Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Ministerial Ceremony protocol

UU Ministers have a covenant with each other, as do ministers of many other denominations, to honor the relationships that others have with them and with their churches. So if someone calls me to say that they belong to the such and such church and can I do their wedding (actually, this most often happens with memorial services, in my experience), I tell them I'll think about it and I call the minister of that church. The reason for the request is often some past hurt or strain between the deceased or the deceased's family and the minister. Often the minister is relieved not to have to do that memorial service. However a memorial service is not really a private affair, and most ministers consider a memorial service of a member a ministry, not only to the grieving family, but to their grieving church. This creates a situation in whcih the best solution, in my experience, is for the two ministers to work together on the memoiral service, with the "host" minister welcoming the congregation and doing the "grief work" part of the service, and the "guest" minister doing eulogy and other personal parts of the service.

All of these arrangements are a part of ministerial protocol and covenants with fellow ministers.

The new issue on the ministerial block is the increasing number of free lance "ministers" around, who usually have little training, have had no vetting or substantive certification, and are accountable to no one. They mostly don't know anything about these protocols. My limited experiences with two such persons, both friends of deceased church members with whom I agreed to share a service, were quite negative, so I don't agree to that without careful planning any more.


Chalicechick said...

Life is even weirder when it is across faiths, of course.

Intense negotiations with my mother ended my wedding up in a Presby church but performed by a UU.

Making that happen with the Presby minister was really unpleasant.


Christine Robinson said...

The fact that so many UU's have had unpleasant experiences of exclusion like this is one of the reasons that the UU Leader's conversation is heavy with comments like, "Why can't we just let them (renters) do what they like?" But there's a line somewhere between between stubborn intolerance and enforcing prudent boundaries.

Chalicechick said...

I acted as a go-between for the Presbyterian minister and the UU minister whom I was flying in to minimize the impact of the Presby's bitchiness on my friend.

He wasn't going to allow it at all until I sweetly suggested that I could bring his predecessor (who was a very controversial person in that church) back instead. Then he sort of folded.

We didn't serve alcohol at the reception as per rules that are usually bent for Presbyterian weddings but were in place for us.

We invited TONS of members of the church, including the entire choir.
And we donated the (Saturday night) wedding dinner leftovers to the church's Sunday lunch for the homeless.

So we did our best to be respectful renters, as much as the term "renters" chafed at me.

who never gets tired of talking about her wedding.

boyinthebands said...

ChaliceChick -- Knowing you and the Presbyterian minister in question, I don't think you do your case any justice by admitting that you trianguled him into compliance.

Indeed, that's the kind of behavior that iron-clad policies are made from.

Which makes me think to look -- the church's wedding policies were updated June 18, 2003. I think you were married after that. The rules allow for a minister of the same Presbyterian denomination to officiate, but makes do provision for ministers of another denomination.