by John Wesley Slider
About a year ago as pastor I suggested to the church family of Breckenridge Chapel that we no longer allow our facility to be used for weddings for anyone except members of the congregation or other Free Methodist congregations. It was obvious to me where society was (and is) trending regarding marriage and the legal pressure that could be put upon the church if we opened our facility to be used as a "wedding chapel."
As the pastor I also announced that I would no longer perform any weddings for persons who are not a member of Breckenridge Chapel another Free Methodist Church.
The one exception to my performing weddings (but not the use of the chapel) is in the context of my service as chaplain of the St. Matthews Police Department. The SMPD chief and I have agreed that I would not be asked to perform any weddings that were inconsistent with the doctrine of the Free Methodist Church.
Here is the doctrine of the Free Methodist Church concerning marriage and weddings:
The Book of Discipline of the Free Methodist Church - ¶3311
The Christian and Marriage
A. Principles Regarding Marriage
Nature of Marriage: At creation God instituted marriage for the well being of humanity (Genesis 2:20-24; Mark 10:6-9). Marriage is the joining of one man and one woman into a lifelong relationship which the Scriptures call “one flesh.” Sexual intercourse is God’s gift to humanity, for the intimate union of a man and woman within marriage. In this relationship, it is to
be celebrative (Hebrews 13:4).
Marriage, between one man and one woman, is therefore the only proper setting for sexual intimacy. Scripture requires purity before and faithfulness within and following marriage. Likewise, it condemns all unnatural sexual behavior such as incestuous abuse, child molestation, homosexual activity and prostitution (1 Corinthians 6:9; Romans 12:6-27).
We hold that marriage can only be the union of “one man and one woman” who have made a public covenant and vow before God and the state (Genesis 2:20-24; Mark 10:6-9). Therefore, it would be a breach of the doctrine of our church for ministers or members of the Free Methodist Church to conduct the marriage or blessing of a union between a same-sex or "same gender" couple. In light of our beliefs, ministers and members of the Free Methodist Church shall not perform marriages or unions of same-sex or "same-gender" couples.
We hold that our congregations are stewards of the church property. Performing a marriage or blessing between a same-sex or "same-gender" couple in any Free Methodist Church building or on any Free Methodist property would be a violation of consecrated Free Methodist property. Therefore, such blessings or marriages may not be performed at Free Methodist churches or on Free Methodist properties.
Further, we believe that marriage the Free Methodist Church deems doctrinally acceptable, legal and appropriate should be safeguarded and supported by both the church and society and should be formalized with public vows. It is not enough for a couple to live together in private commitment; we believe that they are to covenant before God and