As a church of Jesus Christ, we are responsible to God for our actions. We must maintain a clear conscience (I Timothy 1:19)
before God as well as the state of Pennsylvania in the matter of uniting a man and woman together in Holy Matrimony. Below
are the general marriage policies that we adhere to at St. John’s (Burry’s) Church, the basis of these can be found in Genesis 2:23-25
and 1 Corinthians 7.
The couple must be of legal age to marry in the state of Pennsylvania and must not be currently married to another spouse. We require at least two (2) months notice to officiate a wedding.
Couples who wish to marry at St. John’s (Burry’s) Church are required to attend at least four (4) counseling sessions with the officiating pastor.
If the wedding is to be officiated by a visiting pastor:
The visiting pastor must be approved and invited to perform the wedding by St. John’s (Burry’s) Church’s Senior Pastor.
The visiting pastor must be an evangelical Christian pastor, duly ordained by his denomination or church and eligible to perform weddings in the state of Pennsylvania.
The couples are required to attend at least one (1) counseling session with a pastor from St. John’s (Burry’s) Church.
We will not officiate the marriage of a Christian to a non-Christian as that is forbidden in scripture (2 Corinthians 6:14-15)
We will not officiate the marriage of divorced individuals unless the divorce was based on Biblical grounds and the party to be remarried is not the guilty party. Scripture offers two grounds upon which a divorce may be sanctioned:
Sexual Immorality or Adultery within the marriage relationship (Matthew 19:9)
The willful desertion of a believing spouse by a non-believing spouse (1 Corinthians 7:15)
Candidates for marriage should be:
Members in good standing at St. John’s (Burry’s) Church,
One a member of St. John’s (Burry’s) Church and the other a member of another Christian church,
At least one candidate having formerly been a member or related to a church member with the Pastor’s and Church Council Approval.
Or members in good standing of another Christian church with the Pastor’s and the Church Council’s approval.
Co-habitation prior to marriage is not God’s design for marriage. Thus those seeking to be married at St. John’s (Burry’s) Church will be asked to live apart for a season prior to the wedding.
Sexual intimacy is designed to be enjoyed within the marriage relationship alone; any form or sexual intimacy outside of that is sin. Thus all candidates for marriage will be expected to maintain their celibacy until the wedding is consummated on the wedding night. Couples so engaged will be expected to repent of their sin and live in celibacy from the point where this application made until the consummation on the wedding night. (1 Corinthians 5:9-12; 6:15-20; Hebrews 12:14-17).
Marriage is established by God to be between one man and one woman (Genesis 2:24; 1 Corinthians 7:2-5). No weddings outside of this design will be officiated by any minister of St. John’s (Burry’s) Church nor will they be permitted to take place within our church facility.
All weddings performed at St. John’s (Burry’s) Church will have one of our Wedding Coordinators present at both the wedding and rehearsal. If one of the pastors at St. John’s (Burry’s) Church is officiating the wedding, every effort will be made for the Wedding Coordinator to be present at the final planning meeting with the couple and pastor.
Communion is a Sacrament that God has given to the church and is entrusted to the church leadership for its purity and given to the church as a whole. Ordinarily, then, Communion will not be celebrated as part of a wedding ceremony.
No rice, birdseed, or any other hard object may be thrown at the bride and groom on church property, nor may any object that is prone to make a mess (confetti, streamers, etc…) be thrown. It is strongly encouraged that bubbles be used as an alternative to the traditional throwing of rice.
The church bells may be rung upon the pronouncement that the bride and groom are married; this should be coordinated through the Wedding Coordinator.
It is the responsibility of the bride and groom to obtain a wedding license and provide that to the officiating pastor on the night of the rehearsal. The officiating pastor will handle returning the appropriate portion to the court house after the wedding, maintain a copy for himself, and provide a copy for the church office to maintain on record.
If programs are to be used, it is the responsibility of the bride and groom to prepare and print them at their own expense.
Ordinarily, no weddings will be held on Sundays, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, Good Friday, the Saturday before Easter, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, or on days that conflict with other church activities.
The sanctuary can seat approximately 400 and the Fellowship Hall can host about 150.
All scheduling of wedding dates must be done through the Church Secretary/Office Manager. The secretary will confirm that the date is available and forward the requested date with the application to the President of Church Council for approval. No dates should be considered to be “in stone” until the Church Council gives their approval.
On the final page of this document is the formal application for a wedding at St. John’s (Burry’s) Church. Said application should be completely filled out and mailed, faxed, or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org to be forwarded to the Church Council for approval. No weddings will be performed or approved without the permission of the Senior Pastor and the Church Council.
As noted above, couples being married at St. John’s (Burry’s) Church are expected to attend at least four (4) counseling sessions with the officiating pastor. Counseling sessions should cover the nature of Christian Covenantal marriage, the establishment of a Christ-Centered home, Biblical models of marriages as well as teachings on marriage, and how conflict is to be worked through in a Christ-honoring way. Additional meetings will be scheduled as needed to work though and iron out specific details related to the service. If the officiating pastor is a guest, not affiliated with St. John’s (Burry’s) Church, one (1) additional premarital counseling session is required with a pastor from St. John’s (Burry’s) Church. This session will broadly cover the importance of a lifetime in covenantal Christian Marriage.
In the event that one or both parties getting married reside outside of the immediate area, it is possible to meet the counseling requirements through technological resources like Skype. It should always be considered preferable to meet face-to-face for matters like this, but it is recognized that sometimes in-person meetings are not readily possible and that technology is available that can circumvent such challenges.
Order of Service:
The order of service for the wedding should be agreed upon by the officiating pastor and the couple. Appended to this document is a general guide to the order of worship, but it should be noted that variations and personalizations are welcomed so long as those variations are reverent and Christ-honoring.
Many couples desire special music or non-traditional variations on the music played at their wedding. It is the policy of St. John’s (Burry’s) Church that all music be approved by the Pastor and Elders beforehand. If the music is a traditional wedding piece or a Christian piece, it will always be approved. If the music is from a secular source, but is to be played without vocals, then in most circumstances it will be approved. Normally secular music that includes secular vocals would not be considered acceptable for use in a worship service, but will be considered by the Pastor and Elders on a case by case basis. In any case, music should be presented to the Senior Pastor at St. John’s (Burry’s) Church as early as possible so that the approval process can be completed in ample time. If our church organ is to be played for the wedding, then our church organist must be hired to play for the wedding.
Decorations and Floral Arrangements:
Decorations are welcome and the pulpit and similar items that are located on the sanctuary stage can be moved into the church office if needed at the direction of the Wedding Coordinator. The Florist or decorator must consult with the Wedding Coordinator prior to the event. Please note that the church sanctuary is not air conditioned, so if flowers are being dropped off the day before during seasons of warm weather, they may need to be stored in the church office. Also, if flowers are being dropped off the day before in the wintertime, they should likewise be kept in the church office so they are not harmed by the cold at night.
Photographs and Videos are welcomed at St. John’s (Burry’s) Church, before, after, and during the wedding service. The only restriction is that photos taken during the service should be taken without the use of a flash. The Photographer and/or Videographer should plan on attending the rehearsal so that they can be oriented as to where they can be when shooting pictures.
St. John’s (Burry’s) Church does have a sound system and two (2) lapel microphones if desired. The officiating pastor will normally have a mic as will an assisting pastor if appropriate. Where only one mic is needed, the second mic may be worn by the groom if desired. If there are soloists performing at the wedding, they should plan to attend the rehearsal so that they can do a sound-check with the audio technician.
The sexton is responsible for having the Church Sanctuary and Fellowship Hall clean prior to the rehearsal and then doing a simple touching up of bathrooms and the above areas between the rehearsal and wedding and then again between the wedding and Sunday morning’s worship. The sexton is not responsible for cleaning up decorations from the wedding or rehearsal nor is the sexton responsible for taking down the risers and putting the furniture of the sanctuary back in its proper positions. It is the responsibility of the family to arrange for a group of people who are familiar with the church to remove decorations, take down risers, and to return the sanctuary into the condition in which it was found.
If desired, receptions may be held at St. John’s (Burry’s) Church. As with the wedding, this is subject to the approval of the Church Council. The following restrictions apply:
Users of the Fellowship Hall are expected to return it to the condition it was found in after the reception has completed.
No alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs are permitted on church grounds. No smoking is permitted on church grounds.
Only contemporary or traditional Christian music is to be played.
No open-floor dancing.
Users are responsible for hauling away their own garbage as our church dumpster will not be adequate to accommodate all of the wedding garbage along with the garbage generated in church weekly.
Users will be asked to confine their activities to approved areas.
Non-Members using the Fellowship Hall for a reception must have a church member sponsoring them and present at the event,
Caters should be approved by the Wedding Coordinator and are allowed to heat up food in the church kitchen, but not to prepare food.
Sanctuary Use:* no charge $350
Wedding Coordinator:* $125 $125
Sexton:* $125 $175
Sound Technician:* $ 75 $ 75
Video Technician: $ 75 $ 75
Organist/Pianist: $100 $100
Pastor: no charge not applicable
* Designates mandatory fees. Other fees are to be paid if said services are used. A single check for the total above should be made out to St. John’s (Burry’s) Church and presented no less than two weeks prior to the wedding. The church Bursar will disperse funds as appropriate. If you would like to make an additional gift to any of the above participants, said gift should be made directly to the individual.
(includes cover-letter, application, and sample order of service)