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A Wedding Ceremony for Combined Families

Iowa Life section A Wedding Ceremony for Combined Families

Article Featured In: Register

When Bob and Janie Galloway of Newton married in late November, their two sons from previous marriages were a big part of the celebration.

Bob's 12-year-old son, Robert "Bo," was the best man. Janie's 10-year-old son, James gave her away.

Family MedallionAfter the couple exchanged rings and vows, their attention turned to the boys. Janie placed a ring on Bo's left middle finger and hugged him. Bob did the same for Janie's son. The boys beamed with gratitude.

"You could tell from the look on their faces," said the Rev. Jim Black of Foursquare Church in Newton, who performed the ceremony. "They were radiant."

The rings bear a medallion with three interlocking circles which represent family union just as a wedding band symbolizes conjugal love. Children can see, touch, and feel the meaning behind the gift.

"It's simple enough that they grasp it," said the Rev. Roger Coleman of Pilgrim Chapel in Kansas City, MO who developed the concept in 1987. "It's a constant reminder of their significance."

A Wedding Ceremony for Combined Families

The 5-minute ceremony known as the Family Medallion® service can be incorporated into any religious or civil wedding that involves children. It's gaining momentum as the number of stepfamilies in the nation continues to increase.

"Our goal is to assist parents in developing a ceremony that supports their new family relationships, said Coleman. "We try to provide the materials they need to support family commitments."