for LGBT couples
(Please read carefully all the information here to help you plan your wedding ceremony with us. We are confident that the information below would answer most of your questions about LGBT Holy Unions. If you are reading this and got our numbers from this site, please do not text us asking the same information you can find here. You would be referred back to this website)
We always wish nothing but the best for your commitment day. To help couples plan their wedding, here are some important information you should know.
WHAT IS THE RITE OF HOLY UNION?
The Rite of Holy Union is one of the Rites of the Metropolitan Community Churches all over the world as stated in Article III Section C paragraph 3 of the Bylaws of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, it states..
?The RITE OF HOLY UNION is the spiritual joining of two persons in a manner fitting and proper by a duly authorized clergy, Interim Pastoral Leader of the church, or UFMCC Elders. After both persons have been counselled and apprised of their responsibilities one toward the other, this rite of conferring God?s blessing may be performed.?
The essence of the Rite of Holy Union is the vow, the pledging of deepest fidelity of each other. It is the spiritual joining of two persons regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. It is a celebration of love witnessed and affirmed by their friends, family, and the Church.
9-STEP PROCEDURE FOR A MEANINGFUL AND MEMORABLE HOLY UNION
1) Communicate with the MCCMB Secretariat or the pastor to check the availability of your proposed date of ceremony. Once the date is available, have the date reserved by making a down payment of a minimum 20% of the holy union fee (see Holy Union Fee below). The 20% initial down payment ensures the couple's seriousness about their holy union and that no fake schedules are made. Payments made are non-refundable.
To make a payment:
Through CHINA BANK:
Account Name: METROPOLITAN COMMUNITY CHURCH - BAGUIO CITY, INC.
Account No. 371-009331-7
Scan and send us a copy of the deposit slip,Once the initial down payment has been received, your wedding date shall be officially entered in the church calendar and considered ?reserved?
2) After having the date reserved. Personally meet the officiating pastor for a pre-holy union counseling as agreed by the couple and the secretariat / pastor. Do not come without prior notice. We do not do "walk-in" ceremonies. The shortest wedding preparation with MCCMB is 5 days. If you cannot do this immediately, an online planning may be possible through email or chat over at Facebook. Discuss the details of the ceremony like venue, date, time, witnesses, venue arrangements, music, etc. This can be done during the face-to-face counseling or online. After reserving the date of the wedding, you are to email us the following info at [email protected] or PM us through Facebook:
Proposed Date of Pre-Holy Union Counseling:
Reserved Date of Ceremony:
No. of expected guest including witness/es and couple: (estimation)
Full Name of Couple A:
Nickname of Couple A:
Full Name of Couple B:
Nickname of Couple B:
Name of Official Witness/es (min 1, maximum: 6)
3) Upon meeting the Secretariat or the pastor personally, the MCC shall provide you a pre-numbered Holy Union Registration Form. which you are to sign before the counseling
4) Compose your own "holy union vows" after the counseling. Buy your wedding rings, wedding veil, wedding cord, unity candles and other pre-ceremony arrangements (reception and catering, hotel accommodations, invitations etc)
5) Constantly update the pastor of any changes. Remember, It is your obligation to update us regarding changes. We are not psychic nor mind-readers.
6) Come early on your wedding date. If at this time you have not yet undergone pre-Holy Union counseling and for online preparations, come much earlier before the ceremony for the pre-holy union counseling which may be the day before the ceremony. Please do not be late. Be reminded that we follow a ?No pre-holy union counseling, no ceremony? policy.
7) Privately settle all payable fees in full BEFORE the ceremony with the secretariat or the pastor.
8) A ceremony rehearsal may be requested if time permits. After the ceremony, sign your "Certificate of Holy Union" and take photos.
9) Eat heartily on your wedding reception if there's any.
HOLY UNION FEES:
Effective October 21, 2011, The Church Board now requires an advance deposit of at least 20% of the total Holy Union fee (non-refundable) , as early as possible to reserve the date or at least 5 working days, prior to the ceremony. This is to ensure that we won't waste our time and effort on people who deliberately makes fake ceremony schedules, thereby freeing our calendars for genuine couples who wants to have their ceremony. Deposit shall be made through China Bank, Account Name: METROPOLITAN COMMUNITY CHURCH - BAGUIO CITY, INC. Account No. 371-009331-7
Ceremony performed within MCC-designated area/ home/ chapel or space:
Php 5,000.00. A 20% (or P1,000) of the Holy Union fee shall be made prior to the date of Holy Union. Full payment should be made before the commencement of the ceremony. First come first serve basis.
Ceremony held in non-MCC designated venue:
Php 6,000.00 . A 20% (P1,200) of the Holy Union fee must be paid prior to the date of the Holy Union. The venue must be reserved by the couple and immediately inform the officiating minister. The couple shall also shoulder the officiating pastor , and one (1) assistant's transportation fare to and from the wedding venue should the wedding be held in other locations. The couple can arrange for Holy Union outside Baguio City only if the couple provides for a 2-way transportation, food and lodging (also consider the food while in transit Meals from bus stops while in transit are quite expensive than the ordinary). Full payment should be made before the commencement of the ceremony. First come first serve basis.
The Holy Union fees does not cover the wedding reception, rings, veil, cord, candles, flower arrangements, choir, venue reservations etc. If you wish to avail of a wedding package, we'll be glad to refer you to a wedding planner. Aside from the mandatory Holy Union fees, we also welcome voluntary love offerings donations. pledges and other support for the MCC ministries during the ceremony proper.
The counseling, registration forms and use of the MCC venue is free. No fees shall be collected for these purposes.
Step 10: Enjoy your honeymoon and start living your lives in the love for one another and in the love of God.
Requirements for Holy Union in the
Metropolitan Community Church (MCC)
> Single, Divorced, Separated, Widow, Widower
> At least 18 years old
> At least 8 months in a stable, committed and loving relationship
> Payment of the Holy Union fee prior to the ceremony
> Signed a pre-numbered Holy Union Registration Form (to be provided by the MCC)
> Photocopy of passport (if foreigner)
HOLY UNION FEES:
The Church Board now requires an advance deposit of at least 20% of the total Holy Union fee (non-refundable) prior to the ceremony. This is to ensure that your choice of ceremony date agreed by both parties is duly reserved and no other couple could set their ceremony on your date. It also ensures that we won't waste our time and effort on people who deliberately makes fake ceremony schedules, thereby freeing our calendars for genuine couples who wants to have their ceremony. E-mail us at [email protected] for details on where to deposit.
Ceremony held within the MCC designated venue (MCC home or MCC place of worship) :
Php 5,000.00 Holy Union fee shall be made prior to the date of Holy Union. Full payment should be made before the start of the ceremony. First come first serve basis.
Note: MCCMB doesn't have any "chapel", "office" or permanent place of worship yet. We do weddings in hotels, parks, bars, restaurants, houses, beach resort, open spaces, inside caves, under a pine tree :) We could provide a humble venue for a simple ceremony to couples with guests not exceeding 10 guests for free in the homes of our members and friends. If the ceremony is held outside these homes but still withing the city of Baguio, please be considerate in providing for the taxi transportation of the minister and assistant.
Ceremony held in non-MCC designated venue:
Php 6,000.00 Holy Union fee to be made prior to the date of the Holy Union. Full payment should be made before the start of the ceremony. The venue must be reserved by the couple and immediately inform the officiating minister. The couple shall also shoulder the officiating pastor , and one (1) assistant's transportation fare to and from the wedding venue should the wedding be held in other locations.
The couple can arrange for Holy Union outside Baguio City and anywhere in the country only if the couple provides for a 2-way transportation, food and lodging in advance for the officiating minister and (1) assistant.
To further guide you about Transportation, a one-way tranportation from baguio to manila for one (1) person is approximately the following: Taxi from residence to bus station= P80 + Bus Fare Baguio to Manila (P650) + food in transit P200. For two (2) person, it would be P1,480.00 (taxi fare is jointly for 2 people). Kindly do the other math from Manila bus station to wherever we need to go to next. Taxi fare within Manila are generally more expensive than in Baguio. Taxi drivers in Metro Manila can also be among the worst in the world.
Aside from the mandatory Holy Union fees, we also welcome voluntary love offerings donations. pledges and other support for the MCC ministries during the ceremony proper.
The Holy Union fees covers only the certificate, liturgy program, use of venue if held at a residence, and the pastor's fee. The Holy Union fee does not cover the wedding reception, rings, veil, cord, candles, flower arrangements, choir, venue reservations etc. If you wish to avail of a wedding package, we'll be glad to refer you to a wedding planner.
HOLY UNION CHECKLIST
The following are essential:
Wedding Ring, one (1) Unity Candle, Wedding Cord, Wedding Veil, Wedding Vows, Witness(es), Pre-Holy Union Counseling, Registration Form and the Holy Union Fee.
Full Legal Name of both couples, contact numbers and e-mail address of couples, Full legal Names of official witnesses, Date of Holy Union, Time of ceremony, venue of ceremony, Date of pre-holy union counseling.
SOME OPTIONAL ITEMS: Depending on the kind of wedding program the couple would want, the list below hopes to give the couple an idea of the most common things holy union couples usually prepare. The MCC would not provide for any of these. They are not included in the Holy Union fees that the couple needs to pay prior to their wedding date. The important thing is for the couple to discuss these things out with the officiating pastor or minister before the wedding date.
You may want to be creative. Now is the time to pour out all your creative juices for your wedding day and make it more meaningful and memorable. The MCCMB is more than willing to help you through by offering you this once in a lifetime experience.
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN
"MARRIAGE" AND "HOLY UNION"
There are no provisions under the current Philippine law recognizing marriage equality...yet! Only people of the opposite sex are currently allowed 'marriage" in the Philippines. The MCCMB DOES NOT officiate Same-Sex "MARRIAGE". The MCC is a Christian Church and we do not conduct "civil marriage" either. On the other hand, "HOLY UNION" is a spiritual joining of two individuals regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. It is a sacrament of the Church. It is a rite being conducted by the MCC in the Philippines and around the world for couples who wish to declare their partnership and unconditional love for their partner before God and the community of faithful. The Holy Union rite is conducted within the MCC's usual "mass" or worship service which can either be private or public. We issue newly wed couples their "Holy Union Certificate" and not "marriage contracts".
Holy Union rites are neither legal or illegal in the Philippines. A holy union is not illegal in the Philippines, but although not legally-binding under current Philippine laws, this rite is morally-binding before God.
Although there may be differences between "Marriage" and "holy union", they both share the same essentials. They are both wedding ceremonies. They are both based upon the highest moral law of LOVE and not about sex, procreation or gender. Until we work together to pressure government to enact laws upholding EQUAL RIGHTS for ALL to choose who to love, same-sex marriage and genuine equality in the Philippines would continue to be a dream. Let's hope that one day, MARRIAGE EQUALITY becomes a reality in our country. Many countries around the world are now beginning to legalize marriage equality and are reaping the benefits it has to offer in their society. However, your HOLY UNION partnership officiated in the Philippines may be legally recognized in other countries where Same-Sex Marriage is legally accepted, such as Canada or Spain and some states in the USA. However, immigration policies is another thing altogether. Your Holy Union certificate may strengthen your claim of your relationship and proof of partnership.
THE 1987 CONSTITUTION OF THE PHILIPPINES ARTICLE III SECTION 5 PROTECTS THE FREEDOM OF RELIGION.
?No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed. No religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights?
The MCCMB will continue to conduct Holy Unions for LGBT couples in Baguio and elsewhere in the country to prove that no law is higher than LOVE.
With or without MARRIAGE EQUALITY law in the Philippines, love is still the highest law, and LGBT people are entering into relationships and experiencing God's love in their sexual relationships. Soon, we will re-define marriage not by sexual genitalia, age, race, economic status, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity, but by the greatest of all standards...LOVE.
MOST COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT
HOLY UNION OF LGBT COUPLES:
Q: Where is the MCC Metro Baguio chapel located?
A: The MCC Metro Baguio is a "home church" - a small congregation that still doesn?t have any physical ?chapel? or office yet. We hold our services in homes, parks, restaurants and garages. Currently, we are holding regular worship service every Saturday at the Rainbow Bar, 4th Floor, NRC Building, Abanao St, at the top of PNB Abanao) For wedding ceremonies, we use our member?s humble living rooms for free. Should you need to personally see us, get in touch with the members, please email us ([email protected]) and we?d be glad to meet you somewhere convenient.
Q: Can we get to change our last names after the Holy Union?
A: You can change your last name at anytime (even without a Holy Union) on Facebook. But to do this legally, you would need to go to the court, not at MCC. After the holy union, both partners shall maintain their respective last names.
Q: We want the most simple ceremony. How much total will we spend for a holy union?
A: Simple or grandest of royal weddings inside a palace, the holy union fee remains the same. Read "Holy Union Fees" and advance deposits above. Aside from the fees, give consideration to transportation allowance (taxi, bus or air fare, in-transit food for the officiating minister and one assistant) , their board and lodging (if outside Baguio). You may also consider love offerings for the MCC ministries. ?Total budget? means considering all the expenses which may vary on a case to case basis (amount of guests, reception, flowers, invitations, hotel reservation, type of wedding rings, attire, transportation etc. Only the holy Union Fee is constant be it a ceremony under the pine tree or inside the grandest luxury hotel. Please do the other math. The stated Holy Union Fee only includes the following: Registration, Reservation, Certificate and Minister?s compensation. The Pre-Holy Union Counseling is free of charge.
Q: We have already paid a deposit but we would like to postpone our ceremony from its original date. Is that possible?
A: Yes it's possible. Give us at least a week of advance notice. Your deposit, although non-refundable, will remain active only if a ceremony is re-scheduled within 1 (one) year from the original date. otherwise, you would again need to make a new deposit
Q: I want to surprise my partner with a holy union ceremony. Can MCC make than happen?
A: You can surprise your partner with an iPad, balloons, cake or a diamond ring. A Holy Union is a sacrament which both couples must be mutually willing to undergo prior to the ceremony. Both couples must plan ahead for the ceremony, therefore, this won't be a good surprise.
Q: We're not religious. Can you do a civil ceremony instead?
A: For civil ceremony, please proceed to the City Hall and have your civil union there. The MCC is a home church and we do church functions, not government functions.
Q: Do we need to be members of MCC before the ceremony?
A: Ideally, it would be nice if you have attended our services prior to the ceremony. But since the MCC is a church for all, we open our doors to all faith who knows how to respect MCC's ecumenical nature of worship. We don't create outcast among outcasts. Come as you are! You are always welcome to join the MCC Metro Baguio family. This applies to MCCMB only. Other MCC congregation in the Philippines may have their own policies on this though.
Q: Is there divorce in MCC?
A: Although we advocate the passage of the divorce bill in congress, there are no legal basis for divorce in MCC. For couples having irreconcilable differences, we only do extensive counseling and should the relationship becomes irreparable, we advice the couple to "release their vows" and return rings.
Q: My relationship with my partner is on the rocks. I want to save our failing relationship by having a holy union. Is that possible?
A: Fix your relationship first before thinking of a holy union. This sacramental rite doesn't work magic and is not a quick-fix solution to a failing relationship.
Q: We are not from Baguio City. Do we need to come for pre-Holy Union Counseling prior to the ceremony, or can we have the counseling on the day itself?
A: The pre-holy union counseling is a requirement. MCC has a standing "No Counseling, No Ceremony" policy. However, we can start the planning online prior to the counseling but the couple needs to plan with the pastor way ahead of time through email, facebook chat or SMS. Planning would include gathering information about the couple, Names and other information about the ceremony. The couple are advised to meet the pastor at least a day before the ceremony for a face-to-face meeting and counseling.
Q: What is a "Unity Candle"?
A: A Unity Candle is the single candle that the couple needs to light during the holy union ceremony. It could be any candle of any color that would symbolize their union as life partners. It can be artistically decorated with the couple's names, ribbons, flowers or other decorative ornaments. Check the photo gallery "Holy Union" album to see samples. You would only need one (1) Unity Candle plus two (2) smaller candles to use to light it with
Q: Im straight and would like to solemnize my relationship with my transgender partner who I love so much. Can we have a holy union at MCC?
A: Definitely! The MCC offers you this opportunity to profess your love regardless of your gender identity. Transgender people are not accorded marriage rights by the Philippine government and mainstream churches because they do not identify with their "sex assigned at birth". Therefore, MCC offers this rite to all transgender men and women of the Philippines with their straight partners.
Q: Do you issue Holy Union Certificates even without going through a ceremony?
A: No. We are not an agency that issues certificates at will. We are not a printing press company. There are many places in C.M Recto Ave. in Manila who could forge you certificates, transcripts, fake IDs and diplomas at a certain price. MCC Metro Baguio is not among them. We strictly follow a ?No ceremony and pre-holy union counseling, no certificate? policy. We take the sacrament of Holy Union seriously and reverently. People don?t get a genuine diploma without going through the educational process. Same thing goes with this holy sacrament.
Q: Will our certificate be registered with the National Statistics Office (NSO)?
A: No. There's no legal basis for it at the moment since we have no marriage equality laws in effect in the Philippines. Please read the "SAME SEX MARRIAGE vs HOLY UNION" section above.
Q: We are qualified based on the requirements stated above. We are not LGBT. We are a heterosexual couple, biologically male and female. Can we be accorded Holy Union rites from the MCC Metro Baguio?
A: The Philippine government regulates marriage. Usually, we would rather refer straight couples to undergo marriage or Matrimony Rites in churches and institution were marriage is legally sanctioned. However, we do not discriminate all loving couples based on their sexual orientation, gender identity and expressions. Heterosexual couples who choose to undergo Holy Unions at MCC are allowed to do so. However, such rite is not legally sanctioned by current Philippine laws and therefore cannot legally claim any privileges or obligations given to marriage (i.e. Change of last name for the bride etc.) Please refer to ?WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN " MARRIAGE" AND " HOLY UNION? above. All heterosexual couples shall follow the same requirements and procedures for Holy Union mentioned above.
Q: My partner is still married to another person and is not yet legally separated / divorced. Can we have our holy union?
A: Having your holy union will not affect or change your partner's civil status. You may have your holy union with your partner provided that your partner and their spouse are (1) no longer living together, or (2) had no communication for 2 years or (3) physically or emotionally abusive or (4) spouse is already in a committed relationship with another person or (5) spouse has consented that your partner may undergo holy union with you. Please be reminded however that even after you had your holy union together, your spouse is still legally and by law, remains "married" to their legal husband or wife, unless the state grants them divorce or declares them "legally separated" or "marriage annulled".
NOW THAT YOU KNOW THE NUMBER TO TEXT...Please try not to text us with " Can I ask for requirements .." or " How much is a wedding?" or worse is "Can I ask you a question?". We would either ignore your text or get this message:
"Please visit our website at www.mccmb.webs.com"
hence, you will just end up here again. wag kayo pasaway...utang na loob!
IF YOU ARE AGAINST
DON'T MARRY SOMEONE
OF THE SAME SEX
(and RESPECT those who do)
Ad placement? contact us at [email protected]
U.S. GRANTS 1ST FIANCE VISA IN THE PHILIPPINES TO
A TRANSGENDER PINAY AND HER AMERICAN HUSBAND
In light of these changes, the American Embassy wants to educate gay Filipinos about new visa opportunities. Filipinos in same-sex relationships with Americans are encouraged to view the Visas section of the Embassy website at manila.usembassy.gov for more information.