There are some special CofE resources for Valentines Day, which happens to fall on a Sunday this year (that was careless, I hope Sunday is ok*). Some of the ideas for marking this sound quite fun, but something is niggling me. Looking around the families at our church, there's probably a minority headed up by married couples who are both church members. Some are families where only one parent is a Christian, other are single parent families, some are couples with children who aren't married. So if we did anything Valentiney in a main service, it would be deeply uncomfortable for a large section of the church, so much so that they might even stay away.
We'll be picking up on a theme of love and relationships in our cafe service this Sunday, but trying to approach it from an angle that everyone can engage* with. Can a church (or any community) with a mixed economy of family structure celebrate marriage without that being uncomfortable for some? We provide overt support for marriage through things like our marriage preparation course (which seems to be accumulating 2 new couples a week at the moment), does overt support for single parents just come across as patronising, or are their places where this works well?
Of course we could make it really uncomfortable, and re-enact the life of St. Valentine himself. The legend has it that he was a priest imprisoned under Roman emperor Claudius for secretly marrying Christian couples. According to Wikipedia "this priest was condemned to death. He was beaten with clubs and stoned; when that didn't finish him, he was beheaded outside the Flaminian Gate." That could make for an interesting act of worship....