“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil… A threefold cord is not quickly broken.” – Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
In some circumstances, our clergy will agree to officiate at weddings for people who are not, or are not yet, members of our congregation. Such couples must receive the agreement of one of our clergy as the first step in the process.
In preparation for your wedding, the church serves you by rooting this action in the life of faith and discussing with you the nature of married life. We want to know you better to bring the fullness of joy to your wedding celebration and to share what we as Christians mean by love and marriage. Therefore, we plan to meet with you on several occasions well in advance of the wedding to develop these foundations together. These meetings include getting better acquainted, discussing the meaning of Christian marriage, planning the wedding service, and conversations around perennial issues of married life.
You may have the opportunity to participate in a marriage preparation class that will include other couples preparing for marriage. This will allow you to prepare for marriage while sharing issues relevant to this season of your life with other couples.
The first and most important phone call you can make after your partner says, “I will”, and before you say, “I do”, is to your church. Every other call is for the sake of the wedding itself. The call to the church is your investment not only in the wedding, but in your life together through marriage.
“For in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ Jesus have clothed yourself with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” – Galatians 3:26-28
When adults are baptized, it signals that they have become aware of the love and grace of God in their lives, and they respond by accepting Jesus Christ as the ruler of their lives and committing to live for Christ. When children are baptized (before they are old enough to intentionally respond to God’s love and grace), the parent(s) are acknowledging that God is already present with the child, and that the parents will raise the child to know and respond to the love and grace of God, within the context of a particular church community (i.e. a local church congregation).
When an infant or young child is baptized, one or both parents or guardian, and perhaps one or more sponsors (traditionally, “Godparents”), promise to assume certain responsibilities for the Christian nurture of the baptized child. Most parents presenting their children for baptism are members of our congregation. There are circumstances when non-members may present children for baptism, after consultation with the minister. The key consideration is whether the parents are actively involved in another local congregation, but because of special circumstances (such as family history at Union Church), wish to have the child baptized here. Because you are promising to raise your child in the context of Christian community, we will encourage you in your commitment to a particular church in order to fulfill these promises. Those who are baptized at an early age are later given an opportunity to confirm their faith through a year-long “Confirmation” program, normally in their early teen years.
“For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.” – Corinthians 5:1
A representative of the family may speak during the service at a special time of remembrance, although this is not necessary and can be discussed when planning the worship service with clergy. Sensitive consideration is always given to ethnic customs and traditions, as well as the particular circumstances of the bereaved.
A minister of Union Church presides at all funeral, memorial, and graveside services of the church. Non-member services may also be held according to availability of clergy upon request. It is a privilege to love God and to serve our neighbor together in the community of faith. We are bound together in life and in death, and we claim God’s promises that nothing can ever separate us from the love of God.