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Some Churches Offering Divorce Ceremonies For Couples

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Marriage vows promise "till death do us part," but almost 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce. Now more and more couples are marking the end with a special ceremony.

The special ceremony is very different than the one that united Marietta and Jim Roby as a couple 17 years ago, now they are taking part in a different ceremony. They are replacing the words, "I do" with "I'm sorry."

Rev. Joan Gattuso of the Non-Denominational Unity Church in Cleveland says it is important that each person take responsibility for their breakup and the church can help in that process.

"If it's going to end in divorce, isn't it far better that it ends in a consciousness of love, forgiveness and peace, rather than anguish, anger and hatred," she said.

At least two denominations, the United Methodist Church and the United Church of Christ, offer prayers for clergy to use for the end of a marriage, but most religious leaders will not support a divorce. Instead, they are offering to help couples find a way back to each other.

The divorce ceremony was created by a couple who divorced after 25 years of marriage. They wrote a book about their experience called "A Healing Divorce," a kind of how-to guide on divorcing your spouse emotionally and spiritually.


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