A Customary for Marriages
St. John’s Episcopal Church
This customary for Christian Marriage is a set of guidelines for couples desiring to be married at St. John’s Episcopal Church.
It explains the requirements of the Episcopal Church and of this parish regarding the marriage rite.
MARRIAGE IN THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH
The Episcopal Church holds that marriage is a bond and covenant establishes by God in creation. It signifies the mystery of the union between Christ and his Church. Thus marriage is a life-long union of husband and wife and an unconditional commitment of a man and a woman to one another. The Episcopal Church holds that the union of husband and wife…is intended by God for their mutual joy; for the help and comfort given one another in prosperity and adversity; and, when it is God’s will for the procreation of children and their nurture in the knowledge and love of the Lord (The Book of Common Prayer, pg. 423). Throughout our counseling and officiating, we encourage the couple to regard their marriage in the Church as an expression of their religious belief, a faith in Jesus Christ that will, throughout their lives, sustain the health and depth of their relationship and that of their family.
All marriages taking place in the Church must conform to the laws of the State of Kansas, the guidelines of the Bishop, and the Canons of the Episcopal Church. The canonical requirements are:
v At least one of the parties must be baptized and a member of St. John’s Episcopal Church, or family member of a member of St. John’s Episcopal Church.
v The current Rector/Vicar/Priest-in-Charge of St. John’s Episcopal Church will ascertain that both parties freely and knowingly consent to marriage.
v The current Rector/Vicar/Priest-in-Charge of St. John’s Episcopal Church will ascertain that both parties understand that the union is both physical and spiritual and is intended to be life-long.
v The current Rector/Vicar/Priest-in-Charge of St. John’s Episcopal Church will instruct both parties as to the nature, meaning and purpose of Holy Matrimony.
v A minimum of two witnesses must be present at the marriage.
v The current Rector/Vicar/Priest-in-Charge must receive permission of the Bishop of Kansas before solemnizing the marriage of a person who has had a previous marriage dissolved by a civil court and whose former spouse is still living. The wedding may not proceed unless the divorce decree has been in effect for a minimum of one year, and time enough for the Bishop to grant approval for the marriage to move forward. Copy of divorce decree must be provided to the Rector/Vicar/Priest-in-Charge.
v At his or her discretion, a priest may decide not to proceed with officiating at a wedding.
Marriage is a sacramental rite of the Church, and all aspects of the wedding should reflect its character as such. Weddings taking place at St. John’s Episcopal Church will use the form of the marriage rite found in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, along with variations and options it permits. The clergy member officiating at your service will discuss these options with you as you review The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage (pp. 423-432). Because a wedding is a worship service, attendance is open to the public. We recommend that family members, members of the wedding party, and other friends take part in the service by reading lessons, performing music, and distributing the chalice, if licensed to do so. Engaging family and friends in this service helps personalize it for you. St. John’s clergy encourage making the Holy Eucharist part of the celebration and blessing of your marriage.
All participants in your wedding should arrive at least 1 hour before the service begins, and should arrive promptly at the hour appointed for the rehearsal.
On the day of the wedding the church will be open at least two hours before the wedding begins.
In order to assure availability of the church and the clergy, all weddings should be scheduled with the parish at least 4-6 months in advance of the desired date. No weddings will take place during Lent, and weddings during Advent are discouraged. The church appreciates knowing of marriage plans even before announcing your engagement, and of course no announcements of the location or date of the wedding should be made without prior agreement of the parish clergy.
The current Rector/Vicar/Priest-in-Charge will officiate at all weddings associated with St. John’s Episcopal Church. If an Episcopal Priest, or any other clergy, other than the current Rector/Vicar/Priest-in-Charge is desired to assist or officiate, the permission and the invitation of the current Rector/Vicar/priest-in-charge of St. John’s Episcopal Church is required according to The Canons of the Episcopal Church (Title III, Canon 9, Section 5a). The location of the wedding other than in the parish church changes nothing; other priests may only function with the permission and invitation, prior to conducting the service, of the current Rector/Vicar/Priest-in-Charge of the parish within the jurisdiction of St. John’s Episcopal Church (LabetteCounty). Although such permission normally is gladly given when requested, this is a matter that can neither be assumed or bypassed.
The current Rector/Vicar/Priest-in-Charge will determine what role the guest clergy is to have in the service. The current Rector/Vicar/Priest-in-Charge will also conduct the rehearsal, which is usually scheduled on the day prior to the wedding, at a time that is convenient for all parties involved in the service to be present.
The canons of the Episcopal Church require pre-marital counseling of all couples seeking to have their marriage blessed by the Church. The counseling will be done by the current Rector/Vicar/Priest-in-Charge if the couple are currently living in the Parsons area. If they are living out of town, the current Rector/Vicar/Priest-in-Charge will arrange, with another Episcopal Priest, to provide the counseling and request a written report at the end of the sessions, to St. John’s Episcopal Church.
In order to plan music for your wedding, you will need to discuss with the current Rector/Vicar/Priest-in-Charge, if you would like the parish organist to play for your wedding or if you prefer another organist. The current Rector/Vicar/Priest-in-Charge can assist you with appropriate musical selections using criteria similar to those applied to other worship services of the church including the singing of congregational hymns. Some music, such as secular songs and love ballads, will need approval by the current Rector/Vicar/Priest-in-Charge.
If you plan on having a soloist and/or other instruments at your wedding, you will need to discuss with the Rector/Vicar/Priest-in-Charge and organist when these will occur during the service and a time for them all to practice together. It is recommended that all musicians be at the rehearsal, if at all possible, to help with timing of the hymn selections.
DECORATIONS AND FLOWERS
The current Rector/Vicar/Priest-in-Charge will advise you on other decorations for the ceremony that are acceptable. We request that birdseed be thrown at the new bride and groom rather than rice or confetti so that the birds may enjoy the wedding also.
Altar flowers are recommended and must conform with the use of the various flower vases available by St. John’s Episcopal Church. It is also recommended the altar flowers remain and be used as a celebration of your marriage during the following Sunday service. The cost of all decorations and flowers are the responsibility of the bridal couple.
PHOTOGRAPHY AND VIDEOTAPING
During the wedding service, no flash photography is permitted in the church. Wedding guests should observe this policy as well as professional photographers. It is recommended that your professional photographer contact the current Rector/Vicar/Priest-in-Charge as to the policy of taking pictures at the beginning or during the service and where these can be taken from.
As many pictures as possible should be taken prior to and after the service.
Videotaping of the wedding service is permitted, but the person making the recording and the recording equipment will be located in a place selected by the current Rector/Vicar/Priest-in-Charge. Once the equipment is in place, it should remain stationary.
St. John’s Episcopal Church does not provide ushers for weddings. The couple will need to select at least two ushers and they should be at the rehearsal so it can be determined who will be responsible for seating specific family members in special places.
A service booklet containing the entire wedding service is available by St. John’s Episcopal Church. Various selections of the cover sheet will be made available to the couple by the church for their selection.
RECEPTION &/OR REHEARSAL DINNER
The parish hall and kitchen can be rented for a reception or rehearsal dinner at a fee of $25.00-$100.00 for up to 100 attendees.
Each wedding party is responsible for securing its own caterer and for whatever decorations are used at the reception. A custodial deposit of $125.00 is required and will be returned when the parish hall and kitchen have been inspected.
If you are planning on serving alcoholic beverages, this must be pre-approved by the Vestry at least two months prior to the wedding service.
v Pre-marital counseling meetings with the clergy-no charge for members; $125.00 for non-members.
v A monetary donation is recommended for the officiating Priest.
v St. John’sChurch Organist-$100.00
v Acolytes &/or Chalice Bearers, if Holy Communion is included with the service; no charge.
v Service Booklet; no charge.
v Custodial fees for the church-$50.00
v Parish Hall & Kitchen fees and custodial deposit are listed on page six.
The clergy of St. John’s Episcopal Church look forward to working closely with you so that the sacrament of Holy Matrimony will be a beautiful and memorable experience.
INFORMATION & PLANNING SHEET
Full Name_______________________ ________________________
Married Previously Yes No Yes No
Birthdate _________________ __________________
Address _________________ __________________
Home ______________________ __________________
Cell ______________________ __________________
Work ______________________ __________________
Father _______________________ ________________________
Date _______________Time ______________Nuptial Eucharist Yes No
Lector(s)____________________ Reading(s) __________________
Chalice Bearer(s) ____________________________________________
Number of Ushers_____________________________________________
Number of Attendants__________________________________________
Ring Bearer Yes No Flower Girl Yes No
Reception in the Parish House Yes No