"For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh."-Genesis 2:24
Christian Marriage and Weddings
A wedding is a service of worship in the context of which two persons enter into the covenant of marriage. The Christian marriage ceremony is a service of worship before God, normally conducted within the house of God. Though we trust that God is present everywhere, a religious wedding is one at which the Divine Presence is recognized and turned to for guidance and strength.
The Christian Wedding
Marriage in the Christian tradition is a life-long covenant made in the presence of God and into which God is invited. Praise is offered to God for the gifts of life and love, and God is asked to strengthen and bless the marriage being celebrated. The teachings of Jesus about marriage are recalled as part of the service. One or more passages of Holy Scripture are read. Prayer is always offered. At Bethel United Church of Christ, all weddings are Christian in their theological orientation, implying that at least one member of the couple be a confessing Christian.
The minister of Bethel Church normally presides at all weddings held at Bethel Church. In consultation with the minister, non-Bethel Church ministers from the UCC or other Protestant traditions may be invited to preside. Assuming that the wedding will include organ music, the Bethel Church organist or her designee will normally play for the service.
Who May Be Wed at Bethel Church?
In order to be married at Bethel Church, either the bride or the groom must be a member of Bethel Church.
Time and Place of Weddings
Weddings are normally held in the sanctuary which seats approximately 250 people. Weddings, though usually scheduled for Fridays or Saturdays, may be held on any day except Sunday and major Christian or civil holidays. It is recommended that weddings be scheduled well in advance of the date of the service.
Wedding Planning and Counseling
Couples interested in having their wedding at Bethel United Church of Christ should contact the office. All couples are required to meet with the minister who will officiate at their wedding several times in preparation for the wedding. These meetings will include making specific plans for the wedding ceremony and conversation about marriage. In addition, couples should schedule a meeting with Bethel’s organist to plan for music. Couples should obtain a marriage license and bring it with them to the rehearsal.
A wedding rehearsal is normally scheduled for the afternoon or evening prior to the wedding. All members of the wedding party, plus readers or other special participants, if any, should attend. All must arrive promptly, as it is difficult to conduct the rehearsal if all are not present.
Fees and Honoraria
There is no fee for the use of the sanctuary for weddings. Honoraria are traditionally made in suggested amounts to:
- The Bethel Church Wedding Coordinator
- The Sexton (custodian on duty)
- The Organist and any other musicians
- The presiding minister
The amounts of any fees and the suggested honoraria may be obtained by contacting the office.