Post # 1
Fiance and I just spoke to the minister who will most likely be our officiant for our wedding. Fiance and I decided that we wanted to have a religious ceremony as opposed to a humanist one because while we agree with the Humanist approach, we still want a spiritual ceremony.
I’ve been involved with some outreach programs with our local Unitarian church and I’ve been to different events at the church. Fiance and I consider ourselves Unitarians, however, we aren’t part of a church presently.
When I was speaking to the minister he said that he would most likely have to speak to a local minister before he performs our ceremony so that he knows the marriage is bona fide, etc. Okay, no problem.
This means that we’ll have to talk to a local minister. Does this mean that we have to join the local church? I wouldn’t feel right about talking to the minister and having him/her help us out but not giving them any kind of compensation. I’m not really sure how this church stuff works, to be honest! Its no big deal if we do have to join, I’ve been thinking of doing it anyway, I just haven’t had the time to go to any services or get involved a whole lot. I’m just afraid that if I join I’ll be pressured into attending and giving money (which would be unlike the Unitarians, but still).
Post # 3
@YogaFaerie: I don’t know about the Unitarians, but it is common practise in all churches to require you to attend regularly before your wedding. In some, they expect you to become a member as well. You do not have to give money.
This is because you are being married under their spiritual guidance, and they want you to take your religious vows seriously. Therefore, they want to be assured that you will continue to attend so that they can minister to you during your marriage. I don’t think that this is at all unreasonable. You get married within a religion because you are relgious… it seems to me to be rather unreasonable to get married for other reasons and then just leave the institution which married you!
Post # 4
@Rachel631: Yeah, but the thing with the Unitarian church is that although in Scotland it would be considered a religious ceremony, it isn’t exactly religious in the sense that Christianity or Judaism is. I’ll have to double check anyway. I know Unitarians that definitely don’t attend church all the time and their services are very different.
Post # 5
And I didn’t say it was unreasonable. I said I wouldn’t mind joining but I would like to know so that I can give myself a timeline.
unitarian ceremonies are customized to your spiritual beliefs, they don’t have a set protocol hence why I would wonder – they arent like Christian churches.
Post # 6
Just like all Unitarians are different, all Unitarian churches are different. You will definitely have to ask locally what they SPECIFICALLY expect.
In my (Unitarian Universalist) church growing up, I’m pretty sure they only married members or “regulars” who they knew. Some are much more flexible (like rent-a-preachers — they’d marry anyone) and some are less (members only!).
Lots of people hear that Unitarians are open-minded and decide to get married by a minister and never show up in the church again, so I sort of understand it. (And it’s not like becoming members requires you to go to church weekly or donate lots.)
Post # 7
@jmarvellous: Thanks! Yes, I wasn’t sure because I have heard that some churches vary. =) we have planned on joining the church eventually, however, we weren’t sure if we were going to before we were married or not or if it would be something we would wait on. I guess maybe this would be a good time to join then! Thanks!