joe as they begin their life together as husbands.
We thank you for the joy they find in each other. Give them strength to keep the vows they have made and cherish the love they share, that they may be faithful and devoted to each other. Help them to support each other with patience, understanding and honesty. Look with favour, God, on all our homes. Let your Spirit so direct all of us that we may each look to the good of others in word and deed, and grow in grace as we advance in years; in your many Names, AMEN.
God’s blessing will go before you and God will keep you. God’s face will shine upon you and be gracious unto you. God will grant you peace. In your going out and in your coming in, in your lying down and your rising up, in your labour and in your leisure, in your laughter and in your tears. Until that day when there is no dawning and no sunset, no death and no disease. Go now rejoicing that God loves you.
I now present to you Dave and Joe, partners in life; duly married in the eyes of God and in accordance with the laws of our Land.
RECESSIONAL – Pride and Joe – Celebration
Please feel free to join us in the social hall for cupcakes and tea and coffee. The reception has been catered by the members served by Vita Community Living Services. They take extreme pride in the work they do and that shows in the quality of their work. Enjoy!!