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«Wedding Policies Bethany Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) 3223 Westheimer Road Houston, Texas 77098-1009 Office 713-523-1609 Fax 713-522-3492 ...»

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Wedding Policies

Bethany Christian Church

(Disciples of Christ)

3223 Westheimer Road

Houston, Texas 77098-1009

Office 713-523-1609

Fax 713-522-3492


Wedding Policies

Intimacy, ecstasy, serenity are the fruit of a marriage based

upon total commitment, devotion and sacrificial love. These

are the cherished blessings and high callings that God desires

for every husband and wife entering the holy covenant of

marriage. In the Christian tradition, the very nature of an individual man and woman is transformed from two separate beings into what Scripture refers to the mystery of “the two becoming one flesh.” (Mark 10:8; Genesis 2:24) For those who believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and Lord and Savior of the world, it is only right and fitting that they would exchange their vows of fidelity and love before God and as an act of worship. What greater expression of gratitude is there than to stand before our Maker and give thanks for our betrothed, a very gift from God, indeed!

Therefore in recognition of the awesome responsibility and grace of God, we at Bethany Christian Church seek to offer all couples an opportunity to offer grateful thanks to the Lord God Almighty for the gifts of love and marriage shared between a man and a woman. To insure the highest of sacred ideals and pledges are maintained with utmost integrity of faith and practice, this Wedding Policy booklet is a bride and groom’s guide to understanding how weddings are conducted at Bethany Christian Church. Our ministers are committed to nothing less than each wedding service to be a Holy Covenant of Marriage resembling the Covenant that exists between Christ and the Church.

It is our sincere prayer, that you and your betrothed should find joy, peace and grace in your marriage and that your Wedding Service be an expression of your love for each other, as well as God’s love for you.

Scheduling Weddings will be scheduled on available dates in the order in which the completed “Wedding Information” forms are received. A consultation with the Office Administrator is required before making a request for a date. Once the Office Administrator determines the availability of a minister of Bethany Christian Church, the Office Administrator will consult with the couple regarding the date, time, and facilities requested for the rehearsal and wedding.

Ministries One of the ministers of the Bethany Christian Church staff will be the Officiating Minister at all ceremonies at the church.

Ministers of other churches may participate in the ceremony at the invitation of the Officiating Minister assigned to your wedding. The Ministers of our church will be happy to cooperate in every way possible; however, our ministers will perform at the very least the Vows and Pronouncement of Marriage.

Our Ministers are committed to providing every couple with the opportunity to consider their relationship and the awesome nature of the Covenant they are about to make.

Couples are required to have three Premarital Counseling sessions with the Officiating Minister to prepare themselves for marriage and to plan their ceremony. The first conference must be scheduled at least two months prior to the wedding date. Other conferences may be scheduled as needed. If the couple is not able to meet this requirement, then at the discretion of the Officiating Minister the couple may present a letter certifying that they have undergone premarital counseling with a qualified counselor or member of the Clergy for at least two sessions. This letter will suffice to replace two of the three sessions. One session with the Officiating Minister is still required to plan the ceremony.

Music In keeping with the worshipful nature of the ceremony, all music used should be appropriate to the service of worship, and free of secular connotations. The Church Organist is familiar with the music which is appropriate for a Christian ceremony and shall be consulted for all weddings. The Church Organist must approve all music used in the service. A list of suggested vocal music selections may be obtained by consulting with the Church Organist. It is strongly suggested that the couple not finalize any plans concerning the music for the ceremony until this consultation has taken place, as we cannot guarantee approval of all proposed music selections. Only the Church Organist or organists approved by the Church Organist of Bethany Christian Church will be allowed to use the pipe organ. Electronic musical instruments and taped accompaniment must meet with the approval of the Organist/Choir Director of Bethany Christian Church.

The Church Organist can secure a soloist if the couple so desires, any additional fees will be noted on the Fee Schedule. Guest soloists and musicians of the couple’s choice are welcome, but the couple are directly responsible for any remuneration required. Soloists needing the Church Organist for accompaniment must make arrangements with the organist for practice prior to the rehearsal and wedding date.

Floral Displays Flowers may be used as a floral offering and as an expression of tender affection. All greenery, flowers, and candles used in the chancel area must not obstruct the entrance of the ministers or those in the wedding party. All candles must be of the non-drip variety. Proper floor covering must be used to protect the carpet. All candles other than the Unity Candle are to be provided by the wedding couple or the florist.

If flower girls are used, they are allowed to drop artificial flower petals, but may not drop real petals of any kind within the church as crushed petals damage the church’s flooring.

No candles, flower stands, candelabra, or candle stands are to be used in the aisles or attached to the pews. Only wrapped wire or ribbon shall be used to fasten decorations to the pews, furniture, or building. For the safety of your guests, the use of rice, birdseed, flower petals, paper confetti, etc. is not permitted.

The chancel area is not to be obscured at any time; it is the focal point of the ceremony. Arrangements are not permitted on the Communion Table. Nor are any decorations or candles allowed in the choir loft area. All floral arrangements and candelabra are to be placed on either side of the chancel area, not in the center. No chancel furniture or fixtures may be moved or removed for the service.

The couple will supply the church office with the name and the phone number of their florist and is responsible for making sure that the florist picks up any remaining decorations after the service.

Photographs Professional photographers are requested to consult with the Officiating Minister prior to the service. Flash pictures are not allowed during the ceremony.

Pictures of the processional may be made by the professional photographer from a distance of no more than six pews from the back of the sanctuary, or the doorway if guests are seated in the back pews. Pictures of the recessional may be made from the same position.

Non-flash, or time exposure, pictures may be made during the ceremony from the balcony or the center aisle doorway.

No movement of the photographer during the ceremony is allowed.

Posed pictures of the wedding party and ceremonial pictures may be made following the service or prior to the service before guests arrive.

Videos may only be made from the balcony with available light.

A reminder: Flash pictures during the ceremony are not allowed. If such pictures are taken by family or friends, such a disruption may be cause for the Officiating Minister to interrupt the service. It is the responsibility of the wedding couple to inform family members and friends of the regulations concerning photographs.

Rehearsal The Officiating Minister shall have complete charge of conducting the rehearsal and wedding ceremony. Bridal consultants may be present and participate at the Minister’s discretion.

The rehearsal will be scheduled by the Office Administrator in consultation with the Officiating Minister. Rehearsals will last no longer than one hour from the time scheduled. It is the couple’s responsibility that all members of the Wedding Party arrive promptly.

Both the rehearsal and wedding shall begin promptly at the scheduled time, and all participants are encouraged to be early in their arrival for both.

The marriage license should be given to the Officiating Minister at the rehearsal.

–  –  –

Please inform each participant of his or her duties and inform the Officiating Minister of the attendants in the order in which they will enter.

All members of the wedding party, including ushers and parents, are required to attend the rehearsal.

Reception The facilities of Bethany Christian Church may be used by members only for the reception if the rooms are available.

The rooms shall be reserved at the time the wedding date is placed on the calendar. The use of the Parlor will be restricted to the guidelines provided by the Parlor Committee.

In addition to the Caterer Staff, the church Custodian is required to be at all receptions held in the church building.

The appropriate fees are attached.

Decorum Alcoholic beverages shall not be served or consumed at the church or on the church grounds. Beverages are not allowed in the Sanctuary. Breaking of this policy may result in the immediate cancellation of the ceremony and loss of deposit.

Smoking is not allowed inside the church building, the courtyard or the covered areas outside the building.

Ash cans are available at the entry doors so that smokers may extinguish their tobacco products without littering our campus.

Air Conditioning and Heating Air-conditioning or heating will be provided for both the rehearsal and the wedding. The building will be open three (3) hours prior to the wedding.

Fees All fees must be paid to the Office Administrator at least ten (10) days prior to the wedding date. Make one check for all services (including, for non-members, the Minister’s gratuity).

For non-members, the deposit check must be attached to the Wedding Information sheet at the time the date is reserved.

No dates will be held unless an application and deposit check (if applicable) is on file in our office.

The following fees have been set to cover the actual cost of operation of, and the custodial care for, the areas used for the rehearsal, wedding, and reception (if applicable). All fees may be changed from time to time without notice. In the event of a cancellation, deposits will be refunded if notice is given seven (7) days in advance. In the event cancellation is given on the day of the rehearsal or wedding, the fees for staff members will be forfeited.

Fee Schedules can be obtained from the Office Administrator.

Please fill in both copies. Keep the first for yourself and return the second copy to the church office along with the check for your damage deposit. Please note that the deposit check does not apply to the fees due ten days prior to the wedding. The deposit check will not be cashed but will be held until after the wedding. If no damage to the facility has occurred and all belongings and floral decorations are removed appropriately, the check will then be returned to you. Otherwise, all or a portion of the deposit may be used to repair damage and compensate custodians for removal of decorations, etc. See above note regarding cancellations.

Church Responsibility The church or any governing board will not be responsible for any personal effects lost, stolen, or damaged.

Bethany Staff Rev. Brad Stagg, an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), has served as the Senior Minister of Bethany Christian Church since December, 2002; having served as Associate Minister for Bethany the previous six and half years. Rev. Stagg earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Humanities at Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, Texas in 1987 and his Master of Divinity from Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas in 1993.

Brad Stagg is fully committed to couples seeking Christ for their marriage. As a husband married for fifteen years to his bride, Trish, and father of two, Luke and Annie, Brad knows the total devotion and commitment required for a successful marriage. It is his prayer that all couples married through the Wedding Ministry of Bethany Christian Church will fully know God’s blessings of love, grace and joy which God intends for all husbands and wives in the holy bonds of matrimony.

Rev. Herschel E. Moore is Senior Associate Minister at Bethany Christian Church. He shares the pulpit with the Senior Minister and is primarily responsible for pastoral care, evangelism, and Christian action ministries of the church. Rev. Moore was Senior Minister at Bellaire Christian Church for twelve years before Bethany and Bellaire merged in March, 2006.

Before coming to Houston in 1994, he was pastor of First Christian Church in Alpine, Texas.

Rev. Moore holds the Master of Divinity degree from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky and has done extensive post-graduate work, including an internship in Clinical Pastoral Education and participation in The Summer Programme in Theology at the University of Oxford, England. He and his wife Yolanda have been married 35 years and have two adult children.

Rev. Virgie L. Gipson accepted the call to the Ministry of Jesus Christ in 1982 while at University Christian Church, Houston, and since that time has served several Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ). Her ministerial service has included Interim Minister of University Christian Church, Associate Minister at Bellaire Christian, and Minister to Prisoners’ Families at Bethany.

She has served the larger church as Vice Moderator and Moderator of the Coastal Plains Area of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the Southwest, CWU Evening Division Chairman; President of Church Women United;

Nominating Committee for Church Women United in Texas;

and Spiritual Enrichment Chairman for Church Women United in Texas. She received the Valiant Woman Award for outstanding service and achievement from CWU in Houston in 1998; and was elected Most Valuable Church Woman by Church Women United in Houston, 2007. She volunteers with Kairos Outside Houston Prison Ministry which ministers to adult women family members and friends of the incarcerated.

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