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Weddings, Funerals, and Other Occasional Services

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Basic information on special services...

Ephesians 5:22-33

Click here to download the Gloria Christi wedding manual.

Click here to download the Gloria Christi funeral manual and guidelines.

1 Corinthians 15:12-23

2 Corinthians 1:3-7

WEDDINGS

Ordinarily the pastor will conduct weddings for the prospective bride and groom where at least one of the two is a member of Gloria Christi. At least 4 sessions of pre-marital instruction is required before the pastor will officiate the wedding service.

If a prospective bride and groom are cohabiting (living together) prior to the wedding, they will be expected to agree to one of the two options (I Corinthians 6:18-20):

1. Agree to get an official marriage license as soon as possible and be married as soon as possible if they are unable to separate to different living quarters in chastity. In this case it may necessitate a simpler wedding ceremony, which can be followed by a larger reception or renewal of wedding vows.

2. Agree to separate in chastity until the wedding day.

The pastor, by law, will not conduct a wedding rite without a legitimate wedding license from the government (Romans 13:1-7).  Also, the pastor will not co-officiate with non-LCMS clergy as a matter of church fellowship.

With regard to the wedding service, regardless of whether it is held in the church building or elsewhere, if the pastor officiates the marriage vows, wedding rite, and music will be conducted as a church service, according to the doctrine and rites of our church (I Corinthians 4:1-2).

Those who are not members of Gloria Christi certainly may speak with the pastor about officiating their wedding also according to the same principles above. We welcome those who are interested in learning more also to enroll in an adult catechism course to become baptized, communicant members of our congregation.


BAPTISMS

The pastor will be glad to speak with anyone about the sacrament of Holy Baptism for adults or children. Typically for adults we have some catechetical instruction before and after receiving Holy Baptism. For children, the pastor would like to meet with the parents and discuss the nature of Baptism and its benefits as well as the need for continued teaching and nurturing of the faith after Baptism (Mark 10:13-16; John 3:5; Psalm 51:5; Acts 2:38-39). To this end it is commendable that the parents of the newly baptized become members of the congregation and serve as examples in word and deed to their children. Baptism, while giving the Holy Spirit, the forgiveness of sins, and creating faith, is not intended to be a thing in isolation (Titus 3:4-7; Acts 2:42). Those who are baptized need to have their faith fed, continuing to grow in faith, understanding and wisdom. Christian faith is not spiritual self-sufficiency, but utter dependence upon Christ and His Word. Baptizing and teaching together (Matthew 28:16-20). Those who are baptized can fall away from the faith, as we are tempted by the devil, the world, and our flesh (old Adam). Christ is the Vine and we are the branches. It is in the Word and Sacraments, as the means of divine grace, that we abide in Christ and derive our ongoing life from Him alone (Romans 10:17). This is what ongoing study of Scripture, attending the Divine Service, and confession and absolution have to do with the sustenance of saving faith in Christ. Faith is not self-referencing or self-focused, but is Christ-centered. Faith has nothing to speak of other than what it receives from Christ in the holy Word and Sacraments of Baptism, Absolution, and the Lord's Supper.


YOUTH CATECHESIS ("confirmation class")

All youths from grade 4 and up are invited to join us for youth catechism class. This class covers the basics of Christian doctrine as confessed by traditional Lutherans along with an introduction to the Lutheran liturgy. This class involves weekly class sessions, mandatory memory assignments, along with required church and Sunday School attendance. Upon completing the class years and affirming the faith after pastoral examination, those baptized youths are publicly confirmed in the Divine Service and received as communicant members of our congregation and fellowship (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 2:42).


ADULT CATECHESIS

Adult catechesis is offered periodically, typically when interest is expressed by a small group. It typically lasts between 6 to 9 months depending upon the needs and amount of discussion among the participants. This instruction is geared toward those who want to learn more of Christianity as confessed by Lutherans, those who are not yet baptized, those who are becoming Lutheran communicants from non-Lutheran Christian backgrounds, or those with a completely non-Christian or no religious background at all. Adult catechesis is the typical route for both non-Christians and non-Lutheran Christians to become communicant members of the congregation and our synodical fellowship.


FUNERALS

Funerals are typically conducted by the pastor for those who have been members of the congregation and receiving the means of grace through the ministry of the congregation whether at the church or as shut-ins, hospitalized or otherwise. Certain pastoral exceptions to this may also be possible. Funerals, also, are conducted according to the doctrine and rites of our congregation. Eulogies are not performed during the service or in the sanctuary, but may be done at the visitation or luncheon (Ephesians 2:8,9). While the funeral sermon will certainly involve the faith and person of the departed it is primarily a proclamation of God's law and gospel for the comfort of Christ to the bereaved and to declare Christ's victory over sin and death.  Christian funerals at the church are for those who confessed Christ as Savior from sin and death and who received the Lord's means of grace regularly in our fellowship.

PRIVATE CONFESSION AND HOLY ABSOLUTION (Penance or Reconciliation)

Private Confession and Holy Absolution, which may be considered a sacrament according to the Lutheran Confessions, is part of the ongoing daily life of living in our one Baptism for the remission of sins. While privately confessing our sins to God in prayer (as in the Lord's Prayer) along with general confession and absolution in the preparation of the Divine Service are each helpful in their own way, many Christians, including Martin Luther, have found private confession and absolution with the pastor to be very helpful for "those sins which we know and feel in our hearts." Those sins remain secret, under the seal of confession, and drowned in the waters of Baptism. They are washed away and forgiven in that word of absolution which is Christ's and is spoken through the mouth of His called and ordained men (John 20:19-23).

The pastor is available by appointment to hear confessions and pronounce holy absolution in private according to the rite found in our hymnal and in the manner described in the Catechisms. Unlike Roman Catholic practice, we do not legally require private confession, we do however keep it available in a gospel-centered way to soothe the troubled conscience of the Christian and to free them from the slavery to sin. Private confession is not only for the sixth commandment but for any sin which we have trouble believing is forgiven in Christ. In the privacy and singular setting of private absolution, the person confessing is the only one there for that and the absolution is spoken particularly for what is confessed. Doubt is cast aside. God puts His forgiveness there into our ears and then our hearts and minds where we are with our sins. And that sin is paid for in the death of Christ.

Gloria Christi Lutheran Church (LCMS)

1322 31st Avenue

Greeley, Colorado 80634

(970) 353-2554
 

Visits since 12 December 2006  (counter may have been reset - technical issues)