As we continue to observe the guidelines of the government and the Ministry of Health amid the coronavirus pandemic, it is now common knowledge that large weddings were banned for some time while small weddings, were encouraged.
Rt. Rev. Johnson Twinomujuni, the Bishop of the West Ankole diocese has come out and issued a statement about common concerns people have about getting married during this time.
In a post made on Facebook, the Bishop throws more light on the proper interpretation of the term ‘scientific wedding’.
The post read,
“Dear Archdeacons, Clergy and all Westankolians:
Greetings in the name of our risen Lord, Jesus Christ! Maama Joy and I extend our love to you all. We pray for you so you can exercise disciple and vigilance during this lockdown despite the challenges. We also appreciate your love and prayers. Take heart, the Lord will see us through this ‘valley’!
Following the President’s recommendation about what he termed “scientific wedding”, we advise those who are planning weddings to hold on and wait, till the lockdown is lifted.
Nonetheless, those who are in a hurry and have a sound reason not to wait, take note of the following:
- Do not interpret the President’s term “scientific wedding” to mean a secret or discreet wedding, where the two make brief or no consultations with anyone, exclude family members, and simply walk to the minister and agree to hold a confidential ceremony. That is not acceptable.
Apart from having a small number of persons involved in the wedding (and that’s the purpose of the President’s directive), the rest of the logistical requirements for a Holy Matrimony and church wedding remain constant.
As stated in Canon 2.30.2, before solemnizing any marriage, the minister must first establish that there is no impediment of consanguinity, affinity, or status.
- There is a concern about the issue of the banns – when and how are they to be published – now that we do not have worship services in church.
Those who intend to wed during the lockdown shall first approach the Dean of St. Peter’s Cathedral for guidance concerning the banns and any other situational logistics.
- The ‘scientific wedding’ is not another form of wedding outside our already established standards of marriage in the Church Canons and other national marriage laws.
- Some ask whether, in the ‘scientific wedding’ the term “congregation”, before which the marriage ought to be performed still applies. Yes, it applies, because Canon 2:36 provides for a minimum congregation of five people in addition to the Priest.
As we hope and pray, the Lord will soon or later see us through this lockdown, so let us keep in order. Do not use this time to do anything unethical with your beloved that will harm your marriage or put it at a risk of being declared null and void in the aftermath of COVID-19. Resolve to honour God in all circumstances.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Gal. 6:6).
One of our key strengths as C.O.U is faith and order. Let’s maintain it.
Love and blessings.
Rt. Rev. Johnson Twinomujuni.”
If you planning to do a scientific wedding, you have to ensure that you have all the requirements. This applies to other religions as well but you have to find out what your church demands before your wedding is done.