Marriage - For all couples
Christian marriage provides the context for lifelong growth in faithfulness, love, patience, and grace, and we celebrate such marriages with joy. In marriage the members of the couple confer grace on one another before God and the Church as they exchange vows; the priest blesses the union on behalf of the Church.
Opposite-sex and same-sex couples are equally welcome to be married at St. Francis'. In 2012, the General Convention of the Episcopal Church approved a service for The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant for same-sex couples. Following the 2013 decision of the New Jersey Supreme Court upholding marriage equality in New Jersey, our Bishop authorized clergy of the Diocese of New Jersey to use this service for marriages of same-sex couples in our parishes (the service may also be used independently of a civil marriage if a couple so wishes). The expectations in preparing for marriages are the same for opposite-sex and same-sex couples.
Since marriage is a sacramental rite of the Church, it happens within the context of the Church community. Our expectation, therefore, is that couples wishing to be married here will participate in our life of worship and fellowship at least during the time of preparation for marriage – and, we hope, far beyond. If you do not already attend St. Francis, but would like to be married here, you are warmly invited to join us for worship. We hope you will discover a lively community of faith which you’ll want to make your spiritual home. Episcopal canon law requires that at least one of the participants have been baptized. You can learn more about baptism at St. Francis' here.
Marriage preparation typically takes from 4 to 6 months, allowing time for scheduling and planning as well as for pre-marital counseling. In instances where there is good reason, this time may be reduced. We very much hope you will speak to the Rector about scheduling before making other plans, such as renting a reception hall.
Normally, the Rector meets with the couple a minimum of five times spread out over several months to prepare them for marriage. If one or both members of the couple have been previously married and divorced, the Rector must get permission from the Bishop before he can agree to perform the marriage. While this is normally granted, it does require a few extra weeks to organize and submit the appropriate information.
For more information, please contact the Rector.