> Single, divorced, separated, widow, widower,
> Payment of the Holy Union Fee prior to the ceremony
> Pre-Holy Union registration (forms to be provided by the MCC)
> Pre-Holy Union counselling with the officiating minister/pastor
> at least 18 years old
> at least 8 months in a stable and loving relationship
1) Communicate with the MCCMB Secretariat through Gregory Rugay ( www.facebook.com/jojorugay) or mobile number 0927-519-6640 (Smart)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 bank payment:
Down payments for holy union shall be made 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. 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 Messenger. Discuss the details of the ceremony like venue, date, time, name of 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:
Gender Identity: *
Full Name of Couple B:
Nickname of Couple B:
Gender Identity: *
Name of Official Witness/es (min 1, maximum: 6)
*GENDER IDENTITY- One's innermost concept of self as male, female, a blend of both or neither – how individuals perceive themselves and what they call themselves. One's gender identity can be the same or different from their sex assigned at birth. (It sometimes answers the question "what pronouns would you like to be addressed with? He? She? Him? Her? Miss? Mister? Ate? Kuya? Mare? Pare?)
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.Make your vows meaningful. Always attempt to make your vows in the venacular or language you are comfortable saying or reading. It doesn't have to be in english if you are not an english-speaking person. We don't like to see your nose bleeding while declaring your vows.
5) Buy your wedding rings, wedding veil, wedding cord, unity candles, unity sand, jars, and other pre-ceremony arrangements (reception and catering, hotel accommodations, invitations etc)
6) Constantly update the pastor of any changes. Remember, It is your obligation to update us regarding changes. We are not psychic nor mind-readers.
7) 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.
8) Privately settle all payable fees in full BEFORE the ceremony with the secretariat or the pastor. It is best to settle all payable fees during the counseling
9) A ceremony rehearsal may be requested if time permits. After the ceremony, sign your "Certificate of Holy Union" and take photos.
10) Eat heartily on your wedding reception if there's any.
HOLY UNION FEES:
Ceremony performed within Baguio City (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 outside Baguio City (in non-MCC designated venue):
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 or secretariat. 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.
Effective October 21, 2011, The Local Church Administration Board (LCAB) 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. Down payments for holy union shall be made through CHINA BANK:
Account Name: METROPOLITAN COMMUNITY CHURCH - BAGUIO CITY, INC.
Account No. 371-009331-7
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 however, this is non-compulsary.
The counseling, registration forms and use of the MCC venue is free. No fees shall be collected for these purposes.
JUST SO YOU 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 and commitment to 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.
You don't need to be an MCC to avail of the rites of Holy Union. You can be Roman Catholic, Evangelical, Protestant, ADD, INC, Jehovah's Witness, Baptist, Lutheran, Pentecostal, Born-Again, Wiccan, Muslim, Hindu, agnostic, atheist...etc. All are welcome! God doesn't discriminate so why should we?
The MCC in the Philippines DOES NOT officiate Same-Sex "MARRIAGE". We only officiate "HOLY UNION" or "Commitment Ceremonies" for LGBT couple. We also don’t officiate Holy Union to "third sex". We only do Holy Unions for Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgenders (LGBT) and their straight partners. Anyway, there's no such thing as "third sex". It does not exist.
MARRIAGE vs. HOLY UNION:
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN " MARRIAGE" AND " HOLY UNION"?
There are no provisions under the current Philippine law allowing equal rights to marriage. Only cisgender people and of the opposite biological sex are currently allowed 'marriage" in the Philippines. Although we stand to support the struggle for equal rights to marriage, the MCCMB DOES NOT officiate "MARRIAGE" between LGBT couples because we have no law allowing it at this time. On the other hand, "HOLY UNION" is a sacrament of the Church. It is a rite being conducted by the MCC in the Philippines for LGBT couples who wish to declare their partnership and unconditional love for their partner before God and the community of faithful. Holy Union rites are neither legal or illegal. A holy union may not be legally-binding under current Philippine laws but it is morally-binding under God. Even when you enter into Holy Union, you will not be able to change your last name. You would need a court order to do so. You may also legally change your civil status from "single" to "married" ONLY ON FACEBOOK but never on any legal documents. So please don't ask us "Will the union be registered with the National Statistics Office ?" The answer is NO.
All couples undergoing Holy Union at MCC Metro Baguio shall be asked to sign a pre-holy union statement, together with the registration form, in the presence of any church official or witness stating that they have understood all these perfectly.
Until we work together to pressure government to enact laws upholding EQUAL RIGHTS for ALL to choose who to love, equal rights to marriage in the Philippines would continue to be a dream. Let's hope that one day, MARRIAGE EQUALITY becomes a reality in the Philippines. However, your HOLY UNION partnership in the Philippines may be legally recognized in other countries where Marriage Equality is legislated, such as Canada, Spain, Denmark, USA, Brazil, Sweeden, Puerto Rico, Germany... etc. More and more countries and States are recognizing Marriage Equality which has brought healing in many peoples lives.
But in the Philippines, despite the absence of Marriage Equality, LGBTs will continue to enter into loving and committed relationships and no amount of religious bigotry and ignorance can stop people from loving who they choose. MCC will continue to celebrate and officiate all expressions of LOVE, anytime, anywhere. Legal or not, we follow the highest moral law which is LOVE.
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”
SOME THINGS YOU NEED TO CONSIDER WHEN PLANNING YOUR HOLY UNION CEREMONY:
1) The date: consider the time of year. If its going to be on a summer or during the rainy season. This is important specially if you plan to have an outdoor ceremony. Will there be a shade to protect you and everyone from the elements. Planning a ceremony for the rainy months is a challenge for outdoor ceremonies.
2) Time. Will there be ample lighting if you want to have a late afternoon ceremony? Will everyone be able to read the program in the evening. This is tricky when you have a ceremony outdoor and there are no other light source other than the moon and the stars and the burning candles and cellphone backlights.
3) When doing a big ceremony, consider using microphones. Are there microphones available in the venue? Would there be a sound system available? You don’t want to be shouting your vows for everyone to hear.
4) Beach weddings. What attire you need to wear and how appropriate it is for such a venue? Consider the wind that may constantly blow the lighted candles out when on a beach. Bear in mind that you wouldn't want yourself and everyone else to bake under the hot sun when you have a beach-side wedding.
5) Be considerate about the pastor’s means of transportation going to and from the ceremony venue like taxi reimbursements, together with their meals while on the trip. They may bear God's message but pastors can't turn stone to bread. Where could he and his companion rest / sleep after a tiring trip? Please be considerate. They are human beings, not cows.
6) Music for the ceremony. Prepare the music you want played for your ceremony. Are there CD players or MP3 players available? Do you have connectors for the sound system? Do coordinate this with the pastor as some liturgical church music are included in the ceremony. Consider appointing someone to operate the music during the ceremony. You also need to coordinate this with the venue staff if the ceremony would be held in a function hall or hotel of your choice.
7) Wedding planners are helpful and takes a lot of burden off the couple. Remember to always make it clear to them what you want and not what they want. Work on compromise but you are always the boss since it is your wedding, not theirs. Make the wedding planner coordinate with the MCC too. They are obligated to.
8) If you are to postpone the ceremony to another date for any reason, inform the MCC immediately. Do not expect us to know all your plans and leave us guessing. We are no mind-readers. In today's age, you can easily get in touch tru email, SMS, landline calls, FB chat etc. Practice common courtesy. Postponements are subject to the availability of schedules of the church.
MOST COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Q: How much would it cost to have a Holy Union?
A: Please READ "holy union fees" above.
Q: Where is the MCC Metro Baguio chapel located?
A: The MCC Metro Baguio is a small congregation and holds its official functions at the pastor's residence. We sometimes hold our worship services in homes, parks, bars, restaurants and garages. Currently, we are holding worship service every Saturday at Parisas st., Camp 7, Kennon Rd, Baguio City. PM or text the secretariat at 0947-456-4537. Do not come without prior appointment.
Q: Who can we contact to schedule our wedding date in MCC?
A: You can contact the MCC Metro Baguio secretariat through mobile number 0927-519-6640 (Smart), or email at [email protected] or MCC Metro Baguio Facebook Messenger or through Mr. Gregory Rugay on Facebook. Please note that the secretariat nor Mr. Rugay isn't on duty 24/7 and would sometimes needs to sleep, eat, party like any ordinary person so please be courteous as he tries to accomodate and reply to countless inquiries he recieves daily. Yes folks, our secretariat and Mr. Rugay are human persons, not an automated answering machine.
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 social media. 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: 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 even if the ceremony was held inside your bedroom of in the grandest luxurious 5-star 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.
For further info, refer to Question #1.
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 nearest you that can do government functions and have your civil union there. The MCC is a church and we do church 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. However, this applies to MCC in Baguio City only. Other MCC congregation in the Philippines may have their own policies on this though.
Q: Is there divorce in MCC?
A: No, since we have no law on divorce in the Philippines yet. 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. A "dissolution of Holy Union" should be filed by the couple to the pastor who shall then, after discernment shall issue a certificate of dissolution. The couple are not allowed to have another holy union ceremony within one year after the certificate of dissolution has been granted by the pastor. The couple may also be restricted to have their union from any MCC churches or associate affirming church that conducts LGBT unions within a year after dissolution of previous union has been granted.
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 and the secretariat 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. Google and see photos of unity candles used for weddings.
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 government IDs and diplomas at a certain price. MCC Metro Baguio is not among them. We strictly follow a “No ceremony, no certificate” policy. We take the sacrament of Holy Union seriously. People don’t get a genuine diplomas without going through the educational process. Same thing goes with the Sacrament of holy union.
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 "MARRIAGE vs HOLY UNION" section above
Q: We are qualified based on the requirements stated above. We are not LGBT. We are a cisgender 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 cisgender couples to undergo marriage or Matrimony Rites in churches and institution were marriage is legally sanctioned. However, we do not discriminate against all loving couples based on their sexual orientation, gender identity and expressions. Heterosexual cisgender 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, cisgender couples shall follow the same requirements and procedures for Holy Union mentioned above. An MCC clergy with a licence to officiate marriage may however conduct legal marriage among cisgender couples in the Philippines sanctioned by law.
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 are living together, or (2) had no communications within the last 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 "annulled".
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.
The most beautiful word in the Gospel of Jesus Christ is "Whosoever". All of God's promises are intended for every human being. This includes gay men and lesbians. How tragic it is that the Christian Church has excluded and persecuted people who are homosexuals.
We are all created with powerful needs for personal relationships. Our quality of life depends upon the love we share with others, whether family or friends, partners or peers. Yet lesbians and gay men facing hostility in society are often denied access to healthy relationships. Jesus Christ calls us to find ultimate meaning in life through a personal relationship with our creator. This important spiritual union can bring healing and strength to all of our human relationships.
We firmly believe that God's love for all people is universal and unconditional.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, so whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16)
Now, more and more Christian churches and denominations are begining to open up their doors to welcome all. MCC Metro Baguio embraces everyone who believes that love binds us all to God who loves us the way He created us. Experience spirituality that celebrates your sexuality and holy identity without fear of discrimination and condemnation. Come as you are. Join the community of believers and proclaim to all that God LOVES us the way we are!
BAGUIO AIDS WATCH COUNCIL (AWAC)