Holy Family’s Wedding Policy

Congratulations on your engagement! We wish you all the best.

If you would like to know more about getting married at Holy Family, please familiarize yourselves with our Wedding Policy below.

Marriage in the Church means marriage within the Christian community. A church wedding or the Blessing of a Civil Marriage is appropriate only for practicing Christians, and should be witnessed and celebrated within the worshipping community to which the couple have committed themselves. It is, then, our normal practice that only parishioners may be married at Holy Family. If you would like to establish a membership in the parish, please read this. Please note, at least one of you must be a baptized Christian at the time of the wedding.

Before a wedding date can be set, a couple must meet at least once with a priest. The Episcopal Church requires that the parish priest be consulted no fewer than 30 days in advance of the planned wedding date. In most cases, three months is a more realistic minimum, to allow time for planning and pre-marital counseling, and to work around scheduled parish events. Having an appointment with a Holy Family priest is not a guarantee that the wedding will take place. No invitations should be sent and no reservations should be made before the first consultation.

Holy Family requires a minimum of three sessions, each lasting about an hour. These sessions are designed to explore the relationship shared by the couple and the journey upon which they are about to embark––its history, its future, its spiritual dimension and intentions, and anticipated network of support.

The Episcopal Church permits the marriage of persons whose previous marriage has been terminated by annulment or divorce. In cases where one or both parties have marriages ending in
divorce or annulment, the priest is required to consult with the Bishop of the Diocese of North Carolina and obtain his consent to officiate. The marriage judgment request must be submitted to the Bishop no fewer than 30 days prior to the planned wedding date.

A marriage license must be obtained from the Vital Records Office of any county in the State of North Carolina. Both people must be present to apply for the license. For further information, you may call the Orange County offices in Hillsborough (919-967-9251). The license is effective for 60 days. It is to be given to the officiating priest prior to the rehearsal.

Only the authorized liturgies of The Episcopal Church may be used. Couples may not write their own vows or use additional symbols (i.e. unity candles) other than those permitted in The Book of Common Prayer.

The rehearsal usually takes place on the day before the wedding. It is conducted by the officiating priest and requires at least an hour to complete. All members of the wedding party are expected to participate, and should be told that the rehearsal will begin promptly at the scheduled time.

The marriage liturgy and rehearsal are normally conducted by the clergy of the Church of the Holy Family. Clergy of other parishes and denominations may participate with the permission of the Rector. Such requests are possible to consider only if made by the couple during one of their pre-marital sessions with the priest.

You must have at least two adult witnesses present for your wedding. Wedding parties in excess of 12 people are discouraged. The church can comfortably accommodate 250 people.

If you wish to have music for your wedding, it must be arranged with the parish organist. If the parish’s regular organist is unable to play for a particular wedding, the officiating priest will suggest a qualified substitute. The organist will play appropriate music before, during, and after the liturgy. Music that is secular or of a sentimental nature is not suitable for an Episcopal liturgy; the organist can help you select music.

The marriage liturgy is printed in the Prayer Book, but additional printed programs are sometimes used to guide visitors and identify the participants. Simple programs can be produced in the church office if requested at least a week before the wedding. If you wish to have more elaborate programs printed, you must submit the full text of the program to the officiating priest for approval before sending it to the printer.

Flowers must be arranged in consultation with the chairperson of the Flower Team. It is customary to leave the flowers on the altar for the following Sunday services, after which they are delivered to parishioners who are ill or homebound. In general, we do not permit additional decorations.

One, and only one, photographer may take photos during the liturgy from a discrete distance. No flash photography or lighted videography is permitted once the ceremony has begun.

The church’s Library (for groups of less than 50) and the Parish Hall (for groups of less than 200) may be reserved for wedding receptions. Arrangements may be made for caterers to use the church’s kitchen. Arrangements for a reception at Holy Family should be made through the church office; you should also discuss your reception with the priest before plans are finalized with a caterer. Wine and beer are permitted on the premises if you provide an equal number of attractive, non-alcoholic alternatives.

Fees are paid directly to members of the parish staff, usually during the week before the wedding. (See the staff list at the end of this policy, or consult the Parish Administrator for help in making out checks.)

The sexton’s fee for a wedding is $100.00. There is an added fee of $100.00 when a receptions is held at the Church of the Holy Family.

The organist’s fee of $250.00 includes one pre-wedding consultation and music for the wedding, including twenty minutes of organ just prior to the ceremony. This fee does not include rehearsal attendance. Requests for special music or working with additional musicians will require approval of the organist and will entail an additional fee of $50.00 per hour of preparation.

Holy Family clergy are not additionally compensated for the administration of the sacraments.

Building Use Fee
Under rare and certain circumstances, persons not of this parish may request to be married by the clergy of Holy Family. In addition to the above schedule of fees, a Building Use Fee of $350.00 is required. This fee is payable to the Church of the Holy Family.

Flat Saints: Dietrich Bonhoeffer

During our month of saints, we are hearing the stories of seven different saints from Scripture and tradition and learning about the saints in as many ways as possible. Check out some suggestions here. Come back all this month, for posts about our saints and remember to share what you and your family learn about the saints this month on Facebook with a photo of your flat saint out and about and #CHFSaints.

You can find all blog posts in this series at the following links: Mary Magdalene, Saint Luke the Evangelist, Clare and Francis of Assisi, Monica and Augustine, ideas of All Saints Saint potluck.


Dietrich Bonhoeffer (February 4, 1906—April 9, 1945)

Date remembered: April 9

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German pastor and theologian during the Second World War. He wrote many books that challenged the church in Germany and remain important to us now. All of his books focused on the person and work of Jesus Christ. When the activities of the church came under strict government control and Christians outside of the national church were limited in their ability to gather, Bonhoeffer ran an underground seminary that trained ministers. This seminary, called Finkenwalde, was eventually forced to close.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, 1939, Photographer unknown

We know a lot about Dietrich Bonhoeffer because he wrote quite a bit. His friend, Eberhard Bethge was the first to pen his biography. From what we know it is clear that Bonhoeffer was so resolved in his belief and trust in Christ, that Christ and cross were all that ultimately mattered. He died at the young age of 39 at the hands of the Nazis.

A timeline of Bonhoeffer’s life may be found here.

At Home Discussion

In Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community, Bonhoeffer writes of the practice of confession: “In confession the break-through of the community takes place. Sin demands to have a man by himself [sic]. The more isolated a person is, the more destructive will be the power of sin over him […]. Sin wants to remain unknown. It shuns the light.” When we confess in the congregation, we acknowledge and bring our own sin to light.

Read the Prayer of Confession from the Book of Common Prayer together. Students may already have the prayer memorized from our saying it together in the weekly liturgy. If they do not, try to memorize a part of it: the first five lines, lines six through eight, or lines nine through the end.

Discuss the question:

Why do we confess our sins all together every week?

All Aboard to Charlotte!

By Paul Cizek, Youth Minister

In early August, a group of Holy Family youth and adults boarded a train at the station in Durham and headed to Charlotte for the day.  We spent the morning doing a Letterbox Scavenger Hunt in the old Elmwood/Pinewood Cemetery, grabbed some Chinese food for lunch, strolled around Charlotte a bit more, and then caught the train home.  Here are a few pictures from the day:

1- Train (4) 1- Train (1) 1 - Train (61) 1 - Train (28)  IMG_9197 1 - Train (23)

“Out of Egypt” VCS: Facing Pharaoh (June 24)

On Monday of VCS, we heard God promise Moses,

God promises Moses McConnells

“I will take you as my people, and I will be your God.  You shall know that I am the LORD your God, who has freed you from the burdens of the Egyptians…” (Ex. 6:7).   We saw that, “Moses told this to the Israelites; but they would not listen to Moses, because of their broken spirit and their cruel slavery” (Ex. 6:9).

Moses and Aaron confronted Pharaoh with a message from the LORD:

Moses, Aaron, Pharaoh (McConnells)

(They received some help from the Cobras…)


How did Pharaoh respond?

Alan McConnell Pharaoh

Pharaoh is one hard-hearted king.  “Make bricks!” he said.


Even after he saw Moses’ staff turn into a snake, his answer remained, “make bricks!” And so we did.



We also worked hard to fill the Pharaoh’s storehouses.




Race3We enjoyed a snack recalling Moses’ staff-turned-to-snake.

SnakeStaffSnackAnd we enjoyed one another.

SillyCobrasThanks be to God!

“Out of Egypt!” VCS 2013: Holy Ground

VCS began with a story about Moses…


… who was tending his father-in-law’s flock one day, and encountered a bush that burned, but was not consumed…


At that bush, Moses learned God’s name…


… and heard God tell Moses that God would send him to bring the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt.


During VCS, we worshipped the God of Israel…


…and we remembered God’s faithfulness to God’s people long ago….Image


…and in our own day.






Out of Egypt!


Don’t miss out on Vacation Church School this year!  We’ll sing, play, pray, and respond to the story of God’s faithfulness to the Israelites in Egypt.

Here’s an overview of what’s going on throughout the week.  

Sunday, June 23rd:
5:00pm – VCS Kickoff Cookout
Come at 5pm to enjoy hot dogs, veggie dogs, great food and company.  Bring a side dish to share.  VCS parents/participants:  please go to the library when you arrive to pick up name tags and t-shirts, and to sign release forms.
6:00 – 8:00 – VCS (beginning and ending in nave) with childcare for children under 3 in the nursery.
Monday, June 24th – Wednesday, June 26th:
5:15 – Drop-in dinner (optional) in Parish Hall 
6:00 – 8:00 – VCS (beginning and ending in nave) with childcare for children under 3 in the nursery.
Thursday, June 27th:  
6:00 – VCS Closing Eucharist and Feast – Contact Wren to bring an assigned food, or come with a desert in hand.

“Blessed are you, Lord our God…”

Each Wednesday during Lent, children of Holy Family take time to reflect on the story of the Last Supper.  This week, we gave special attention to Luke’s description of Jesus as he gave thanks for the bread and cup.  Luke’s words were familiar to us:

“Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he said, ‘Take this and divide it among yourselves…

“Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them…”

Jesus — it turns out — was in the habit of giving thanks for all kinds of God’s gifts, even ordinary gifts like bread and wine.   It is so easy to forget to give thanks!  We took time to practice offering  prayers of thanks for ordinary gifts.  We tried out words that Jesus himself may have used.

Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who brings forth bread from the earth.

On waking up:  Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who opens the eyes of the blind.

Blessed are You, LORD, our God, King of the universe, through Whose word everything comes into being.

And we thought up a few of our own…

“Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the Universe, because you have given me a sister.” 

“Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the Universe, because you made the sun to give light to the world.” 

“Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the Universe, because you made wolves.”

“Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the Universe, because you made special flowers and roses.”

“Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the Universe, because you gave me my mom.”

Can you add to our list of thanksgivings?