The word marriage comes from the Latin marītāre meaning to provide with a husband or wife. The marriage relationship as described by scripture, tradition and the canons of this church is between a man and women. Marriage is strongest and happiest among those who have lived satisfying single lives. It is the church’s job to assist those singles seeking companionship to make wise choices in a life long, committed relationship. God’s intention is that persons are in family and they feel no shame. And yet being single is to be equally honored.
Genesis 2:18, 21-25
18 The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." 21 So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. 23 The man said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman, ' for she was taken out of man." 24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. 25 The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.
Book of Common Prayer, p. 422
“Christian marriage is a solemn and public covenant between a man and a woman in the presence of God. In the Episcopal Church it is required that one, at least, of the parties must be a baptized Christian; that the ceremony be attested by at least two witnesses; and that the marriage conform to the laws of the state and the canons of this church.
A priest or a bishop normally presides at the celebration and blessing of a marriage, because such ministers alone have the function of pronouncing the nuptial blessing, and of celebrating the Holy Eucharist.”
As you begin your life together the clergy, vestry and members of Trinity Church Janesville pray that you, the couple will be joined with the bridegroom, our Lord Jesus, as you make your vows to God and one another toward a lifelong commitment.
The first step is to call the church and make an appointment with the rector of the parish. This should be attended by both the man and woman planning to be married - the earlier the better.
Weddings are both social and religious events. The church has little to say about the social aspects. Your wedding is the solemnization and blessing of a marriage within a worship service conducted according to the forms, canons, and customs of the Episcopal Church and this parish. Therefore, no public announcements or service plans should be made until after you have discussed the wedding with the rector. A Declaration of Consent is signed at this meeting and a plan for further counseling is arranged. Bring your calendars!
Canon Laws are the rules and regulations which govern the Episcopal Church. Marriage canons require that:
1.) The clergy is notified of the desire to be married at least thirty days prior to the date of the ceremony
2.) That at least one of the couple be baptized in any Christian denomination
3.) That premarital counseling be done by either the officiating clergy or some one approved by him or her
4.) That if either of the partners has been divorced, permission to solemnize the marriage be obtained from the bishop of the diocese where the marriage will take place.
While thirty days is considered to be a minimum for notification of clergy Fr. Lebron requires six months for the valuable preparation that follows below.
Who May Be Married At Trinity Church
1.) A relationship with Trinity Church is necessary for someone to be married here. Weddings are normally done only for those couples where at least one of the two is a member or has a historical or family relationship or who are in the process of becoming members of the parish. The church is not available for use by outside parties with no prior relationship to the church. Any exceptions are solely at the discretion of the rector.
2.) A Christian service is assumed. Trinity is a Christian Church and the Rector or Priest in Charge is ordained as a priest in the Episcopal Church. It is assumed that those wishing to be married here wish to have an identifiably Christian service. Those wishing a secular service should not plan a church wedding, family wishes and social expectations notwithstanding.
3.) Interfaith marriages are permitted. The majority of marriages now involve people from other Christian denominations, and sometimes non-Christian faiths. The Episcopal Church will honor and perform such marriages. There is no expectation that the non-Episcopal partner will convert or raise their children in our tradition. This is a matter that should be explored during pre-marital counseling.
But marriage in the Episcopal Church is expected to follow the church traditions and the liturgy in the Book of Common Prayer. The Prayer book allows for alternative phrases in the exchange of vows so that a non-Christian partner need not solemnly swear in the name of the Trinity. Otherwise, all Christian customs and language will be observed.
4.) Remarriages are permitted under certain circumstances. According to Canon Law (see above), remarriage of persons whose former spouses are still living requires the written permission of the Bishop (see required form) http://www.diomil.org/office-of-the-bishop/forms-and-documents . The diocese requires a waiting period of one year after a divorce is finalized before such permission will be given. The priest must send a letter to the Diocesan office requesting the Bishop’s permission before agreeing to perform the service. A copy of the divorce degree must be included. The bishop will have to be satisfied that the former spouse and any children have been provided for and that the current relationship was not responsible for the failure of the previous marriage. Sufficient advance notice is required to obtain the bishop’s response. Psychotherapy may be required by the bishop and/or rector. At least 90 days notice is recommended. Third marriages are problematic and there is no expectation that permission will be granted.
Setting a Date
Dates for weddings are reserved on a first-come, first serve basis. The date must be established with the rector before making other arrangements. Weddings can be performed almost any time of year, with the exception of Holy Week. No weddings or other sacraments are performed on Good Friday, Holy Saturday or Easter Sunday. Regular church services and other major festivals also take precedence.
· Premarital counseling is required by canon law. This is normally done by the rector and involves six – twelve sessions (depending on desire and availability) and includes the use of an online tool called Prepare and Enrich https://www.prepare-enrich.com/webapp/pe/faq/template/DisplaySecureContent.vm;pc=1341884179678?id=pe*faq*overview.html&emb_org_id=0&emb_sch_id=0&emb_lng_code=ENGLISH purchased at the couple’s expense for $30.
The rector or supply priest of the parish presides at all services in Trinity. The rector or supply priest may invite other clergy to assist at his or her discretion. The invitation must come from him or her. Non-Episcopal clergy are not normally permitted to conduct services at Trinity.
Customs of Trinity Church
Details of the customs for marriages at Trinity can be found in the marriage manual which will be provided to the couple when they meet with the rector. Most significant are:
1.) Book of Common Prayer will be followed for the form and order of the service (pg. 423 ff ) http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bcp/marriage.pdf . Self-written vows or substitutions in the liturgy are permitted following the form on pgs. 435,436 but are the exception.
2.) Non-Episcopal customs such as “unity candles” are discouraged. The exchange of vows and rings are the clearest and simplest expression of commitment.
3.) Communion is encouraged but not required
4.) Photography is not ordinarily permitted during a worship service, either by guests or a professional photographer. Videography is allowed by arrangement with the rector if it does not detract from a holy celebration.
5.) Music must be approved by the rector and must be religious in nature.
6.) A valid marriage license from the Rock County Register of Deeds, State of Wisconsin http://www.co.rock.wi.us/certificates/birthdeathmarriage , must be given to the minister before the service, preferably at the required rehearsal, or the wedding will not proceed. The couple and their witnesses must also sign the parish register on their wedding day.
7). Rehearsal date and time are arranged when the wedding date is established. The Rector is in charge of the rehearsal. All participants in the wedding party are expected to be sober and drug free or the rehearsal will not proceed.
8.) A reception may be held in the parish hall of the church, arranged either with an outside caterer or catered by family. Use of alcohol is in accordance with the church’s policy and can be discussed during counseling.
A fee of $150 to church members or relatives will cover the services of the organist and $50 of the sexton. A donation to the Rector’s discretionary fund is customary and acceptable. This supports the Rector’s outreach ministry to the community of Janesville. An additional fee of $500 to Trinity Episcopal Church will be made for those that live outside of parish boundaries for operational expenses.