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Marriage

Approved at Congregational Annual Meeting, February, 2005
As amended, approved by Official Board, February, 2008

Theological Preamble
WeddingThe mission of St. James United Church, as reflected in the faith statement of 1989, is to live as disciples of Christ, in fellowship for the up building of the body of Christ. St. James has stated its willingness to take risks to enable growth. In the faith statement of 2008, we reaffirmed that we celebrate the presence of God in worship, music, children, prayer, inclusiveness, nurture,hospitality and social action.

The United Church of Canada has stated that marriage is a gift of God through which followers of Christ make a covenant with one another and with God (1984), that all human beings are persons made in the image of God regardless of their sexual orientation, (1984), and that all “life long” relationships need to be faithful, responsible, just, loving, health giving, and healing and sustaining of community and self (1988). The 37th General Council in 2000 overturned the policy that homosexuality is a sin, and affirmed that sexual orientation is a gift from God, “part of the marvellous diversity of creation,” and supported the idea of equal marriage.

God calls human beings into relationship, and even came as a human, Jesus Christ, to share our joy and suffering. We recognize in our own lives that God brings people together to form new families, and we celebrate this. So we wish to make sacred these special bonds and nurture and support the creation of new families within a community of faith which seeks justice and resists evil. Marriage in the United Church of Canada is a rite not a sacrament, and is an act which makes real God’s partnership in the significant moments of our lives. In life, in death, God is with us.

Purpose of this document
In 1977, at the 27th General Council, the UnitedChurch declared that all matters related to the conduct of weddings rests with the minister and local church. The following document states the policy of St. James United Church, and must be read and understood by those seeking to be married in St. James United Church.

The Role of the Staff Team (Minister, Organist, Office Administrator, Custodial Staff)
St. James is a thriving faith community, balancing the needs of many ministries on behalf of the people of God in this place. The staff depends on this congregation for their livelihood, and serve the needs of the congregation all year long. Therefore, all marriages performed by St. James United Church are seen to be a service of the entire staff team. Requests for marriage services through St. James United Church must fit in with this employment covenant.

It is the responsibility of those seeking marriage in St. James United Church to notify the office administrator regarding the intended date and time of the wedding and rehearsal, and to pay the necessary deposit. The office administrator will alert the custodial staff regarding the use of the church.

It is the responsibility of those seeking marriage in St. James United Church to contact the minister to confirm the date and time of the wedding, of the rehearsal and of a mutually acceptable schedule of preparatory meetings with the minister. These meetings should conform to the minister’s schedule, as preparing persons for marriage is only one of the many tasks of the minister in a pastoral charge. Those seeking to be married must make such adjustments as necessary to make themselves available for these meetings. The meetings are held to determine with the couple whether this is truly the place for the solemnization of the marriage, to do such education and preparation as is deemed necessary by the minister. If the minister is not satisfied that a couple has not taken due deliberation in this matter, the marriage will be unbooked, and money can only be refunded at the discretion of the Official Board of St. James United Church.

If leadership is requested from outside the community of St. James United Church, in particular outside the staff team of SJUC, such request shall be made in writing to the Official Board of SJUC, through its executive, and such requests shall be granted at the discretion of SJUC, through its Official Board. Approval or rejection is the exclusive right of SJUC. All special requests regarding use of leaders other than those employed by SJUC shall be made in writing at least four months before the wedding is to take place.

The choice of music is to be made in consultation with the church organist. All service music must be reviewed with the organist, including soloists, instrumentalists, etc. All musicians must be remunerated according to industry standards.

The decoration of the church is the responsibility of those coming to be married at SJUC. The couple is required to make all necessary arrangements through the custodial staff. The choice of decorations must be appropriate for a service of Christian worship. In the case where decorations are of a questionable nature, SJUC reserves the right to require changes. If the policies of SJUC are not adhered to, the wedding can be cancelled by SJUC and money can only be refunded at the discretion of the Official Board of SJUC.

The behaviour of the couple and of their guests is the responsibility of those seeking to be married at SJUC. Rude or boisterous behaviour, drunkenness, and property destruction will be grounds to cancel the wedding. No deposits or honoraria will be refunded if the wedding is cancelled for these reasons. No marriage can be solemnized if either party to the marriage is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This is the law.

Custodial staff will direct those seeking marriage to the appropriate use of the building and its fixtures and furniture. No one will remove the font, pulpit or altar-table, nor will they remove the other liturgical of the sanctuary.

The use of confetti or rice is prohibited. Failure to comply will result in an additional levy to cover the cost of professional cleaning.

Pictures may be taken during the processional, the signing of the register and the recession. Videotaping is acceptable from a stationary, unobtrusive location. It is essential that the sanctity of worship be preserved, and we invite all who witness to your marriage to worship God with reverence and joy.

Fees and Payment
The fees are reviewed and set by the Official Board. They are therefore subject to change without notice. The cost of a wedding at SJUC is $600. The fee for building use/sanctuary of $150 must be paid to the office administrator in order to confirm your use of the building, so should be done as soon as possible. The remaining fees must be paid no later than the rehearsal. Place each payment in a separate envelope, marked for distribution.

The fee schedule, besides the building use fee, is as follows:

Minister $250, Organist $100, Custodial Staff $100 Exceptions to this fee schedule can be made for pastoral reasons. Unless exceptions are made, these fees are payable whether the services are used or not.