Thank you for inquiring about having your wedding at First Congregational Church! It's a great blessing to be able to host weddings - both for church members, their families, and for non-members as well. The Christian tradition has always valued God's gifts of love and marriage.
Here at First Congregational Church we understand marriage to be…
…one man and one woman, for one lifetime (Matthew 19:4-6).
…ordained and blessed by God as an important institution (Genesis 2:21-25).
…a life-long binding covenant before God and society (Malachi 2:14).
…a legal covenant initiated by a wedding ceremony that varies by generation and culture with regard to service form and type of music.
…the only proper place for sexual intimacy (Hebrews 13:4).
…and a reflection of the relationship between Jesus and His Church (Ephesians 5:21-33).
We believe that in marriage many principles of the Kingdom of God are manifested. From the beginning, humanity was created male and female – in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-31) – which demonstrates the essence of marriage. The interdependence of healthy Christian community is clearly exemplified in loving one another (John 13:34), forgiving one another (Ephesians 4:32), confessing to one another (James 5:16), and submitting to one another (Ephesians 5:21). These principles find unique fulfillment in marriage. Marriage is God’s gift, a living image of the union between Christ and His Church.
We recognize an unprecedented need and responsibility to help couples begin, build, and sustain better marriages, and to restore those threatened by divorce. Today our nation is threatened by a high divorce rate, a rise in cohabitation, a rise in non-marital births, a decline in the marriage rate, and a diminishing interest in and readiness for marrying. The documented adverse impact of these trends on children, adults, and society is alarming.
We are also concerned that many times there is a lack of preparation for marriage, sometimes going alongside extensive preparations for weddings. We believe it is our responsibility to encourage couples to set aside time for marriage preparation instead of concentrating only on wedding plans. We acknowledge that a wedding is but a day; a marriage is for a lifetime.
With these things in mind, we have committed to the following principles….
We require couples who are preparing for marriage to work through a course of pre-marriage counseling with the Pastor, or other appropriate clergy or marriage counselors. Our goal is to help people understand what Christian marriage is all about. This counseling will cover the areas of financial management, communication, conflict resolution, children and parenting, the Christian doctrine of marriage, and relations with in-laws, family, and friends.
We strongly discourage the practice of cohabitation apart from marriage. Couples that live together without marrying are less likely to marry each other, and those that do tend to have higher separation and divorce rates. They also are more likely to have unhappier marriages, extramarital affairs, and a more shallow level of commitment and responsibility towards their partner. “Trial marriages” do not make for better marriages; they more commonly turn out as trial divorces.
Along these same lines, we also strongly discourage divorce. Divorce is always a sad thing, and it is often unnecessary. We strongly encourage those who are pursuing divorce or who are divorced, to make sure that all avenues of reconciliation are sincerely pursued. To that end, we have pastoral ministries available to area couples, with the intent of building stronger marriages, and bringing about reconciliation where it is possible.
And finally, we stand behind the dignity of the Christian wedding service. We recognize that there are other avenues for couples that want something different. Those desiring a church wedding should know that it is not intended to be a secular party, but a Christian worship service of celebration that honors God, being modeled on the marriage between Jesus Christ and His Church.
Some marriage requirements for all couples seeking to be married at First Congregational Church:
1. Both bride and groom need to be at least 20 years old by the wedding date.
2. At least three (3) months advance notice (before the wedding date) needs to be given to plan and prepare.
3. We require several sessions of pre-marriage counseling.
4. If either party has been divorced, the wedding date has to be at least one year after the finalization of the divorce.
5. Neither the bride nor groom nor anyone in the wedding party should show any signs of intoxication on the wedding day itself.
6. In general, if there's any kind of "scandal" involved, the wedding will not occur; Pastor Howard will not officiate a wedding that brings embarrassment to
the church, for any reason.
Refundable damage deposit (required) $100.00
Sanctuary Wedding (seats 288) $250.00
Chapel Wedding (seats 75) $125.00
Additional fees for musicians, sound tech, custodian and clergy also apply.
Refundable damage deposit (required) $100.00
Sanctuary Wedding (seats 288) $450.00
Chapel Wedding (seats 75) $325.00
Additional fees for musicians, sound tech, custodian, and clergy also apply.
For more information, please contact the church office at (620) 342-6854.