Author Topic: s/o Wedding evangelizing - Forewarning of wedding service content?  (Read 10051 times)

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Katana_Geldar

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Re: s/o Wedding evangelizing - Forewarning of wedding service content?
« Reply #30 on: October 09, 2013, 04:26:45 AM »
Unless it was particularly offensive (and that would say something about the HC to begin with IMHO) then I wouldn't leave. DH and I are attending a church wedding with some friends and I don't mind spending an hour or so sitting in a church, there worse things to so with my time.

padua

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Re: s/o Wedding evangelizing - Forewarning of wedding service content?
« Reply #31 on: October 09, 2013, 04:43:41 AM »
i don't think a wedding is the time to make a stand for personal beliefs. chances are, the officiant is going to offend someone in the congregation/audience. the atheist could offend the christian, the buddhist could offend the agnostic. if i'm the one getting married, i'd be too jittery to consider that my friends who i asked to be there to support me during this important event were getting up and leaving because of something my officiant said. all i would notice is people getting up during my ceremony and leaving- no matter how discreetly. i don't even remember what was said during my ceremony. all i remember is looking out over the congregation and seeing the faces of people i cared about.

you can support the people who are getting married without endorsing what the officiant is saying just because you're in the audience.

Iris

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Re: s/o Wedding evangelizing - Forewarning of wedding service content?
« Reply #32 on: October 09, 2013, 04:46:35 AM »
I'm usually a very go-with-the-flow person. If someone vows to be submissive to their husband etc etc then that is their personal choice and I can just zone it out if it bothers me that much. One wedding I went to the priest went on and on (AND ON) about the importance of virginity in a bride (no mention of grooms  ::)) while I sat there with the full knowledge that those remarks didn't even apply to the bride, let alone me and probably half the women in the congregation. I said nothing and ignored it except for some sympathy pangs for the bride.

I walked out of a Christening once, though, when the priest decided that a Christening was a really good time to lambast all the sinners and talk all about how they're going to h*ll unless they can tick boxes A, B, and C. My daughter had recently lost a childhood friend (age 3  :'( ) whose family were not church goers and I just knew that I was either going to burst into tears or stand up and verbally attack him if I sat there for one more second listening to him. I left as discreetly as possible and rang another good friend outside the church who talked things through with me and even made me laugh with some of her plans for discreet revenge. That allowed me to put on my happy face for the lunch afterwards and I think in that situation leaving was the best option. Only one person noticed that I had left and they just assumed I hadn't felt well and enquired if I felt better now. I was able to truthfully say yes and that was the end of it.

On another note, a friend walked out of my wedding because of physical illness and I really didn't notice.
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LifeOnPluto

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Re: s/o Wedding evangelizing - Forewarning of wedding service content?
« Reply #33 on: October 09, 2013, 05:12:09 AM »
I just attended a wedding like this.

The pastor spent a good deal of the ceremony talking about the importance of the wife being submissive to the husband, and how this was the only sanctioned and happy type of marriage, and had the bride vow to do exactly that.  Now, the groom's family was part of a very conservative denomination where such sermons were expected and encouraged.  The bride's side (which I was on), not so much!  At one point my baby sister and I looked at each other with a raised eyebrow and the expression of "did he *really* just say that?".
 
However, neither the bride nor the groom personally believed in the whole "wife must be submissive" way of thinking, and had specifically requested that the pastor NOT include it in the ceremony.  The pastor either forgot or chose to ignore this request, figuring that neither of them would make a scene in the middle of it all (they didn't).

So, I don't think knowing the beliefs/expectations of a particular denomination would necessarily prepare an attendee for what to expect.

There's a story in the Archives about a Bride and Groom who specifically told their Minister (who was marrying them) to please omit the "obey" part from the Bride's vows, as neither party were comfortable with it.

Unfortunately, the Minister deliberately disregarded that, and during the vows, said the words "love, honour, AND OBEY". I recall the LW (the Bride) was so taken aback and didn't want to cause a huge scene, so she just went along and vowed to obey.

I hope that if that ever happened to me, I'd have the courage to speak up and say "I'm sorry, that's not what we agreed". But I totally understand why the Bride didn't - in the middle of your own ceremony and everything!


English1

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Re: s/o Wedding evangelizing - Forewarning of wedding service content?
« Reply #34 on: October 09, 2013, 07:40:38 AM »
I accept that other people have different views to me and it doesn't bother me to listen to them for a bit, so I don't walk out. Just being present at a wedding where they are spoken doesn't, to me, mean that anyone listening necessarily agrees or approves, and I don't see it as giving it any sort of personal stamp of approval. Presumably those who attend the church regularly agree, but that's not the same thing.

I think plenty of couples get surprised by the sermon at their weddings. If it's something offensive or contraversial, this reflects badly on the Pastor/church, not the couple. A wedding is no time for the church to get on its soapbox. It's meant to be a legal ceremony marrying two people, and a celebration of that, full stop. Anything else is irrelevant hot air and I ignore it.

Had an interesting one at one of my brothers' weddings. His wife is religious. He is not (very much not). so they had a civil wedding followed by a church blessing to keep her happy. The vicar decided this would be a great time to talk about how he hoped my brother would change his views and come into the fold, lecture, lecture, lecture....cue much steam exiting my brother's ears and actual laughter in the congregation at the audacity/rudeness of the vicar.

I think it's dreadful of them to sneak 'obey' or 'submit' into the vows when the couple don't want them. I can understand the poor bride just going along with it at the time as her head must have been spinning, but ideally she would have just repeated the vows back without those parts and given the vicar a 'go on then, I dare you' look to stop him getting her to repeat the full version.

« Last Edit: October 09, 2013, 07:42:48 AM by English1 »

Sharnita

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Re: s/o Wedding evangelizing - Forewarning of wedding service content?
« Reply #35 on: October 09, 2013, 08:02:41 AM »
When these people told the pastors what to say or what not to say in various examples, did the pastors agree or were orders given with the assumption they'd be followed? I can certainly understand being more comfortable with A and without B but handing a pastor or priest a script with orders as opposed to discussion seems really disrespectful.

flickan

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Re: s/o Wedding evangelizing - Forewarning of wedding service content?
« Reply #36 on: October 09, 2013, 08:18:26 AM »
When these people told the pastors what to say or what not to say in various examples, did the pastors agree or were orders given with the assumption they'd be followed? I can certainly understand being more comfortable with A and without B but handing a pastor or priest a script with orders as opposed to discussion seems really disrespectful.

I agree it would be disrespectful to hand a pastor a script.  What we did was we talked with him about what vows we wanted to give, "traditional but not gender specific in regards to roles", left the content of the sermon up to him, but explained to him that we had been to other weddings where the officiants made a point of speaking specifically to certain hot button issues about marriage and we did not want that in our sermon.  We didn't say, "Oh we don't agree with this, please don't say this."  It's not our place to tell him that, after all, especially as his church holds certain opinions on those issues and that's not our business.

What we said was, "We want to make sure all our friends are comfortable," and went on to explain that we would have gay and lesbian friends both in attendance and standing in the ceremony with us.  Thankfully for us he seemed taken aback to hear that other officiants had used the wedding sermon as a place to offer such opinions.

My view is, as a guest it's my job to sit silently through the ceremony and just ignore the parts I don't agree with.  I'm an adult, I can hear things I don't agree with and keep my cool.  But as the bride I had to know that the people I loved wouldn't have the joy of that day tarnished by unnecessary comments.  My friends know who I am and what I believe in. and they respect that I belong to a faith that is traditionally in opposition to their viewpoints.  But a religious ceremony doesn't need to turn into a soapbox tirade.  There's no reason friends and family of all faiths and beliefs shouldn't be able to attend. 

violinp

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Re: s/o Wedding evangelizing - Forewarning of wedding service content?
« Reply #37 on: October 09, 2013, 08:30:28 AM »
If my church's pastor were officiating my potential wedding, the only thing I'd warn people of is that the sermon will probably be a history lesson in some way and end up going through his home state in the process, because that's how a goodly chunk of his sermons are. :P I feel very fortunate that I am part of a fairly welcoming and accepting church, and have a minister who knows what's appropriate and not to include in a wedding service.
"It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but even more to stand up to your friends" - Harry Potter


Margo

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Re: s/o Wedding evangelizing - Forewarning of wedding service content?
« Reply #38 on: October 09, 2013, 08:58:38 AM »
I don' think being at, or remaining at, a service amounts to tacit approval of the contents of the sermon.

I rather liked one of he celebrants who used to do a lot of wedding s in the village I gew up in. (My family were involved in bellringing, so we would often arrive near the end of the wedding in order to ring for the couple as they came out of church.) He had his Wedding Sermon which he used every time. It was very useful, as it meant you could tell exactly how far through he was, and of course no nasty surprises.

In relation to warning people about the type of service, I think it is polite to let people kno, in broad terms, what to expect if they are in an unfamiliar setting. One of my cousins converted to Roman Catholicism so the ceremony was  Catholic one - at the beginng, when the priest welcomed everyone, he also explained that there would be a mass, that only catholics could take communion but that everyone was welcome to come up to the rail for a blessing, regardlesss of their faith.

I've also been to a wedding in a very evangelical church where the pastor mentioned at the start that thye normally hugged or kissed during the 'Peace' but that it was absolutely fine to shake hands instead if you preferred.

I think that as a general rule, the further from the mainstream the ceremony is, the more it is reasonable for the couple to ensure that people have some idea of what to expect - this could be a brief explanation by the celebrant at the start, or it could be information in with the invitation or the order of service

Lady Snowdon

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Re: s/o Wedding evangelizing - Forewarning of wedding service content?
« Reply #39 on: October 09, 2013, 09:03:13 AM »
When these people told the pastors what to say or what not to say in various examples, did the pastors agree or were orders given with the assumption they'd be followed? I can certainly understand being more comfortable with A and without B but handing a pastor or priest a script with orders as opposed to discussion seems really disrespectful.

When DH and I were married, we had our own specific vows that we wanted read, and we also had a specific reading that we wanted the pastor to incorporate somehow.  We gave everything to the pastor, and explained what we would like.  He agreed, and was happy to make the sermon and vows "personalized".  I guess it could sound like we gave him a script with orders, but it was much more of a "we'd really like to have this and this incorporated" type of conversation. 

Telling someone, especially a pastor, "You will not talk about this in your sermon" does sound disrespectful, but I can see how a couple might inadvertently slip into that, especially if they have some ideas that aren't normally part of their church's viewpoint.  I was raised a certain denomination of Christian, and that denomination traditionally has some ideas that I really don't agree with, which the pastor at my "home" church espoused.  Had I been married by that pastor, I probably would have said, "Please do not mention x or y in the sermon!" at some point in time. 

Sharnita

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Re: s/o Wedding evangelizing - Forewarning of wedding service content?
« Reply #40 on: October 09, 2013, 09:12:45 AM »
In your case it sounds like you did ask "Can you exchange our own vows" and "    We'd like to use these readings" and made sure he agreed. That seems like a respectful way to approach it. Disredpectful would be assuming he would agree because "You work for us".

I think that if you go to a traditional Green clergy and ask them to drop some basic Green theolovy, you are pushing your luck. It makes more sense to me to find a church or pastor that more closely fit your beliefs without editing.

z_squared82

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Re: s/o Wedding evangelizing - Forewarning of wedding service content?
« Reply #41 on: October 09, 2013, 09:21:05 AM »
Iím going with impossible to know. Example, two Catholic weddings.

At my best friendís sisterís wedding, the priest went on about the sin of living together before marriage. The bride (see, even the HC didnít know what was going to be said) was rather livid as many of her couple friends in the pews were ďliving in sinĒ, but maintained her cool for the ceremony. I do believe the priest got an earful later from the brideís mother (which would have been hilarious to listen to as this priest is kind of scared of women).

Conversely, at my brotherís wedding, the deacon gave a homily about love so moving that one of the atheists in the pews later said if he had been brought up with religion viewed as love like that, he might still go to church.

I vote, if it makes you uncomfortable, tune it out. Start making a mental grocery list. As a PP said, sitting in the pews does not equal tacit approval. If you really fear it will be offensive, sit near the back and take a bathroom break during the sermon.

jmarvellous

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Re: s/o Wedding evangelizing - Forewarning of wedding service content?
« Reply #42 on: October 09, 2013, 10:09:38 AM »
I agree that your presence doesn't indicate your approval of statements you couldn't know were going to be made prior to your attendance. I also think it'd be OK to send a letter afterward to the officiant letting them know you didn't approve of what was said, whether you're a guest, bride, etc. It's not really up to you at that point how it's received, and I kind of doubt you could change how they do weddings in general, but I don't think feedback is bad.

I was aware of pretty much every sentence in my wedding ceremony by the time we did our final run-through the week prior, and I wouldn't have it any other way. But in our religious tradition it's not customary for there to be a "sermon" in the ceremony. It's mostly readings, traditional vows and personal vows. I think our priest "ad libbed" about 3 lines, but they were very personal, relating to our relationship with him and our relationship with each other.

Twik

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Re: s/o Wedding evangelizing - Forewarning of wedding service content?
« Reply #43 on: October 09, 2013, 10:15:20 AM »
As others have pointed out, sometimes the officiant's remarks are a shock to the HC, not just the guests.

And as I mentioned earlier, you could get through the service with nothing objectionable, only to have Uncle Jim start giving the sermon he thinks *should* have been given, as soon as he gets his hands on the microphone at the reception.

In other words, there's no way to "vet" the text of the wedding before going in. You take your chances.

If you feel truly outraged, but don't want to make a scene by walking out in the middle of your friend's wedding, perhaps some skills at listener body language might come into play? Even that's not truly polite, but it is possible to send back to the speaker vibes of "you are not impressing me one bit with this." The Glare of Death can be ... disconcerting ... to a speaker receiving it.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2013, 10:18:44 AM by Twik »
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fountainof

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Re: s/o Wedding evangelizing - Forewarning of wedding service content?
« Reply #44 on: October 09, 2013, 10:27:38 AM »
My grandma became a JW later in life.  At her funeral, it was all about the religion and not about her at all as I guess the religion does not really eulogize.  It was really, really uncomfortable as the evangelizing was so in your face and very critical of people outside of the religion which were the bulk of the attendees as my relatives weren't raised JW.  Some statements were even what I would consider offensive.

I sat there and tried to tune it out and looked at the floor.  What could I do?  I think it would have been rude/disrespectful to get up and leave.  I think I would probably do the same at a wedding.  I would just sit and make no reaction at all.  I would try not judge my friend by the officiant if his/her actions seemed different from what was said as other posters have mentioned sometimes the HC doesn't know what is going to be said.  I know for my wedding I asked my parent's minister about the whole thing, what passages would be read, etc.