Christian marriage is a lifelong relationship of faithfulness undertaken as a witness to the covenantal love of God that is revealed to us in Jesus Christ. For those who are called to live a life protected and bounded by vows of faithfulness to God and to one another this is both a great gift and challenge. The ceremony of the public profession of lifelong faithfulness to another is rightly celebrated in a service that worships the God who is faithful. University Hill Congregation welcomes couples, regardless of gender, who wish to live in Christian marriage to make their marriage vows in its midst.
Participation in the Congregation
Christian marriage is a calling undertaken within Christian community where our mutual vows as disciples of Jesus support and inform our marriage vows. Christian marriage assumes that those who are married are active participants in the life of the church - sharing in worship, ministry and care of one another. Couples who are new to this life are welcome to consider being married within the congregation. Those who are not already active in the congregation’s life are asked to commit to participation in the congregation in preparation for their marriage. Attendance in worship, involvement in neighourhood gatherings and in other ministries of the congregation provide an opportunity to integrate Christian marriage within the life of the Christian community.
We normally introduce couples who are to be married within the congregation twice: on a Sunday morning when it has been agreed that the marriage ceremony will take place and on a Sunday prior to the marriage ceremony when one or both partners are invited to be the lector(s) in worship.
In order to prepare to live in a Christian marriage we ask couples to meet with our Congregational Minister regularly prior to the marriage ceremony. These meetings provide an opportunity to discuss the nature of Christian marriage as well as to plan the wedding ceremony. Between sessions couples will be asked to read and discuss material relevant to the conversations with our Congregational Minister. It normally requires at least six months to undertake this period of preparation (with four to six sessions).
The Marriage Ceremony
The marriage ceremony is celebrated in the worship home of University Hill Congregation - the Chapel of the Epiphany. Requests for the celebration of a marriage ceremony in an alternate location should be made to, and discussed with, the Congregational Minister. The marriage service is a public act of worship which the congregation is invited to attend.
The order of worship is planned by the Congregational Minister in co-operation with the couple and is normally based upon one of four marriage services suggested by the United Church of Canada. We ask that flash photographs not be taken during the service of worship. However, flash photographs may be taken as the couple arrives and during the signing of the Marriage Register following the service.
The congregation does not charge for the services of its minister in the preparation for the marriage, in hosting the rehearsal or in presiding at the wedding. This is a ministry of the church that is offered as a gift to those who come seeking to be married. There is a $400 fee to cover the cost of renting the Chapel of the Epiphany from the Vancouver School of Theology. There is also a fee for engaging the services of a musician, if desired. Please contact us if you wish to discuss costs associated with the wedding.
If the couple wishes to have its Christian Marriage recognized as a Civil Marriage by the Province of British Columbia it will provide the Congregational Minister with its BC Marriage Licence & Registration of Marriage form prior to the wedding rehearsal. Information about being married in BC can be found here.