New Prayerbook Provoking Anger TILL DIVORCE DO US PART; Analysis A THIRD of Couples Marrying Now Will Be Divorced within 15 Years. to Mark Marriage Week, Churchmen Have Come Up with a Prayer to Mark Break-Ups

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Byline: by Sasha Mansworth

COUNSELLING, a hefty divorce payout, or the welcoming arms of a new lover - the ways in which some people attempt to find solace following a break-up are numerous.

Now a book of prayers for divorcees and those shell-shocked by splits within the family has been published by churchmen.

It is meant to help people with broken hearts dispense with any bitterness and resentment felt towards their ex, look to the future and hopefully a new beginning.

Produced by the Methodist Church, the prayer book called Vows and Partings is meant to mark National Marriage Week.

It offers something for all sectors of society - including a prayer for "a parent whose son or daughter comes out as gay", single parents and victims of domestic violence.

But the Methodists point out that it's of use "at every stage of marriage and other relationships".

The book has provoked anger from other religious groups and the pro-marriage lobby as it contradicts with the traditional religious view that marriage should not end up being dissolved in the divorce courts.

As Colin Hart, of the Christian Institute, points out: "A church should be trying to keep couples together rather than encouraging them to divorce. These prayers seem to run entirely against Christian teaching."

Canon Robert Reardon, of the Catholic Church in Cardiff, says: "The Catholic Church believes in and seeks at all times to uphold the unity and indissolubility of marriage. However, we recognise the wounds and pain of divorce which affect many people, within and outside the Church. This is a pastoral need which must be addressed."

Vows and Partings, on the other hand, says: "It may be that one of the most important things churches can do is to recognise that relationships do sometimes come to an end and people move on."

It also recommends carrying out DIY divorce ceremonies which include the use of props such as books, candles, water, stones and family photos.

"To symbolise the ending of a relationship two individual candles could be lit from one larger one, then the larger one extinguished, " it says.

The book also gives family members tips on how to deal with a split in the ranks.

"Unmarked" but important anniversaries should be "shared".

These could be "the day she/he walked out on us, the last time we made love, the day the decree nisi was granted, or the day the divorce finally came through, " it says.

Religion aside, according to marriage guidance counsellors, praying could help divorced couples get through the process.

A spokesman for Relate in Cardiff says that praying could be a way to understand your own feelings and help take responsibility for your part in a failed relationship.

"If praying helps you to focus on yourself and look what you have done to help the relationship to fail, it may help you to rebuild your life, " says the spokesman. …