Silver Spring UMC is happy to host some celebrations of special occasions in your life or to hold a community or organizational meeting. We take great pride in the business and activity found in our church facilities and believe this is but one way we help serve our local community.
At Silver Spring United Methodist Church we believe that marriage is a ministry of the church. Just as our worship and sacraments are open to all, so too is the covenant of marriage open to any two persons who wish to commit their lives in faithful covenant to one another before God and the faith community. The specific guidelines below primarily relate to the marriage ceremony itself. However, SSUMC’s commitment to marriage as a ministry extends beyond the marriage ceremony. We seek to nourish the marriage relationships of those in our congregation by addressing healthy marriage relationships in retreat opportunities, counseling, small group study, and other programming.
Christian marriage is an extension of baptism and demonstrates that our lives are holy and sacramental. The language, symbols, and ritual of Christian marriage embody this concept. Those gathered as the congregation are not just passive witnesses, but part of a worship service.
The Christian wedding ceremony is a religious celebration in which two persons, before God and the faith community:
- Ask for God’s blessing
- Declare and affirm their faith, love, and commitment
- Commit their common journey into the hands of God
- Reconcile themselves with God and with each other, and
- Join their lives to the fullest of their capacity
A Christian wedding ceremony can be performed in our sanctuary or officiated off-site by one of our pastors. Interfaith weddings are welcome and the Ministry of Marriage is available to both members and non-members. Couples seeking to be married will meet with one of our pastors. Together they will:
- Examine the guidelines surrounding Christian marriage
- Determine the timing of the wedding and availability of one of our pastors to officiate
- Establish the couple’s willingness to participate in pre-marital counseling
- Discuss services available to the wedding ceremony (music, reception space, etc.)
- Review the restrictions on use of the church facility (or related to off-site ceremonies)
Funerals & Memorials
The Service of Death and Resurrection is grounded in our trust in God’s grace and promises. We approach death as those who believe that Jesus Christ has overcome all the powers of darkness, and that one day God’s good will for all people will be fulfilled as we are reunited with one another in eternal life. Death may separate us from those whom we love for a while, but it will not be able to overcome God’s desire that the family of God should be complete.
Selecting a Funeral Home & Notifying the Church
At the time of death, if not immediately before, there are two important things that you need to address. One is the notification of the church, and the other is the selection of a funeral home or mortuary. We do not recommend specific providers in this area, and we encourage you to seek recommendations from friends and others in the community. Our pastors are experienced in coordinating with a variety of funeral homes and mortuaries. Different providers have different levels of involvement in the notification of the church and scheduling of services. Some will reach out to us on your behalf to let the church know about the person’s passing, but others will expect you to make this initial contact; some may act as a go-between for you and the church the church regarding scheduling, while others may leave it to you to determine scheduling within their available frameworks.
In any case, it’s important to let the church staff know as soon as possible about a death–not only so that we can begin preparations for a memorial service or funeral, but so that we can also be there for you with support, prayer, and pastoral care during this time.
Funerals and memorial services may take place in the church sanctuary, at a funeral home, or at graveside; or they may begin in the sanctuary or funeral home and move to graveside for their conclusion. At Silver Spring UMC, our sanctuary seats approximately 480 people without physical distancing; in these COVID-19 times, 120 is a number that allows us to maintain safe physical distance between households. With this reduced seating capacity, we have found that streaming the service is often welcomed by those who cannot attend in person. There are companies in the area that offer this specialized service.
At Silver Spring UMC, we utilize the Service of Death and Resurrection contained in the United Methodist Book of Worship. This service contains elements that are familiar, having been a part of many funerals and memorial services over centuries, as well as elements that allow for flexibility and personalization. It is easily adapted for services at graveside or in a funeral home. When conducted in the church sanctuary, the basic outline of the service consists of…
- Gathering, Words of Grace, and Greeting
- Hymn or Song
- Prayer, including the Lord’s Prayer
- Psalm 23
- Witnesses of Family and/or Friends
- Hymn or Song
- Scripture Reading
- Homily / Eulogy
- Commendation / Committal
- Hymn or Song
- Sending Forth
If a sanctuary service continues at the graveside, the Commendation is often moved to the latter portion of the service.
Our staff is honored to work with your family to select music and Scripture that is meaningful to you and your family and that reflects your loved one’s relationship with God and the church.
We do our best to accommodate your request for particular times for these special services. Because we are an active church with many different activities on different days and times, we take each situation into consideration to find the best solution for scheduling. Please note that while our pastoral staff tries very hard to make themselves available for these kinds of services at your preferred time, some schedule items simply cannot be adjusted, especially on shorter notice. We appreciate your understanding as we strive to work around these prior commitments.
Depending on pastoral availability, we can schedule funeral and memorial services for members and constituents of Silver Spring UMC Monday through Friday during the day and on Saturday mornings. The church is honored to host funerals of non-members Monday through Thursday during normal working hours as our schedule allows. The church is closed or has limited availability on the following days: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Holy Week, July 4th, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day.
There is no pastoral fee for funerals or memorial services for members or non-members. If there is a desire to express appreciation for our pastoral staff’s work in this area, a gift may be made to the church’s general fund or memorial fund, but it is not expected. For non-members, fees for our organist and other musicians will need to be negotiated with them directly.