The Book of Common Prayer (BCP) states, “Christian Marriage is a solemn and public covenant between a man and a woman in the presence of God. In the Episcopal Church it is required that one, at least, of the parties must be a baptized Christian; that the ceremony be attested by at least two witnesses; and that the marriage conform to the laws of the State and the canons of this Church” (BCP p. 424). The celebration and blessing of your marriage is a Sacramental Rite in the life of the church, “in which a woman and man enter into a life-long union, make their vows before God and the Church, and receive the grace and blessing of God and to help them fulfill their vows” (BCP, p. 861). We trust that you have prayerfully considered entering into this holy union and we look forward to the possibility of sharing the joy of such an occasion with you!
Remarriage after divorce is permitted in the Episcopal Church only after such a request has been made by the priest and approval granted by the Bishop. All previous divorces must have been final for at least one year before a petition for remarriage can be made.
As an Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Virginia and with the understanding that Holy Matrimony is a Sacramental Rite of the Church, Christ Church is not a wedding chapel that is rented. In order to be married at Christ Church, we require that you have some relationship to our church, to another Christ Church parishioner or to the Episcopal Church. We believe that the covenant of marriage is strengthened by a commitment to active involvement in the life of our parish and Christ Church. As such, we want to get to know you before and after your wedding, and we hope you will become part of our parish family. Please let us know your future plans for involvement in Cunningham Parish, and then we will be happy to send you a copy of our wedding guidelines.
Being married in the Episcopal Church means following the marriage liturgy found in The Book of Common Prayer
or you may view and/or download an extract of the marriage liturgy available here
Premarital counseling sessions are required by the Canons of the Episcopal Church for anyone desiring to be married in the Episcopal Church. This usually requires three to six sessions with the priest who will be the Celebrant (or another priest or licensed premarital counselor approved by the Celebrant). In the case of remarriage after divorce, more counseling is required, both with a licensed counselor and the parish priest, before the priest can petition the Bishop to grant permission for remarriage.
Unless there is a need for a special exception, marriages are not scheduled for New Year’s Eve or Day, Ash Wednesday, any time during Holy Week, Easter Day, Thanksgiving Day or weekend, Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. In addition there may be scheduled activities at Christ Church that will take precedence.
By Episcopal Church canon law, it is within the discretion of any clergy of this church to decline to solemnize any marriage (Canon 17, Sec.4).
Please note that Christ Church has a seating capacity of 200 people in the main part of the nave. A small balcony offers some additional seating. Old Chapel seats approximately 100 people. Please note that Old Chapel is a historic chapel and has no electricity or heat and no restrooms. Weddings at Old Chapel have extra regulations and costs associated with this historic building.
If you would like more information, including a copy of our complete wedding guidelines and fee schedule, please contact the Christ Church office, either by phone at 540.837.1112 or via email. or by completing our wedding information request form below. We would be pleased to answer any questions that you may have.