We recognize marriage as a way of life created, blessed,
and sustained by God. Marriage often becomes the foundation
for larger family life, also. The Lutheran understanding
of marriage does not require that a ceremony be performed
by an ordained minister; marriage is a gift of God which
he has not limited to believers. Therefore, when persons
desire to be married in the church sanctuary by the
pastor of the church, the church assumes that the couple
shares its basic beliefs about God and about marriage
in the sight of God. Otherwise, a civil ceremony would
be the couple's appropriate choice.
The Christian tradition holds a high view of marriage. This
view originates in the Old Testament, and comes to its greatest
expression in Jesus' teaching about marriage in the Gospels.
In other parts of the New Testament we find Jesus' teaching
elaborated by the Apostles. Faithfulness to Jesus' teaching
is our goal in helping couples enter marriage in the context
of the Christian faith and the Lutheran Church.
For this reason we normally require counseling sessions between
the couple and the church's pastor before a wedding is scheduled.
This provides a way for the pastor to assist the couple as
they move toward marriage, especially as concerns the faith
dimension of married life. The counseling sessions also provide
the pastor with the knowledge required to determine whether
to perform the wedding. This is not meant to sound harsh or
judgmental, but the reality is that some persons desire to
use the services of the church without any real commitment
to its beliefs and values. Therefore, we must reserve the
right to schedule weddings only after the counseling sessions
have resulted in the pastor's consent to the wedding.
Inactive members and non-members are encouraged to renew
their commitment to the Lord and his church. Otherwise the
significance of marriage within the church is diminished.
Weddings will ordinarily be held in the church sanctuary.
Non-members are asked to make a contribution for the use of
the church building in the amount of $200. An additional $50
is the fee for our custodian who cleans the church following
weddings. The church organist has a set fee as well. The pastor
does not set a fee; you may do as you wish. Normally, the
church's organist and pastor will conduct all weddings. Exceptions
can be made, bet they should be approved at the time of the
counseling sessions. When another minster is present who will
actually perform the wedding, that minister must be a member
of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the pastor
of St. Matthew will usually take part in the wedding, also.
We do welcome the participation of other Christian clergy
within the wedding ceremony, whether Lutheran or not. we also
encourage couples to involve their friends and family members
as attendants, readers, musicians, ushers, flower girls, ring
Couples who desire to be married at St. Matthew Lutheran
Church should first understand these policies, and then proceed
to arrange counseling with the pastor.