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:
Contact the Church Office at 402-391-0350 ext. 224 and speak with the Executive Administrative Assistant to see if the church is available on the date you desire or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Sanctuary seats 650, and the Chapel seats 100. Receptions may be held at the church by separate arrangement with the church office. Additional fees will apply.
Our ministers are Rev. Dr. Eric Elnes and Rev. Dr. 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 facility fee deposit ($300 for non-members) 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.
Some Saturdays are not available for weddings due to special circumstances. These include: Youth Garage Sale (first weekend in June), the first Saturday in Advent, and the Saturdays prior to Palm Sunday and Easter. On the first Saturday of each month the church will not be available for wedding festivities prior to 1 p.m. because Countryside hosts a food pantry during that time. Please call the church at 402-391-0350 to schedule your date.
December weddings, scheduled upon approval of the ministers, will require that the Sanctuary décor in place for ongoing Advent worship events remain in place.
From time to time the church will be decorated for a sermon series and there may be a fee for removing the décor if it is extensive.
Once the wedding has been scheduled, you will be contacted by our Church Wedding Coordinator. In the case of a small (less than 25) wedding, no coordinator is required. The Wedding Coordinator 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 coordinator the names of your wedding party, photographer, videographer, florist and other participants.
Contact our church office at 402-391-0350 or email@example.com to arrange for an organist, pianist, or other musician/vocalist 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.
Premarital counseling sessions may 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:
One member of the bridal couple must be a member of Countryside or nonmember fees will apply. Fees relating to a wedding at Countryside, in addition to the initial $150 facility fee ($300 for nonmembers), will include separate checks, payable as follows:
- Wedding Coordinator: $150
- Organist/Pianist: $150
- Soloist: $100
- Suggested honorarium for the minister is $200. For nonmembers the required minister fee is $500.
- Audio/Visual Technician – $100.
- Staging: Countryside Jazz is set up in the Sanctuary to play on Sundays. If you want the music equipment moved, the fee is $150. Draping of the cross is $35. If there are specific staging needs, other fees may apply.
- Security: Available for $30/hour per security person, two-hour minimum.
- Bride’s dressing room: Space is available for the bride in the Miriam Room. However, no hairspray or makeup is allowed. There are bathrooms nearby.
- Shuttles: For a larger wedding (over 350) shuttle buses may be desired to transport guests to the church due to parking limitations.
Contact Ben Semisch directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact the Church Office for additional information
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.
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.
Baptisms are scheduled six Sundays each year. For specific dates, please call the church at 402-391-0350.
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. 230).
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
Vocal Soloist: $100
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 email@example.com):
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.
- 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
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com