When a couple plans a wedding, they often assume the church and its clergy will be part of it. Not so when they separate or divorce.
Bishop Margot Kaessmann of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hanover in Germany would like to change that. She proposes a religious "separation ceremony" in which the couple would renounce their vows — in front of their children, if possible. "Marriage is a wonderful thing," she says, "but it's important that we can also tell God when we've failed."Miriam Campbell, ELCA associate director of Christian education, children and family ministries, likes the idea. "We can find our own reconciliation with God, but true resolution isn't found until we're embraced in the faith community," she says. "This is important not only for confession but for a version of absolution too."
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