WELCOME to St. John United Church of Christ and congratulations on your engagement to be married. I am eager to help make your wedding a joyful and meaningful experience and I will do my best to keep it from being more stressful than it needs to be. As a congregation of the United Church of Christ, we believe marriage is a lifelong, spiritual commitment. The Book of Worship United Church of Christ says:
The essence of marriage is a covenanted commitment that has its foundation in the faithfulness of God’s love. The marriage ceremony is the glad occasion on which two people unite…in the mutual exchange of covenant promises. The one presiding acts as an official representative of the church and gives the marriage the church’s blessing. The congregation joins in affirming the marriage and in offering support and thanksgiving for the new family. A Christian marriage ceremony is a service of worship offered to God. (Page 323)
One of the most challenging and rewarding of human relationships, marriage is meant to be lived out in a community of faith where it can be supported and nurtured by others seeking to grow in love, forgiveness, justice, and compassion. As you consider being married at St. John United Church of Christ, I invite and encourage you to be supported by and committed to this church community. If you live out of town, I invite and encourage you to seek out a church family in your own community that will support you in your life together. It is also important for you to know that the members of St. John United Church of Christ and I affirm equality in marriage for all couples including same-sex couples. From my work with couples planning weddings of all sizes, I understand that the wedding itself can eclipse the marriage at this stage of your planning. I want to help prepare you for both your wedding and your spiritual covenant of marriage together. The information in this booklet is provided to help you better understand the beliefs and practices that guide weddings that I officiate at St. John United Church of Christ. Please feel free to contact me to arrange an initial consultation to learn more about what we can offer you as you decide where and how your wedding will be celebrated.
The Reverend Keith M. Haithcock
The Reverend Keith M. Haithcock has served as Pastor & Teacher at St. John United Church of Christ since 1999. He is an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ and holds a Master of Divinity degree. His credentials are held with the Southwest Ohio Northern Kentucky Association of the Ohio Conference of the United Church of Christ.