Practicing Discernment: Faith Evangelical Free in Dallas, Oregon’s Wedding Information

This is a discernment exercise. This is the wedding information webpage for Faith Evangelical Free in Dallas, Oregon. This is an opportunity for you to dissect and analyze this web page. What issues or problems do you see in this web page?

“Finding good players is easy. Getting them to play as a team is another story.”

Casey Stengel

“I can’t afford to be a member of a golf course.”

Jack Abramoff

Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true

Acts 17:11 NIV

Dallas is a town in Oregon about 15 miles west of Salem. It has a population of about 15,000 people. Faith Evangelical Free Church has an interim pastor, so they must be looking for a new Senior Pastor. Currently Dennis Beatty is leading the church it appears.  This post is a discernment exercise. I want you to study and look at this wedding information page from Faith Evangelical Free and discuss this below. There is a lot of meat in this here to consider. Ask yourself a lot of questions such as the following. Would you want to have your son or daughter get married here?  Would you want to get involved in this church? Is this an Evangelical Free or a Baptist Church? (Cough, cough, cough….pay attention to the dancing restrictions!) I will weigh in on this after a couple of days and I look forward to seeing what you have to say. Be Bereans! Pick this wedding statement apart! Have a great day guys!


 

This is some general information regarding weddings at Faith Evangelical Free Church.  For more specfics or any questions please contact the church office at 503.623.8034.

CHURCH ETIQUETTE

We ask that you instruct your ushers to remind your guests that there is to be no smoking or drinking of alcoholic beverages within the building or on the church grounds.  We also prohibit the serving of alcoholic beverages at the reception and we ask that you do not use rice but bird seed, rose petals or potpourri instead.  The old tradition of rice raining on the new couple is very exciting and you are welcome to include it in your wedding schedule, but please use one of the alternatives and instruct your guests to throw it outside of the building as it is difficult to vacuum from the carpeting.  Our church has chosen to refrain from the practice of dancing on the church premises and so we ask that you not plan on dancing at the church.

RESERVATIONS

Arrangements for the use of the church facilities should be made at least 4 months in advance through the Office Administrator who handles the master calendar for all church activities (623-8034).   It should be specified at this time whether a reception is to be held at the church and the date and time of the wedding rehearsal.  In most cases, it will be best to schedule a rehearsal the evening before the wedding.  There is no extra room charge for using the fellowship hall for the rehearsal dinner.  NOTE: Saturday weddings must start no later than 3:00 p.m.

PREMARITAL COUNSELING

We are very anxious that homes established through the ministry of our church and Pastor/s be successfully Christian.  Therefore, premarital counseling by a minister of our Church or another minister of like faith is a prerequisite for weddings performed at our church.  The purpose of premarital counseling is to assess the couples’ readiness for marriage and to prepare them for a successful new life together.  In order to help assure the success of the marriage, the Pastoral Staff has adopted the following policy:

1. They will not perform a wedding that they are not in counseling with the couple at least 4 months in advance of the wedding.

2. They will not commit to do the wedding until after the third session with the couple.

3. They will not perform a wedding between a believer and an unbeliever.

4. They must be assured of the couples’ biblical understanding and commitment to the covenant of marriage.

5. They must have approval from the Discipleship Team before they perform any wedding at the church.  This approval will be granted after the couple has met with the Discipleship Team and their readiness for marriage has been determined.  This meeting must occur a minimum of 60 days before the wedding.  It is the responsibility of the couple to make an appointment with the Elder of Discipleship.

6. The couple must be involved in Worship attendance of a local church during the premarital counseling period.

Appointments for counseling may be made by phoning the Pastor’s secretary.        (503-623-8034). There is a fee for counseling materials.

WEDDING COORDINATOR

The church requires a wedding coordinator from within our church to help you with your wedding.  She may be anyone you choose from within the church family but she must be approved by the Pastor performing the wedding.  She will need to meet with you at least 1 month prior to the wedding date during which time she will help you complete your wedding plans so your wedding will be beautiful, and tension free.  She will require that at the first conference you have a rough draft of your order of service, that you have your attendants contacted, and that you bring information concerning all aspects of your wedding plans.  She will be present at the rehearsal, the wedding, and the reception (if held at the church) to see that all goes well.  An honorarium for the Wedding Coordinator would be appropriate.

9 thoughts on “Practicing Discernment: Faith Evangelical Free in Dallas, Oregon’s Wedding Information

    • What is the problem with dancing? Didn’t David dance? The Evangelical Free state that they are different from the Baptist. When I saw that on the webpage for Faith Evangelical Free I wanted to ask…how?

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  1. There are good sound reasons to go through some pre-marital counselling (often too much focus is on the wedding & not the *marriage*), and every church needs to have some guidelines & is entitled to put procedures in place… but…

    This is legalism gone amok.

    I’m sure there are some good reasons that some of these “hyper-restrictions” have been put in place. All it takes is one… for instance, every sign you see in Disney world that says, “Don’t …” has been put up because somebody “did”. It’s also why legal contracts are a mile long now, because if some situation happened once, all future contracts need to have language to account for that contingency.

    Again, legalism gone amok.

    And there is freedom in Christ, so if a given church as a church body has decided as a congregation to ban dancing & alcohol, that’s their prerogative, though…

    …this is legalism gone amok.

    I would sincerely hope that if a couple chooses to have their reception at another venue outside the church, that the church isn’t attempting to put restrictions on what goes on outside the church. It seems ambiguous as to whether that’s the case. I’m fine with unambiguous policies in place for a reception that is held at the church. If they’re requiring that the reception be held at the church (it seem ambiguous), that would be…

    …legalism & control issues gone amok.

    As an aside:
    I’m very surprised to see no rules or restrictions regarding video cameras, or it that somewhere else not on that page? Because I’ve been at weddings where it seemed to be a show performed for the cameras. You had the wedding party, surrounded by a lighting & camera crew (haven’t they figured out what a zoom lens is?), which blocks the view of the parishioners & occasionally even directly interferes with the service itself. Anyway…

    Marriage is a sacred vow that should not be entered into lightly. And being “unequally-yoked” — while it isn’t outright banned — is highly discouraged in the New Testament. Also, the Old Testament is rife with admonitions against marrying outside the faith, and of examples of how doing so led to the downfall of leaders & tribes & whole societies. So I respect any church that chooses to take a stance on that aspect, though of course, anyone is free to simply get married elsewhere if they wish.

    While it sounds as if the requirement for a “wedding coordinator” is designed to help the service go well & be helpful to the couple, the various requirements about dates (ONE MONTH PRIOR) seem to be…

    …legalism gone amok. Though I’ll allow that it’s probably that some of these hyper-legal restrictions are in place due to past experience…

    The “discipleship team” approval requirements make me ill. It reeks of a controlling leadership. The 60-day requirement is risible. Run from that. Fast.

    It is my understanding the Catholic churches have long had many requirements in place in order for a couple to be married in their churches. I respect that. I also respect what this church is attempting to do, especially as marriage is a sacred vow…

    …but I’d personally run fast & far from such a place as this, as there is little grace there.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. On their “Worship Ministry Core Values” was # 7.
    “Ownership/Membership: We are committed to the leadership, vision, mission, values and strategies of Faith Evangelical Free Church and the Worship Ministry.”

    I been around the block a few times, held many positions of responsibility, but never felt compelled to tell people they should be “committed to the leadership” let alone put it in writing. This speaks of someone worried about control, those involved need to be discerning,

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Eagle, I read through that stuff, and it made me very, very glad that my husband and I did not get married in that congregation.

    1. I would definitely advise our daughter to choose a different locale if she were of age and were engaged. Even a public one with a JP would seem a better option to me.

    2. I would not care to involve myself in a church like this. Too restrictive for me personally.

    3. Which “Baptist” denomination are you talking about? Keep reading — you’ll see what I mean.

    The church imposes some understandable restrictions based on Scripture; but they add a lot of requirements and restrictions that are NOT from the Bible.

    I mean good grief, a church wedding coordinator is REQUIRED?!

    Dancing is prohibited?

    That sounds so restrictive…. and boring.

    The prohibition on dancing and the Baptists: Look, I’m an alumna of Baylor University, a Baptist school (probably BGCT / Texas Baptists). Even THEY started having school dances when I was a freshman (freshman orientation, aka “Welcome Week”, August 1999). I know, because I was THERE. (Baylor’s a bit moderate — one of the reasons I chose Baylor over Liberty.) I get that that may be a more recent change and that harder-line Baptists might object; but apparently not all Baptists are necessarily opposed to dancing. With the opposite sex, even. Just FYI.

    The wedding coordinator thing: Well, my sister was mine. She said that I was the opposite of a “Bridezilla” — just sort-of a “laissez-faire”, “go with the flow” type of bride. I was in grad school taking classes up to about two days before my wedding. Last thing I needed would have been a lady I didn’t know from a controlling church dumping stress on me because I didn’t have my ducks in a row for church requirements for the ceremony or reception.

    No bride should be controlled or should have stress dumped on her from the expectations of other people: not from her mama, not from her soon-to-be mother-in-law, not from her wedding coordinator, not from anyone. Same for the groom. It’s the couple’s day. They should call the shots.

    And y’know what? My husband’s and my wedding was a beautiful outdoor wedding. Around 70 degrees in July in Northern VA at a public park that had a free, public wedding garden, with a gorgeous sunset that evening as a backdrop for the reception. (God helped us out big time that day, and I am grateful!) The venue was cheap, no hassle to reserve, and pretty much anyone can rent it. Heck, I can go back for free and visit almost any time! It’s great! =D

    Now, as for premarital counseling before the wedding: yeah, we went through that with our church. I think it can help sometimes, depending on how it is done. (Some versions are terrible and leave the engaged in a world of hurt because of the stuff they should have covered but didn’t, or didn’t cover well enough.) There are definitely things our premarital counseling didn’t cover all that well, like finances — which can be huge for some couples. And as for planning the counseling…. look, there’s no need for hard-and-fast “this must be done by X time before the wedding” rules, so long as you get through the material before the wedding. I think it’s a good idea in theory, and I can understand why churches would require it. Honestly, better safe than sorry, I figure.

    Other than that, I don’t get the “no rice” thing. That just seems kinda restrictive to me — like church members are thinking more of themselves (in cleaning up) than others (those enjoying the festivities).

    My $0.02, fwiw.

    Liked by 1 person

    • “Other than that, I don’t get the “no rice” thing. That just seems kinda restrictive to me — like church members are thinking more of themselves (in cleaning up) than others (those enjoying the festivities).”

      The concern has been around for decades, I remember it even back in the 70’s when my wife and I tied the knot. I’ve swept a few parking lots in my time and I can imagine cleaning up rice strewn across a paved lot would be a nightmare to clean up and if on wet pavement would make a bigger mess. Substituting bird seed is a reasonable request and the birds do the cleanup. I just wish they could delete some of the other restrictions and phrase the remainder so they didn’t sound like a cold impersonal institution.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The only point I agree with is that the marriage must be between two Christians. The other all seems to be man made rules. Like restrictions on wines and dancing. And what’s up with all these time restrictions? Where in the bible did it say it must be this many months?

    Also there are too many people that needs to be involved and “approve” this marriage. First the pastor need to approve. Then the Discipleship Team need to approve. And the Wedding Coordinator needs to approve how the wedding day goes. If at any point anyone involved says “no” then the whole wedding is off.

    To me it just sounds like it isn’t about helping the couple to have a good solid marriage. It is about nick picking everything to try to discourage the couple from even marrying. And they aim to micro control everything. Does the couple really want to be put under this kind of microscope?

    Also I read that whole page and NOT EVEN ONCE did they mention how HAPPY the church is to hear that this couple plans to be united into one fresh in marriage under God. It is filled with “I don’t trust you. I don’t trust you. I don’t trust you.” Did I mention that I don’t trust you? Why would any couple want to be in a church that isn’t even happy for their marriage (or at least portray that way)? Certainly they doesn’t sound optimistic.

    BTW I know of a church that won’t let non-members get married at all in their church. Both person must be full members of that church. So if one of the partners is a Christian from the different church they are out of luck.

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