1. What kind of wedding ceremonies will be performed at Grace Lutheran Church?
Grace Lutheran Church of Greybull, 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 this policy.
2. Who can have their wedding at Grace Lutheran Church?
A church wedding at Grace Lutheran Church is part of the spiritual care of the Church, exercised by the Pastor on behalf of the congregation. As such, Grace Lutheran Church will perform weddings for those who stand under the spiritual care of Grace Lutheran Church, that is: couples of which one party is either a member of Grace 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 Grace Lutheran Church will also receive spiritual care from the Church in the form of pre-marital counseling and instruction (usually three or four sessions) by the Pastor prior to the wedding.
As part of that spiritual care, for the sake of their salvation, couples who have arranged themselves so as to be living in a manner contrary to the teachings of Holy Scripture must repent and embrace a Christian way of life before the blessing of God can be pronounced upon their life together.
3. What will and will not take place at a wedding at Grace 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 and 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 has nothing to do with the official establishment of a marriage. The establishment of the marriage is not what gives the church wedding its character. Secular songs or readings, no matter how popular, which do not glorify God and His love in Christ, or otherwise do not reflect the faith of the Lutheran Church, have no place in the worship service that a church wedding is.
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 and 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 Grace 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. A token of appreciation to musicians and the Pastor is customary, but by no means demanded.