St. John Lutheran Church (LCMS) - Chester, IL
The marriage policy of St. John Lutheran Church, Chester, Illinois, a member congregation of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, is and always has been consistent with the Synod's beliefs on marriage. We believe that marriage is a sacred union of one man and one woman (Gen. 2:24-25), and that God gave marriage as a picture of the relationship between Christ and His bride the Church (Eph. 5:32).
We Believe that God has ordained marriage as the proper and only God-pleasing way to establish a household. Further, the relationship of a husband and wife after a public proclamation and vow through the wedding ceremony is the only God-pleasing way that men and women engage in a sexual relationship prior to marriage. When this occurs (in the form of cohabitation / "living together" or other forms) it must be addressed as sin and sincere contrition, repentance, absolution and a new pre-marital abstinence must be established before marriage is approved (Ephesians 5:3; John 20:21-23; Galatians 6:1; Luke 8:8; John 8:9-11).
In caes of remarriage after divorce, thorough pastoral care should precede marriage and calling upon God's Word and Spirit great love, wisdom and discernment used in determining whether a church wedding is appropriate (Matthew 19:19, 1 Cor. 7:1ff).
Furthermore, the official position of The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, as set forth in 1998 Res. 3-21 ("To Affirm the Sanctity of Marriage and to Reject Same-Sex Unions"), is that homosexual unions come under categorical prohibition in the Old and New Testaments as contrary to the Creator's design and desire for human beings (Lev. 18:22, 24; 20:13; 1 Cor. 6:9-10; 1 Tim. 1:9-10; Rom. 1:26-27). These positions and beliefs can be found on the LCMS website, along with other statements, papers and reports on this subject of homosexuality and same-sex civil unions and "marriage."
Lastly, we ask that both members of the wedding party confess to be Christians and that at least one of them be a member in good standing of a Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod congregation.
Therefore, under normal circumstances only current pastors of St. John are to officiate weddings at St. John. Exceptions occur only at the invitation of St. John's pastor(s). Further, our pastor(s) will only officiate over any weddings that are consistent with these beliefs, and our church property may only be used for any marriage ceremony, reception or other activity that is consistent with our beliefs and this policy.