The Church of the Cross affirms the historic position of the Christian Church: that God has ordained two states of life for His people, singleness or Holy Matrimony – the joining together of one man and one woman into a holy union. By affirming this position, we stand firmly under the authority of Holy Scripture, in continuity with the two thousand year history of the church, and in accord with the vast majority of Christians around the world. While the government may have changed the civil definition of marriage, we believe it has no authority over Holy Matrimony and the Church’s blessing of the union between husband and wife. So as to erase any potential for misunderstanding of this parish’s stance, clergy serving on the staff of The Church of the Cross do not function as civil officials in signing state-issued marriage licenses. The sacrament of Holy Matrimony and the Church’s blessing of the union between one man and one woman will, therefore, be offered at the Rector’s sole discretion only to those who affirm by word, deed and signature the parish’s position on this matter and who have previously been married in a civil ceremony. Additionally, either the husband or the wife must have been an active member of The Church of the Cross for at least one year. Those desiring this sacrament must complete and return an application form, meet with the Rector and conclude premarital counseling before the proposed date for the sacrament is set and announced. Children or grandchildren of active members of The Church of the Cross may also have their civil marriages blessed with the following provisions: 1) they must be active members of a Christian congregation where they reside which affirms the position held by this parish on Holy Matrimony; 2) they must receive Biblically-based premarital counseling from their home priest/pastor; and 3) the Rector must receive a letter from their priest/pastor indicating that counseling has been completed and that he/she recommends the administering of the sacrament of Holy Matrimony and the Church’s blessing of the union between the husband and wife. A minimum of three months is required between the initial application and intended date of the service. Civil marriages may not be conducted on property owned or leased by The Church of the Cross.
Regarding previous marriages: the Bible envisions Holy Matrimony as the life long, exclusive union of one man and one woman. While Christians, like others, experience failure in realizing this vision, it is nevertheless the standard we profess and toward which we strive. That said, we believe that marriage, like all areas of life, can be redeemed, and that by God’s grace all married people can be enabled to live into its unique calling. If either the husband or the wife is in a second marriage, permission must be obtained from the Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina before the parish can move toward blessing their union. A specific application exists for obtaining this permission; the Bishop reserves up to thirty days in which to reply to an application for a second marriage. It should be noted that one full year must have elapsed between the date of a final decree from a previous marriage and the date of the proposed blessing. Clergy in the Diocese of South Carolina do not consider blessing third marriages until a full year has elapsed. All of the provisions outlined above for those initially entering into Holy Matrimony are applicable for those seeking the Church’s blessing on a subsequent marriage.