Church members who wish to be married at First Presbyterian Church may reserve a wedding date and time by calling the church office at 410.267.8705. Wedding dates are often booked up to a year in advance. Non-member wedding information is noted below. It is the policy of the congregation to provide wedding services for same-sex couples following the same guidelines applicable for straight couples.
For all weddings with more than 50 people, First Presbyterian Church provides a wedding coordinator to oversee the arrangements and details of the wedding service. The wedding coordinator is a church member who works closely with the minister in charge of the wedding. If an outside wedding consultant has been hired, it is requested that his or her involvement be limited to the wedding reception and other non-church activities. The rehearsal and wedding service are the responsibility of the presiding minister and church wedding coordinator.
An Anne Arundel County marriage license from the Circuit Court is required for marriage. Please bring the license with you to the wedding rehearsal. The presiding minister is the only person who signs the license following the wedding service. He or she then mails the signed license back to the Circuit Court.
Information regarding hours, fees, and proper means of identification needed for obtaining a marriage license can be found here: http://www.clerkannearundel.org/license-department/marriage-licenses
Non member Weddings
Rarely are exceptions made for non church members to be married in our sanctuary. Those who are not members of the church need to meet one of the following conditions of eligibility as determined by the pastors:
• An immediate family member of either party is an active member or was an active member in the recent past, but has moved away
• One of the parties is a member in good standing of a Presbyterian Church USA elsewhere and is temporarily living in Annapolis
• An unusual or extraordinary circumstance exists and you wish to make a special request to the pastors.
Statement About Same Sex Marriage
The following is our Statement of Principles on Christian Marriage, approved by the Session of First Presbyterian Church, Annapolis, on April 23, 2013:
"Christian marriage is an occasion of holiness when two people “promise and covenant before God and these witnesses” to be loving and faithful through all the joys and sorrows of life. At First Presbyterian Church of Annapolis we believe that Christian marriage is ordained by God, blessed by our Lord Jesus Christ and sustained by the Spirit of God for the welfare and happiness of a couple, a family and humankind. The union is spiritual, emotional and physical as two persons offer the fullness of their lives to each other. Within the church, marriage is a gift and a responsibility, a joy and a calling, a life of mutual respect and sharing. Outside of the church, marriage is a civil contract between two people, recognized and affirmed by the State of Maryland.
Guided by the scriptures, we believe that both marriage and the ethics of sexual behavior are grounded in the principles of covenant and love. Throughout Biblical history, marriage has taken many forms, stretching from polygamy to levirate marriage (the practice or rule of a widow marrying a brother of her deceased husband) to the most common and now utterly rejected assumption that women are commodities to be transferred from one male authority to another. Yet, beneath this diverse practice and history of sexism, we understand that the foundation of marriage is based in the promise and covenant of mutual love, respect and fidelity.
We also believe that sexual ethics are grounded in behavior, not orientation, and that the rules, responsibilities, and joys of committed relationships are the same for homosexual as for heterosexual persons. All Christians, regardless of orientation or gender, are vulnerable to mistakes and manipulation. All Christians share the call to live responsibly and faithfully. As a church, we have a dual role. We are to uphold Christian marriage as a calling; we are to support and care for those couples within our faith who wish to unite in Christian marriage. We believe the calling of Christian marriage extends equally to opposite sex couples and same-sex couples. We believe our pastoral calling to couples entering marriage commits us to support opposite-sex couples and same-sex couples alike.
We base this statement on our understanding of the Bible and on our understanding of the Christian faith as shaped by our Presbyterian heritage. The PC(USA) is in transition. In the current language of the Presbyterian Directory for Worship, the denomination states that a Christian marriage is between a man and a woman. Meanwhile, the 2011 General Assembly affirmed the full personhood of gay and lesbian Christians by granting the right of individual congregations and presbyteries to ordain them. We consider these two different standards to be inconsistent.
Now that the State of Maryland has approved civil marriage for same-sex couples, our Session faces a choice. Will we approve the use of our church for same-sex couples who want to be married?
The thought of saying “No” to a same-sex couple concerns us. Our pastoral calling is to support the love and fidelity of our members. Yet, by saying “Yes” to Christian marriage for a same-sex couple, we might place ourselves in disobedience to the Presbyterian Constitution. This troubles us as well – we hold the Directory for Worship in high regard.
In weighing these two choices, we as a Session prayerfully conclude that we would rather commit an act of disobedience than an act of intolerance. Therefore, the Session of First Presbyterian Church of Annapolis hereby declares a scruple that same-sex couples are welcomed into the covenant of Christian marriage. By this statement, we affirm our conviction that all loving and faithful couples are embraced as members of Christ’s family of faith."
 In earlier decades within the PC(USA), candidates for ordained ministry were required to affirm the depth and breadth of the Westminster Confession of Faith. With the passage of time, the PC(USA) made a modest adjustment to its practice, both to honor the creed and also to provide some room for diversity. The PC(USA) afforded candidates for ordination the option of declaring a scruple, in which they could express disagreement with a particular part of the creed. This option provided a way to disagree respectfully and openly within the creed, while otherwise agreeing with the creed as a whole. Here our Session revives this practice by declaring a scruple of its own relative to the language of marriage. Its aim is to announce that we hold the Directory for Worship in high regard yet disagree with one particular point. In turn we ask our brothers and sisters within the PC(USA) to respectfully honor this point of disagreement.
NOTE: Subsequent to the Session’s statement, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) changed the wedding policies within the Directory of Worship that allows for Presbyterian sessions and pastors to lead the worship for a same sex couple.