1. What kind of wedding ceremonies will be performed at Zion Lutheran Church?
Zion Lutheran Church of Emblem, Wyoming, is a member congregation of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Her marriage policy is and has always been consistent with the Synod’s beliefs on marriage. We believe that marriage is a sacred, and thus life-long, union of one man and one woman (Gen. 2:24-25; Matthew 19:4-9; 1 Cor. 7:10-11), and that God has given marriage as an imagery of the relationship between Christ and His bride the Church (Eph. 5:32). The official position of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, as set forth in 1998 Res. 3-21 (“To Affirm the Sanctity of Marriage and to Reject Same-Sex Unions”), is that homosexual unions come under categorical prohibition in the Old and New Testaments (Lev. 18:22, 24; 20:13; 1 Cor. 6:9-10; 1 Tim. 1:9-10) as contrary to the Creator’s design (Rom. 1:26-27). These positions and beliefs can be found on the LCMS website, along with other statements, papers and reports on the subject of homosexuality and same-sex civil unions and “marriage.” Our Pastors will not officiate over any marriages inconsistent with these beliefs, nor may our church property be used for any marriage ceremony, reception or other activity which would be inconsistent with our beliefs and these policies.
2. Who can have their wedding at Zion Lutheran Church?
A church wedding at Zion Lutheran Church is part of the spiritual care of the Church, exercised by the Pastor on behalf of the congregation. As such, Zion Lutheran Church will perform weddings only for those who stand under the spiritual care of Zion Lutheran Church, that is: couples of which one party is either a member of Zion Lutheran Church, or a former member now under the spiritual care of another congregation of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod or a church body in fellowship with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.
Couples who are to be married at Zion Lutheran Church, will also receive spiritual care from the Church in the form of pre-marital counseling and instruction by the Pastor prior to the wedding.
Couples who have arranged themselves so as to be living in a manner contrary to the teachings of Holy Scripture must repent and amend their sinful ways before the blessing of God can be pronounced upon their life together.
3. What will and will not take place at a wedding at Zion Lutheran Church?
At any Lutheran worship service the Church of Christ will hear the Word of God, give thanks to Him for His salvation, and commit herself to His care. At a church wedding the Church of Christ celebrates His love for the couple being married, prays for them, and speaks His Word to them. As such, a church wedding is first and foremost a worship service.
In terms of what happens, a wedding is not much different than, say, a celebration of a wedding anniversary; that a wedding is also the event at which the bride and groom officially become husband as wife as far society is concerned is purely coincidental – it could very well be, and in many countries this is the case, that the church wedding would have nothing to do with the official establishment of a marriage. The establishment of the marriage is not what gives the church wedding its character. Songs or readings which do not glorify God and His love in Christ as confessed by Zion Lutheran Church have no place in the worship service that a church wedding is – no matter how well-established they may be in common culture, or how well-liked by any one individual.
It is the Pastor’s responsibility before God, and before the congregation, to make sure that worship services are carried out so as to reflect the truth taught in Holy Scripture as well as the appropriate reverence for God.
Wedding attendants and guests who appear to be intoxicated or in other ways display conduct that is inappropriate in a house of worship will be asked to leave.
4. What is the cost of having a wedding at Zion Lutheran Church?
There are no fees. If the facilities are used for a reception following, a gift to defray the expenses for the congregation will be appreciated. An honorarium to musicians and the Pastor is customary as a token of appreciation, but by no means demanded.
Approved by the Board of Elders at Zion Lutheran Church of Emblem, Wyoming
on May 14th, 2015