What is a Wedding?
A church wedding is, first and foremost, a service of worship. The community gathers to join the couple in worshipping Christ and giving thanks for God’s blessings. The couple share their vows in this worship setting, and present their marriage as an offering to God. The church is a house of prayer, a sacred space. Having a church wedding only because it is a beautiful place and has a center aisle is not appropriate.
A church wedding is a congregational event. Church weddings grow out of a history of being a part of the life of a congregation. A wedding is most meaningful when the bride and/or groom have been involved in the life of the church and know the community. If you or your partner are not active members, the pastor will suggest that you take part in the worship life of the congregation so that you may be a part of the faith community.
What is the “Rite of Marriage”
The service is based on approved resources used in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Questions like “who gives this woman to this man?” and “do you promise to obey” are not used in ELCA marriage liturgies. The celebration of Holy Communion is offered if the couple wishes, with participation open to all who are gathered. In the case that friends or relatives are ministers, other clergy are welcomed to help in the service upon consent of the Pastor from Immanuel Lutheran Church.
All weddings conducted by a pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church are to be held in the Sanctuary of Immanuel Lutheran Church. In rare circumstances, a wedding may be held at another location.
Scheduling a wedding will guarantee a service on the church calendar for that date. The Pastor will then plan to meet with the couple for logistical and pre-marital consulting. Counseling is a way of addressing issues such as communication, conflict resolution, finances, religion, parenting, etc., which are a part of any relationship. Pre-marital counseling does not necessarily mean that your relationship is in trouble, but is a great way to strengthen your relationship.
The date of your wedding should be set well in advance. To schedule a wedding, fill out and turn in a “TO DO” REGISTRATION which is available in the church office. The church does not conduct weddings during Lent, Holy Week, Vacation Bible School or the second weekend of December through New Year’s Day.
Everyone taking part in the ceremony should be present at the rehearsal, including the organist. The rehearsal takes about one hour and should be scheduled between 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. on the evening prior to the wedding.
Contact the church office to arrange for an organist, who will meet with you to discuss music for the ceremony. Office staff may also provide contacts for special music, such as soloists, pianists, or the praise band. All other music arrangements should be approved by the pastor.
The Marriage License
State law requires that you have a marriage license. Your license may be obtained from the county where you are a resident. As a general rule of thumb, you can start the process of getting your license one month prior to your wedding date. Remember, there is a waiting period between the time you apply and the time you may pick up your license. Immanuel requires you to bring your license to the rehearsal. You will receive two copies of the signed license immediately after the wedding service. The church will mail the license in for you.
Smoking is not allowed in the building.
Alcoholic beverages are not allowed in the building or on the premises. Consumption of alcohol prior to the wedding will automatically exclude that person from the service.
The throwing of rice, bird seed, etc. is prohibited on premises, but bubbles may be used outside.
General Wedding Fees
Please make out separate checks to each individual (see below), with fees due at the time of rehearsal.
(*To be considered a member, you or your parents must be members of Immanuel as set in our Constitution.)
There is no set fee for the Pastor, however, it is customary to give an honorarium in appreciation of the time the Pastor devotes to meeting with the couple.
Organist fees vary by individual.
There is no set fee for the Custodian, however, it is customary to give an honorarium for the extra time spent in church as needed.
Non-Member Fees: $500.00
$200 honorarium to the Pastor.
Organist fees vary by individual.
$100 honorarium to the Custodian.
The death of a loved one is a difficult time for
family members. The Pastor and staff of Immanuel will help
you make plans for the final farewell of your loved one.
Please call the Pastor as soon as possible to plan the
service. If you have Bible verses which were meaningful to
your loved one or to your family and hymns that you love,
please remember those and bring them along to the meeting
with the Pastor.
At this time of grief at the loss of a loved one and our joy in the resurrection, we at Immanuel seek to provide a caring community in which to celebrate a life now with God and to share memories.
A Service of Worship
The Christian funeral is a service of worship and should involve all those present. Funerals today are held in various places outside the church, but seldom should the locations preclude congregational participation. The funeral serves a support function such that the religious, social, and emotional needs of the mourners are met.
Location of Worship Service
The funerals of practicing Christians should be in the parish church, the place where their lives of worship have centered. In this setting, congregational singing should be encouraged and participation in the prayers should be taken for granted certainly to the extent of saying “Amen” and joining in the Lord’s Prayer.
The Ministry of the Pastor
The pastor’s ministry is to lead the bereaved into and through the rites of the church where the voice of the Gospel can be heard with healing power and clarity. In an effort to be positive and to emphasize the victory of the resurrection, the pain and loss of death must not be minimized or ignored. Both must be held in balance. The bereaved need to confront and accept the loss of the deceased as well as be given hope. Moreover, the congregation needs to be encouraged to support the bereaved not only at the time of the funeral but also as the bereaved return to the duties of their lives.
The visitation hours and time of service shall be established after consultation with the Pastor. Visitation in the church is highly encouraged.
The Service of the Burial of the Dead
This is intended primarily for use in the church with the body of the deceased present or as a memorial service. The service may be easily modified for use in other locations – crematory chapel, private house, funeral home – where processions and other liturgical actions are not feasible.
Funerals for Non-Members
Conducting funerals for people who have no connection with the church is a normal part of the ministerial obligation. It is usually inappropriate to hold such a service in the church and not all parts of the service may be appropriate. By certain omissions and choices of alternate selections this service may be adapted for such funerals.
Music selected for use at a funeral should embody high standards of quality, and in general reflect the spirit of Christian confidence, trust, and hope in the resurrection. The hymns should reflect such themes as the invocation of the Holy Spirit, the communion of saints, hope of the resurrection. Hymn versions of appropriate psalms may also be sung. Contact the church office to confirm an organist is available for the service date, as well as to inquire about special music needs.
The Commendation is a prayer that asks God to receive the deceased in mercy. The prayer is a concluding statement of trust to console the living with God’s care for the departed.
When the body of the deceased is to be transported to a distant interment site, when it has been donated for medical use, or in other situations when those present at the funeral cannot be present at the interment, the Commendation alone will suffice.
The Mood of the Liturgy
The Burial of the Dead is an Easter liturgy. It has its focus in Baptism by which one is made a child of God forever and is dramatized in the Easter Vigil and its celebration of the passage through death to new life, where Christ has led the way.
The mood of the Burial of the Dead is richer than the older practice that developed in medieval times and emphasized the loss, the sorrow, and the fear that death evokes. In the service, both the sadness and the joy must be seen together – one tempered by the other. Fraternal and other rites should not be a part of the church liturgy.Fellowship Meal
As much as the funeral itself serves as a support function for the family, a fellowship meal or coffee/dessert time following the funeral gives the family additional time to meet with family and friends on an informal level. Fromm Hall may be used for funeral dinners at no charge to members. These dinners are arranged through any number of catering organizations available in the area or by the family of the deceased.
Immanuel’s Funeral Team should be contacted regarding any special arrangements needed for the day and will be available on premises to assist in any way. They will be responsible for the cleanup.
Incidental Fees for Music Services
The church organist shall receive a minimum fee of $100. For providing special music (anthems, solos) there shall be a fee per person as decided upon by the family and the soloist.
Gifts to the Clergy
The recommended honorarium to the pastor is a minimum fee of $150. The Pastor will have been meeting with the family to arrange the readings and music for the service, performing the actual service, and in most instances conducting the interment service at the cemetery.
Visiting clergy may be present upon the consent of Immanuel’s Pastor.
After the funeral, flowers may be left at the church for the following Sunday’s service, buried at the grave site, or taken by family members. If they are left at the church there should be arrangements made to pick up the flowers after the Sunday service.
Bulletins outlining the service will be made available at no cost.
Memorials are encouraged. If the family has no specific request for use of the monies to be donated they can check with the church office to see what special projects may be in need of donations.
Fraternal groups, upon consent of the Pastor, may be permitted to give tribute to the deceased. However, services by fraternal orders, lodges, veterans groups or other organizations are not appropriate at a Lutheran funeral service.
Pastoral Services to Members of Another Congregation
The responsibility and authority for pastoral acts or services rest with the pastor where the deceased held membership. If the Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church is asked to provide pastoral services for members of other congregations, he/she shall contact the pastor of the church in which the person held membership before providing the service. If the request for pastoral service involves an individual who has had conflicts with his/her pastor or congregation, the immediate family should be urged to resolve the difficulty prior to receiving pastoral service. If this is not possible, Immanuel’s Pastor is obligated to provide information regarding that pastoral act or service performed to the pastor of the congregation in which the person held membership.