Marriages and Funerals in the A.M.E. Church : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

After coming from a Steward Board meeting tonight, I felt a little confused about a question that was posed to us by our pastor. We were asked if we thought non-members should be able to get married and have funerals in our church. I have mixed feelings about this subject. The scriptures say that is is better to marry than to burn but there is no mention of where a person should or should not marry. On the other hand, why should a person who does not worship or contribute to the upkeep of the church, expect to get married there. The same holds true for funerals. However, would we be judgmental of those who are not members that want to use our church for these services if we do not allow them. This acceptance may cause them to come back and become members (The newlyweds and the family members of the deceased), if they dont have a church home. A Presiding Elder once told us at a Quarterly Conference that we should not turn away the dead. I have searched the scriptures and the A.M.E. Discipline for answers to no avail. The Discipline speaks about our members marrying non-members only. What are our standards or beliefs on the subject? Also it seems to make a difference if a good and regular standing member has a family member who is not a member that wishes to get married or eulogized in the church. Should this make a difference? Please clear up my confusion.

Sis. Marcella E. Quint, Steward Boonville, Mo. NW Mo. Conference-KC North District

-- Anonymous, March 20, 2001


I admit that this will sound harsh but it is how I feel. Make them pay. I think non-members should be allowed to use our churches for cermonies but they should also pay a fee. Members of a church contribute to the upkeep and call that church a home. Outsiders using the church should be charged a fee as if they were renting any other building. Any less cheapens the value of our facilities. Members should by contrast be allowed to use the buiklding free of charge. After all membership does have its priveleges.

-- Anonymous, March 21, 2001

I agree with the previous comment. At our church, because this happens so frequently, we are in the process of establishing a policy that non-members pay a fee of $200.00 for the use of the church sanctuary, and Fellowship Hall if needed. Personally, I feel the amount is too small, it should be more, but I was outnumbered when we Trustees were coming up with the policy. This whole senario can become pretty difficult to deal with, such as even for members, the task of determining if they are "in good and regular standing", or how far in a "members" family does this privilege extend? There really has to be some thought and sensitivity put into what ever you decide to do. Stay in touch with me and I will let you know what the final product says that we come up with. Another interesting thing that we have noticed where I live, it seems the other denominations turn non-members down in their time of need and as a last resort they come to the AME church. We desparately need an established way that all AME's abide by.

-- Anonymous, March 22, 2001

Well in our church my minister beginning to charge for weddings for non-members because they are burning lights, electric etc. and exspecially if they want to have the reception there....the board of trustees should get together alone with the pastor and come up with a price list..

-- Anonymous, June 02, 2001

Having served on the Board of Trustees, I would question why money is always an issue--especially if those persons involved are believers and have received appropriate counseling as to the gravity of the sacred rite being performed. I simply feel it is our bounden duty to "Go into all the world." In fact I know of at least two instances where persons attending funerals returned to regular worship because the Word went forth. Christianity is a lifestyle not just simply a religion.

-- Anonymous, June 03, 2001

We see these events as opportunities. We allow Christian marriages and funerals of non-members as long as one of our staff ministers participates. The purpose of this is to make sure that nothing is done that would dishonor God and/or discredit the AME Church. You can do some serious evangelizing at these events because you may have some there who hasn't been to church since the last funeral/wedd9ing.


Pastor Paris

-- Anonymous, June 05, 2001

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