Weddings, Baptisms, & Funerals

WEDDINGS

Weddings at Countryside Church are conducted for members of the church.  We do not ordinarily perform weddings for non-members; however, in special circumstances, the minister may elect to perform a non-member wedding. Please follow the guidelines listed below and make the appropriate contacts as soon as possible:

Initial Contact
Contact the Church Office at 402-391-0350 ext. 103 and speak with the Executive Administrative Assistant to see if the church is available on the date you desire.  Our Sanctuary seats 500, and the Chapel seats 65.  No receptions are held at the church.

Our ministers are Dr. Eric Elnes and Rev. Chris Alexander.  We will confirm the availability of the church facility at the time you call; however, our ministers will not be able to confirm which minister will conduct the service until 90 days prior to a wedding date.  Weddings conducted at Countryside must be officiated by one of Countryside’s clergy, although another minister may participate in the service.  If you plan to hand out printed programs to your guests, the officiating minister must approve the order of worship.

There is a $150 deposit required to reserve the church.  This must be paid when you book your wedding.  This will go toward the church fee for the custodian and building fees.

 Scheduling:

Some Saturdays are not available for weddings due to special circumstances.  These include:

2017

Saturday, April 8                   Palm Sunday rehearsal/decorations in Sanctuary

Saturday, April 15                 Easter Sunday rehearsal/decorations in Sanctuary

June 9, 10                               NE Conference Annual Meeting

June 2,3                                  Youth Garage Sale involving entire building

Saturday, November 25       Deacons decorate for Advent in Sanctuary

December weddings are scheduled upon approval of the ministers and are dependent upon ongoing Advent activities.  If a December wedding is scheduled, the Sanctuary décor in place for ongoing Advent worship events will remain in place.

Other Contacts
Once the wedding has been scheduled, you will be contacted by one of our Church Wedding Coordinators.  In the case of a small chapel wedding, no consultant is required.  The Wedding Consultant will guide you through your wedding planning from start to finish and coordinate the rehearsal and wedding with the officiating minister.  Be prepared to give the Consultant the names of your wedding party, photographer, videographer, florist and other participants.

Music
Contact our church office at 402-391-0350 or office@countrysideucc.org to arrange for an organist or pianist to play for your wedding and approve your musical selections.  Unless you are planning for a musical ensemble or no music at all, a Countryside organist/pianist will play for your wedding.  If a Countryside organist/pianist is unavailable, they will arrange for another of our organists/pianists to play.  If a vocal soloist is included in your wedding, that person must arrange to rehearse with our organist/pianist prior to the wedding rehearsal.

Counseling
Pre-marital counseling sessions will be arranged at the discretion of the officiating pastor.  Our ministers use an inventory from a company called Prepare-Enrich, which is a survey couples take online. Confidential results are emailed to the minister and are used as a basis for counseling conversations.  The cost for this survey is $35.00, which the couple pays online prior to taking the inventory.

License and Fees
Wedding fees, see below, and a valid Nebraska marriage license must be presented to the officiating minister on the night of the rehearsal.  If you live in Douglas County, obtain your license at the office of the County Clerk, 1819 Farnam Street, Omaha, 402-444-6745.  The website is:

http://www.douglascountyclerk.org/marriage-licenses/requirements

One member of the bridal couple must be a member of the church or non-member fees will apply.  Fees relating to a wedding at Countryside Church will include separate checks, payable as follows:

  1. Wedding Coordinator $150
  2. Organist $150
  3. Soloist $100
  4. Countryside Church for custodian and building use, $150 for members, $250 for non-members.
  5. Suggested honorarium for the minister is $200.  For non-members the required minister fee is $500.
  1. Media Services: Sound Tech – $100; Basic Recording Option – $300:
  • Sound plus three-camera filming of ceremony only
  • Online broadcast optional

Photography – $1,500 for a full day of coverage:

Contact the Church Office for additional information: 402-391-0350

BAPTISMS

Baptism is a visible sign of an invisible event: the presence and acceptance of God in our lives. A service of baptism is part of a Sunday morning worship service. While there is no membership requirement to be baptized at Countryside, those who are baptized (or their family, in the case of infants) must be participating actively in the life of the congregation. This is due to the vows we all make, described below.

Why we ask you to participate in our congregational life to be baptized (or to baptize your child):
Part of Countryside’s ongoing commitment to children and youth is reflected in the vows we make six times a year to the children and families we baptize. The parents make a vow to raise their children in an awareness of God’s presence, and to dedicate and devote themselves to making their children aware of God’s love and caring and destiny. The congregation then vows to “support you and to work with you in watching over your child and in caring for their spiritual interests. We will also work and pray for your child’s ongoing spiritual awakening and growth, that they may continually experience the inward grace of the baptism they have received this day.” In other words, we vow to nurture a relationship not simply between ourselves and our children, but between our children and God.

While it is common these days for people to make vows they never intend to keep, the church takes their baptismal vows seriously, and it expects the families to take their vow with equal seriousness, in part through regular participation in the life of the congregation. This is one reason why Countryside’s children and youth programs are so strong. We don’t give these vows lip service. They are neither ornamental nor sentimental, but real commitments that are reflected in everything from our programming, to our staffing, to our budgeting. This commitment has only grown, not shrunk, in recent years. In fact, on baptism Sunday, the parents are asked publicly to hold Countryside accountable should we ever fail to fulfill our vow to help foster a relationship between their children and God until the day their children come of age and can make their own decisions about this relationship.

It is out of this authentic and vibrant commitment between the congregation and the parents of children who are baptized here that Countryside’s policy is to baptize only children whose families are actively involved in the life of the church, whether members or not. After all, there is literally no way for the congregation to fulfill their vows if the child or family is not participating in the life of the congregation. We don’t ask you to be members. We don’t ask you to be married. We certainly don’t ask you to be perfect. And being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender is fine with us, too. (We are an “Open and Affirming” congregation.)  We just ask you to help us make our vows real by being an active part of our community.

Blessing Ceremonies
Some folks who have been members of Countryside in former years and moved away express disappointment when they hear they must be active in the current life of the congregation to have their children baptized.  Sometimes, too, grandparents wish their grandchildren to be baptized at Countryside when their children visit Omaha.  In these cases, we are pleased to offer a special ceremony of blessing in our Chapel.  These formal ceremonies celebrate the life of the child as a child of God, and the new relationship that exists between the child, the parents, and God.  A prayer of blessing is offered for the child and family.  Since this is not a baptism, and no baptismal vows are being made, there is NO requirement that the family participate in the life of the church.  Countryside offers this service as an expression of our joy and thanksgiving for the connection we have shared through past membership or present family relations, and the ongoing relationship we share spiritually in Christ.

FUNERALS

Contacts
Funerals and memorial services are conducted at Countryside for church members, extended family of church members, and non-members depending on building availability and the schedule of the ministers.  Services conducted at Countryside must be officiated by one of Countryside’s clergy, although another minister may participate in the service.  In the event of the death of a family member, contact one of the ministers of Countryside Church: Dr. Eric Elnes (402-391-0350 ext. 113) or Rev. Chris Alexander (402-391-0350 ext. 130).

Fees
Generally, the mortuary handling details for the family is responsible for including fees for ministers and musicians in their charges and then paying these charges to the appropriate party by check.  However, sometimes mortuaries handling burials and cremations are out of the Omaha area or there may be time delays between a death and the time of the service.  If the fees for people providing services have not been charged by the mortuary, they should be paid, by separate checks, to the persons providing the services:

Funeral Coordinator: $125

Organist: $150

Vocal Soloist: $100

Pianist/Vocalist: $200

Honorarium for the minister, service and graveside: (Suggestion:  $200)

Additional fee for non-members of Countryside Church:

Building use and custodian: $300

Media Services are available with Ben Semisch (402-210-1912 or bens@countrysideucc.org):

Basic A/V – $100

  • Provides a sound technician for the service.
  • Recorded music for the service. The family can bring in the song on a disc or we can find and record versions if needed.  Often there are many versions of the songs people want, and we just want to make sure we have the right one.
  • Slide show, flash drive is preferred.

 Optional Additions

  • Film the service (and/or Broadcast the service) – $100.
  • Scanning Photos for a slide show – Price dependent on the number of photos, likely $50-$100

 Music
Countryside music staff has right of first refusal for all services.  Please contact Dr. Amy Luckenbill, Director of Music and Arts, at 402-391-0350 ext. 115 or amyl@countrysideucc.org to make arrangements for music.

The fee schedule (above) includes ten minutes of pre-service music, up to ten minutes of post-service music, and two musical selections of any type (congregational singing, instrumental solo, vocal solo, etc.) during the service.

Refreshments
Countryside’s Agape Circle is available to provide refreshments for funerals and memorial services.  The minister will contact Mary Watke, Funeral Coordinator, at the request of the family. Depending upon the nature of the services provided, the families are asked to make a donation to Agape Circle for refreshments provided.  In the event food is catered from a local supermarket, the fees for the catered food will be passed on to the family for payment.

Countryside Church and its staff will make every effort to work with families to provide the service which your family requests.  For questions, please contact Mary Watke, Funeral Coordinator at 402-830-7135 or mowatke@gmail.com.

Columbarium
If your family is interested in learning more about the Columbarium at Countryside Church, please contact Shari Garder, Financial Secretary, at 402-391-0350 ext. 123 or sharig@countrysideucc.org