Weddings & Funerals

Through Pastor Galler God joins together Tifaney Sweeden and J.D. Sampson on their wedding day, March 20, 2013.

Through Pastor Galler God joins together Tifaney Sweeden and J.D. Sampson on their wedding day, March 20, 2013.

Although not usually regarded by Lutherans to be sacramental actions, weddings and funerals are nevertheless important milestones in the lives of Christian and non-Christian families alike. As you would expect, Pilgrim and her pastor conduct both weddings and funerals.

The willing and deliberate desire for a man and woman to live inseparably in mutual love was given to them by their Creator (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:4-6), Who intends for them to be living examples of the communion that all people individually and together share in God through Christ Jesus (Ephesians 5:22-33). While marriages may be performed by civil authorities, such ceremonies do not speak the Lord’s blessing or seek His grace and aid for a holy marriage and home. A church wedding is a worship service in which liturgy and hymns are sung, consent is given, vows are made, petitions are prayed, and a blessing is given. Sacred music alone is appropriate to be a part of such a service in God’s House. The bride and groom usually plan the service together with the pastor as part of his premarital catechesis, or instruction, which, depending on the length of the sessions, runs a number of weeks well before the wedding date.

Pastor Galler conducts part of the Funeral Service for Wayne Miller on December 9, 2017. Photo: Barbara Wuthrich.

While death is a consequence of humankind’s fall into sin (Genesis 3:19; Romans 5:12), Jesus meets death and grief head on (Luke 7:11-17; Mark 5:35-43; John 11:1-44) and transforms it by His own death, burial, and resurrection, thus giving believers life. So we can say, “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord!” (Revelation 14:13). The Christian funeral witnesses to the professed faith of the deceased in the resurrection and eternal life and ministers to his or her survivors. If the deceased and the pastor have not planned the service in advance, the survivors and the pastor ideally work together as soon as possible after the death before any other arrangements are made. The pastor’s presence at the bedside, funeral home, church service, and graveside can all be blessings. The following documents may be helpful.

Having weddings and funerals in the Church is a privilege reserved for members, although Pilgrim’s pastor is willing to consider officiating for nonmembers in other settings, depending on the circumstances. To discuss a member or nonmember wedding or funeral, feel free to contact him using the information on the right.