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weddings and baptisms
We are delighted that you have found love in each other and that you want to be married in church. The Bible says “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24). Jesus affirmed this marriage between a man and a woman in the New Testament (Matthew 19:5). If you wish to be married in church you should consult the minister at an early stage, meantime, here are some answers to frequently asked questions:
Do I need to be a member of the Church to be married in church?
NO. You do not need to be a member of the Church to be married in the Church of Scotland, although of course we would be delighted to welcome you into our fellowship. In reformed Christian denominations marriage is not a sacrament, however, you are asked to make important promises to each other before God therefore these are binding in His sight and should not be entered into lightly. It is assumed that those who want to be married in church sincerely wish to seek God's blessing on their marriage - so this is a good time to give serious thought to the claims of Jesus Christ. You will be expected to attend a few Marriage Preparation & Planning meetings.
Can I re-marry in church if I am divorced?
Being divorced is not in itself a barrier to remarriage in the Church of Scotland. Church of Scotland ministers may, but are not obliged to, solemnise a marriage where one of the parties is divorced and the former spouse is still alive. Before agreeing to officiate in these circumstances the minister will want to talk to you in more detail.
For whom will the minister of Macduff Parish Church conduct a marriage ceremony?
Normally, the minister is delighted to conduct marriage services for couples with a connection with our church or who live within our parish. He is willing to consider the possibility of other weddings, however, as ours is a lively, busy church this may not always be possible or appropriate. To receive on-going pastoral care it is best to be married in a parish church local to you.
Can I be married by the minister outwith the church building?
Normally weddings will be conducted by the minister in the church. This said, another location may be considered providing it is a dignified and appropriate environment (no scuba diving!). The church is the norm, any other decision will be made on an individual basis at the sole discretion of the minister.
Can I invite another minister to conduct the service?
Normally, No. All worship, including your wedding service, is the responsibility of the minister of Macduff Parish Church. If you have a friend who is an ordained Christian minister and you wish them to be part of the service, speak to our minister who will normally be happy to involve him/her in some way. In all situations the primary responsibility for the service will remain with the minister of Macduff Parish Church and he will conduct the marriage ceremony itself.
Can I invite a friend to take part in an aspect of the service?
Yes. You will be fully involved in the planning process, during which individual items which will make the day special to you can be aired. For example, on occasions couples ask a friend to read a poem or sing an appropriate song and in normal circumstances the minister will be delighted to have friends or family involved in your service, the details of which will be agreed during discussion. Please remember that in church no item should contradict or be offensive to the Christian faith.
What costs do I have to consider?
While these are kept to a minimum, there are some costs which you need to consider, for example fees for the organist and church cleaner. These are set annually by the Kirk Session and details can be obtained when you book your service. There is currently no fixed charge for use of the church, however, an appropriate donation is requested in the context of your overall wedding expenditure. For your information it normally costs in excess of £100 to open and heat the church for just one wedding. There may also be extra costs not related to the church in terms of copyright and performing rights should you choose to record your wedding. All fees and your church donation should be paid to the Treasurer no later than one month prior to your wedding date. There is no charge for the minister's services, although if you are to be married in a location other than the church you should discuss travel expenses with him.
What about photography and video?
You will obviously want many photographs to remember your happy day and we will do our best to assist you in this. The ceremony itself is first and foremost a Christian service of worship and its dignity must be respected and protected. Flash photography during the service is therefore not permitted. When you sign the marriage schedule (or 'register') at the end of the service flash photography is permitted.
Video operation that detracts from or gets in the way of the service is also not permitted, however, there are ways around this. If you would like a video of your ceremony speak to the minister and he will advise of the best way to do this. You should note that, under Musicians Union guidelines, if a video recording is made the organist is entitled to request a higher fee.
It is great that you are thinking of Baptism for yourself or your child. Baptism is one of the two sacraments of the Church (the other being Holy Communion). The minister will be delighted to speak with you about this so arrange to meet with him, but meantime here are a few things to consider:
1. Baptism of a Child
The gift of Baptism implies growth and grace and therefore, in the case of the Baptism of a child, parents or guardians are asked to give a clear commitment to raise their child in the Christian faith, within the life and worship of the Church. In asking for Baptism parents are making a positive statement, saying "We believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and we want to dedicate our child to him and promise to bring him / her up within the active life of Christ's Church on earth, represented by the local church”. This obviously requires belief and faith on the part of at least one of the parents. Being part of the Church family is the best place to start and if you are not a member of our congregation we look forward to welcoming you. We would expect that at least one parent would be worshipping with us for a time before discussing a baptism. Our prayer is that you and your family would feel at home with us and become part of our church family, and we look forward to getting to know you and supporting you and your family in the years ahead. Baptism, if it is to mean anything at all, should be seen as the beginning of a journey for your child. Baptism shouldn't be considered just because "grandparents say it's the thing to do", nor for any superstitious reason. If you have not yourself accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour of your life then speak to the minister or an elder. Meantime, you will find good information by clicking here.
Infant Baptism in the Church of Scotland
Baptism is not a private family event but a church family event. The Church of Scotland sets out rules about whom a minister can baptise.
A child can be baptised if one or both parents have themselves been baptised and are members of the Church or who intend to become members of the congregation (currently attending our church and happy to enrol in the next available membership preparation or Christian education meetings - usually twice per year);
One or both parents are recognised as adherents of the congregation in regular attendance; <>OR
In certain circumstances ministers can also Baptise children when another close family member is a member of the Church and is able to take the vows of baptism on behalf of the parents. (This would be relevant only where the child to be baptised lives in close proximity to that family member who can shepherd them in the faith and keep the promises made about them being brought-up within the life and witness of the Church)
None of the above?
Maybe you don't live in Macduff now, but your family is connected with our congregation. If you attend another church somewhere else, we suggest that you speak to your minister or pastor first. If they are happy, our minister would be delighted to conduct the baptism of your child here at Macduff Parish Church.
2. A Service of Blessing & Thanksgiving
If you do not think Baptism or Church membership is right for your family at present, you may wish to consider a service of blessing and thanksgiving for your child. This can be an excellent celebration of the gift of a child, shared with your family and friends alongside our congregation. In choosing this type of service, you can leave the matter of baptism to a time when you think it right - we baptize children and adults of any age! The minister would be happy to discuss an act of Blessings and Thanksgiving with you.
3. Adult or Believer’s Baptism
"Should I be baptised as a teenager or adult?" That depends on your relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus made it clear that his disciples (or followers) should be baptised (Matthew 28:19,20). In the same way that Jesus died and rose again so, by being baptised, we show that we have died to sin and now live a new life in the power of the Holy Spirit (see Romans 6:4). Baptism is certainly an outward sign or symbol of what God is doing within your life - but it is a whole lot more! B aptism is also a way of announcing publicly that you are a Christian and that you want wholeheartedly to follow Jesus Christ as Lord. There are many clear examples in the Bible to show that this was how people were admitted into fellowship in the early church (see Acts 8:34-39). In Acts 2:41 we read that 3,000 people were baptised after believing on the first day of the Christian church. So if you are a Christian and you have not yet been baptised, then come along to worship at Macduff Parish Church and, when the time is right, speak with the minister. Note, however, that the Church believes in 'one baptism' so if you were baptised as a child you don't need to be baptised again as an adult.
You can read more by clicking here.