GS 1986 art 92


Re Article 63, Church Order

Committee 3 presents:


–  Agenda VIII, F. 7 Letter from br. A. Bergsma, Carman, MB.


  • 1.     Br. A. Bergsma requests that the last paragraph of Article 63 of the Church Order be revised as follows:
    • “The solemnization of a marriage shall take place in a worship service.”
    • He recommends hereby the elimination of the option to solemnize a marriage in a private ceremony.
  • 2.     He adduces the following grounds:
    • a.     No previous general synod has properly dealt with this matter.
    • b.     Although the Scriptures do not command the solemnization of a marriage in a worship service, we would however act in accordance with the Holy Scripture when we do so, since God placed marriage in the framework of the covenant with His people.
    • c.     There is no reason to exclude the congregation when two members marry.
    • d.     The Form for the Solemnization of Marriage involves the consistory and congregation.
    • e.     It is difficult to use the form in a private ceremony since changes are easily made.
    • f.     The solemnization of marriages in a worship service makes it easier to avoid Roman-like superstition and it assures proper supervision of the churches.


  • 1.    Synod Homewood dealt with this matter, deciding that the maintaining of Arti­cle 70 of the Church Order (old version) “shall be to the discretion of the church­es” (Acts, Art. 74).
  • 2.     Grounds for this decision were :
    • a.     It cannot be proven from the Word of God that it is proper … that the matrimonial state be confirmed in the presence of Christ’s Church.
    • b.     Ministers have the possibility of solemnizing marriages of members of the congregation, calling upon the Name of the Lord.
  • 3.     No church has appealed this decision to a general synod or requested to have it revised. Consequently, there was no reason for previous general synods to deal with this matter.
  • 4.     In harmony with the decision of Homewood 1954, Synod Cloverdale 1983 adopt­ing a revised Church Order, has incorporated the option that the solemnization of a marriage may take place either in a private ceremony or a public worship service.
  • 5.     Although it is correct that marriage and the “covenant of God with His people” are related and that the consistory and the congregation are involved when two members marry (Art. 63, C.O., and Form), this does not prove that the solem­nization of a marriage must take place in a public worship service.
  • 6.     Also, when a marriage is solemnized in a private ceremony after proper an­nouncements, the congregation is not excluded but encouraged to attend such a solemnization.
  • 7.     When consistories diligently maintain all the stipulations of Article 63 of the Church Order, “superstition” will be avoided and the adopted form will be used as it is.


Synod decide:

  • To deny the request.

A motion to vote is ADOPTED.

The recommendation is ADOPTED.