The Rite of the 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 Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches Bylaws and it says:
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 (Lay Pastoral Leader) of the Church, Ministry leader or Deacon or UFMCC Elders of an affiliated MCC Church. After both persons have been counseled 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 witness and affirmed by their friends, family, and the Church.
Freedom of Religion
As of the present time the Family Code of the Philippines prevents the legal marriage of same sex couples (2018) in the Philippines. There is also no such legislation or jurisprudence yet recognizing the union of Transgender persons with their partners who might be construed by society and state also as a same sex union.
The Holy Union conducted by Open Table MCC is a religious ceremony that blesses, celebrates and affirms the love and commitment of persons wishing to declare their vows of life-long loving partnership and loyalty to one another.
As such, the Philippine Constitution guarantees that the Freedom of Religion is protected, in Article III, Section 5 of the Bill of Rights states that:
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 essence of the rite of the Holy Union is the exchanging of the vows of two loving persons that promise to be together for the rest of their lives with or without the legal papers. This is a private ceremony to be conducted purposely for the celebration of love.
What Holy Union Is Not
It is NOT a Marriage
The word “marriage” is a legal term that denotes the government and its laws and through its agencies recognize a particular union or partnership. As of yet, since there is no law yet in the Philippines recognizing and protecting the union of same sex or same gender couples, the Holy Union is therefore not a marriage under existing laws.
However, the Supreme Court of the Philippines in its dismissal decision of the petition filed by Atty. Jesus Falcis, said the following:
“From its plain text, the Constitution does not define, or restrict, marriage on the basis of sex, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression,”
The petition was dismissed by the Supreme Court on the grounds of technicality but the above pronouncement is a clear indication that in essence and constitutional principle, the Supreme Court agrees that there is constitutional basis for the legal marriage of same sex / same gender couples.
Open Table (MCC) Church – as with all MCC churches around the world – believes, affirms, and celebrates same sex unions as Matrimonial like any other marriages of heterosexual couples, only that as of now, the family code of the Philippines prevents same sex couples from being recognized and protected by the law. We pray, work and hope for the day that same sex unions are recognized as legal marriages our Philippine legal system.
The struggle for LGBTQI+ inclusion in state laws continues whether it be Marriage Equality or the SOGIE Equality (Anti-Discrimination) Bill.
It is NOT a solution to broken and problematic relationships
There is no magic formula or prayer or incantation that can make a bad relationship a good one. Union ceremonies are ritualizations and celebrations of what is already true and real in a relationship. Therefore, a problematic relationship entering into a Holy Union will only create more problems. Holy Union ceremony is not the solution nor the bandage to heal a problematic and conflicted relationship. In the Filipino saying which we paraphrase “Nasa Diyos ang awa at pagpapala, nasa mag-asawa ang pag-gawa.
It does NOT provide assurance of “Forever”
While it is the hope and the prayer of the ceremony that the couple will last for a lifetime or to whichever time period they wish to be with, there is also NO magic formula that binds a couple forever. There is no assurance that after the ceremony, the couple will last. The longevity of the relationship is NOT dependent upon the ceremony. The longevity of a relationship is in the commitment and effort of each partner to make the relationship work every single day. The blessing comes from God and the effort and work is with the couple.
(Nasa Diyos ang pagpapala nasa couple ang gawa)
It is NOT a means to exploit others financially or in any other way
It’s a reality that some people, especially from third-world-global-south countries like the Philippines get into romantic relationships with economically able persons from first-world-global-north countries for financial and immigration purposes. Sometimes, a person from the global south country which would be much younger in age does this to exploit and abuse the feelings of the person from the first-world country. Other times, persons from global north countries having such economic power would exploit and abuse the economic vulnerability of the person from the 3rd world country. Or even within the same country of the same nationality, such exploitative relationships happen and exist.
Holy Union Ceremonies ARE NOT CONDUCTED for such exploitative and transactional purposes even if they have a semblance of a relationship.
Open Table MCC does not condone, encourage or support any form of exploitation based on a false pretense of a romantic relationship even if there seems to have a semblance of consent. The smallest hint of such a motive for one of the couples or both shall be enough reason for Open Table MCC to deny the request for Union and it is within the right and duty of Open Table MCC to do so.
The right to have a union does not give license or leeway for exploitation and abuse and certainly, Open Table MCC will not allow itself and the ceremony it does to participate in such situations and circumstances.
Official Personnel, Website, and Social Media
Please be reminded that the following are our ONLY official links and social media accounts:
Official Website: holyunion.opentablemcc.ph or opentablemcc.ph
Official Facebook – Church: facebook.com/opentablemccph
Official Facebook – Holy Union: facebook.com/OpenTableMCCHolyUnionMinistry
Official Contact Page: www.opentablemcc.ph/contact
Open Table MCC carries its historical prior identity of Metropolitan Community Church Quezon City (MCCQC). Anyone claiming to be MCC Quezon City or MCCQC not associated with Open Table MCC is a fraudulent claim.
All Holy Union requests are submitted through this website and are transacted through our official email also listed in this website. We do not transact over the phone or Facebook Messenger.
PLEASE BE AWARE OF SOCIAL MEDIA SCAMS AND MISREPRESENTATIONS.
Be cautious of those that are attempting to pose as Open Table MCC’s other official Facebook pages and/or personnel.
Rev. Joseph San Jose is the Pastor in-charge for Open Table MCC.
Bro. Michael Mia is the alternate Officiating lay minister for Holy Unions and also Interim Board Member.
Christopher Celeste is the Church Administrator and responsible for the Church Website.
Jack Nicklaus Quimpo is the Finance Officer / Treasurer.
Sean Malang is the Church Secretary.
Open Table MCC currently has no ecclesial relationship or organizational connection with any other Church or group that is outside the MCC Denomination and is not officially authorized by MCC Denomination.
Steps to Request a Holy Union
1. Read these steps and guidelines
…carefully and thoroughly. Many of your questions will already be answered by the succeeding steps and information below. Any forwarded questions relating to the steps are going to be reverted back to this portion of our website to read again.
2. Suitability and Approval
Couples seeking Holy Union should be 25 years old and above. After years of conducting Holy Unions, a minimum age requirement for readiness (while not absolutely certain) has been determined at this age of 25 years old. Ages 21 to 24 may still be considered depending on the circumstances of the couple.
WE DO NOT DO UNIONS FOR MINORS. Based on the determination of the Pastor or Ministry Leader, ages 19 years to 21 years old are also subject to approval through counselling.
The Officiating Minister and the Church reserves the right to determine the suitability for Union based on age AND other sound ethical considerations. Pastor or Ministry leader may offer a relationship blessing instead if the request for Holy Union seems to be premature as determined.
1 Year Relationship
A couple must least be 1 year in a functional and physical relationship with each other. Long distance relationships may be considered on a case to case basis. Relationships less than 1 year may also be considered on a case to case basis.
Long Distance Relationships (LDR)
For LDRs, the couple must have been in a physical relationship of at least 1 year prior to their LDR and have been together in total of at least 2 years (1 year relationship together and 1 year LDR).
If you had previous Legal Marriage or previous Holy Union
If you had a previous legal marriage and it is in the process of divorce (from another country) or if it is in the process of annulment locally, please provide us proof of the process or certification to that effect.
If it was a previous Holy Union from other MCC Churches or another Affirming Church, please request a dissolution certificate or lifting of vows certificate or certificate of abandonment of vows from that Church where you had your previous Union ceremony. If there is any previous holy unions or previous legal marriages and there are grievance disputes with the former partner or spouse we might most likely decline the Holy Union request if documentation is not provided but we may still offer a simple blessing of relationship instead.
Open Table MCC – MCC Metro Baguio – We are sister Churches and we will know if you had Unions with the other MCC’s. We are also connected with our Emergin Minsistry, MCC Marikina. We are also friends with 2 other affirming Churches and will also have access with them if you already had a Union with them.
We do not honor any Union done by Crecensio “Ceejay” Agbayani from October 2012 onwards as his ordination credentials have been revoked in UFMCC by the council of elders & the office of the Moderator. Nor do we honor any Union officiated by and under his self-made and self-established organization. We do not have any personal or organization relationship with him and his group since October 2012, when he was removed from MCC with finality.
Age Gap or Age Difference of 8 to 10 years or More
- The younger couple must not be less than 28 years old and the older couple must not be more than 59 years old.
- Has been together and in a functional relationship for at least 3 years. Long Distance relationship is not admissible for this situation.
- For couples who have an age gap or difference from 8 to 10 years or more, a Counselling is required by the Pastor before an approval of the Union can be granted.
- Couples where one of the partners are below 28 years old and the age gap is more than 8 to 10 years will most likely be offered a blessing of relationship and will not be approved for Holy Union Ceremony.
The Pastor has the right to reject the Union request for any suspicious motive or circumstance of one or both parties.
The couples must undergo the counselling with the Pastor first before making any arrangements with establishments for their Union, like hotels, restaurants, resorts and etc.
Passing the Suitability Clause, proceed to STEP 3 (below).
3. Fill Out the Online Form (below)
Towards, the last part of this instructions will be an Online form. Fill it up and click submit. It will automatically generate and send an email to our Holy Union email box. On the Online form, do not forget to indicate your email address as this will be the primary means for us to advice you and answer your questions throughout the entire process or transaction.
ALL UNION REQUESTS are received through our online form.
Response to your Online Form Request
All Holy Union request through the online form will be answered or responded to from 4:00PM of MONDAY until FRIDAY 12:00 NN. We do not open emails from Friday 12:00NN to Monday 3:59PM and all public Holidays. From Tuesday to Thursday, you may expect a reply from us within 24 to 48 hours.
If you have not received a reply for your application or any email sent to us in 5 working days (not including holidays and weekends), you may reach out to us through our official Facebook page or mobile number (please refer to our Contact page).
There are various reasons why your application or succeeding query have not been responded to, from your email being redirected to our email’s spam folder, to emergency or health issues of the secretary or Union coordinator. Please be patient with us.
We also do not open emails from December 21 – January 3. Any requests that comes through on these dates will be responded to by January 4, 5, or 6.
Our coordinator, Secretary and officers are all volunteers and we try our best to respond to your Union requests received in this website, and all of your following questions and clarifications as best as we can and within the process days and time frames set above.
NO EMAIL ADDRESS, NO TRANSACTION.
Please use ONLY a GMail account for your email. Do not use Yahoo or iCloud emails. We have experienced multiple issues with Yahoo emails and iCloud emails. If you don’t have yet a GMail account, please create one first before submitting the online application.
We do NOT answer nor receive questions and requests through our phone or through Facebook Messenger.
We do not hold office in the Chapel. The Chapel is closed from Monday to Saturday. And as mentioned all Union Requests are received through email only.
PLEASE READ THROUGH THE ENTIRE PROCESS BEFORE FILLING OUT THE ONLINE FORM. THANK YOU. Questions relating to information already indicated here will not be answered and will be reverted back to this part of our website.
Please send your request at least 30 Calendar days prior to your chosen date and still subject to availability considering all other factors. Please DO NOT book a venue (hotel, resort, garden, etc.) without securing with Open Table Church for your wedding date.
Immediate Holy Union
NOTE: We do NOT officiate any immediate Union Ceremonies. We highly advice that you take enough time to prepare and to coordinate with us your Union request. Set enough time also and effort to meet the pastor for counselling. We do NOT officiate a “madalian/paspasan/Las Vegas-type” Union. Respect our process and policy.
4. You Will Receive an Email Confirmation from Open Table MCC
You will receive an email from our official Union email Address: [email protected]
The email will say if the date you requested is available or not. If it is not available, we will negotiate or make arrangements with you for an agreeable date (see “Date Details” below).
The email will contain an attached Registration Form. Upon receiving it, please download, print and fill out the registration form. Once filled-out, send us a scanned copy for our private internal records and scheduling. The hard copy of the Registration Form must be submitted to the Pastor or Ministry Leader on the day of your counselling together with the other documentary requirements.
All new requests and other follow-up email will be answered or responded to from 4:00PM of MONDAY until FRIDAY 12:00 NN. We do not open emails from Friday 12:00NN to Monday 3:59PM and all public Holidays. From Tuesday to Thursday, you may expect a reply from us within 24 to 48 hours.
We also do not open emails from December 22 – January 3. Any requests that comes through on these dates will be responded to by January 4.
We ask for your patience and understanding for the response time to your request and submitted form as we also do other ministries and administrative tasks. We will attend to you the soonest.
NOTE: Once you have started an email thread with us, all succeeding questions and correspondences should be sent by replying through the existing email threat you have with us. DO NOT SEND a new email to us outside of the email thread as this will cause administrative confusion.
We need to track your request and all emails relating to it under one email thread.
5. Deposit/down payment
Once date of Union has been agreed upon, make a deposit of at least 50% of the fee (PhP 3,000) (see fee & bank details below) to reserve and guarantee your date. Your requested wedding date will only be held for 10 calendar days. If we do not receive your reservation deposit within 10 calendar days, your requested date will be given to any new couple requesting the same date. The remaining balance of PhP 3,400 must be deposited again in our bank account within 14 calendar days before your wedding date or as advised in the email.
Send us back a scanned copy of the Deposit slips as proof of payment. Please write down on the deposit slip your name and date of wedding. It will also serve as your receipt. All deposit slips for the reservation and the final payment will also be submitted to the pastor on the day of your counselling session together with your other documents.
We do not receive any payment by hand or by money transfer using the name of our personnel. All fees are to be received in our bank account for proper security and recording.
6. Considerations in choosing your date of union
Please note that the Pastor or Officiating Ministers are only available for Holy Union on dates that fall on following and under such conditions:
- MONDAY, TUESDAY & WEDNESDAY – Holy Union request dates that fall on any of these dates can only be officiated if the venue is within the central area of Metro Manila (Malabon, Navotas, Caloocan & Fairview are not included), which are Ortigas Pasig, Mandaluyong, San Juan, Makati, Manila proper, Cubao and nearby areas, Marikina, Paranaque, Alabang and Taguig. Time of your Union must be between 11:00AM to 2:00PM if it is your own venue.
If it is our chapel, time of Union on these days must be between 2:00PM to 5:30PM. Cut off of 4:30PM.
- 2ND FRIDAY of the MONTH – The Pastor CANNOT conduct a Union every 2nd Friday of the Month as he has Hospital Visitations on this day
- FRIDAY & SATURDAY – Current Rest Day of the Pastor
- SATURDAY – Any venue or location and Lay Minister will officiate
- Farther provinces or locations of which the Union date fall on these dates must be coordinated or requested within 30 Calendar days, or way ahead of time.
- SUNDAY – As much as possible, the Pastor will avoid conducting a Union on Sundays as he is needed to do his pastoral, priestly, and community work for our Church congregation. The alternate lay minister will most likely officiate your Union if it falls on a Sunday.
Christian Holy Days
On major Christian Holidays we DO NOT officiate Unions:
- Holy Week – April 2 – April 13, 2020; March 25 – April 5, 2021
- Easter Sunday and Pentecost Sunday
- Pride Sunday: Saturday and Sunday nearest June 28
- Sunday Nearest October 6th as MCC Sunday
- December 23, 24, 25, 26, and December 29, 30, 31 and January 1, 2 & 3
- October 31, November 1 (All Souls) and November 2 (All Saints Day)
- September 10 to 20 as this is the Anniversary week of MCC in the Philippines
- The Pastor is not available for Unions on the Following Dates and nearest weekends to these dates, for personal and Family reasons:
- January 14
- January 29
- April 11
- October 18
- But the alternate Officiating Minister may be available on the above dates if it falls on a weekend.
Please be guided in choosing your date and day of your Holy Union. And as mentioned above, dates are also in consideration to the availability of the Officiating Minister/s as they have other responsibilities and personal schedules other than officiating Holy Union ceremonies.
- Monday to Wednesday Union
- 2:00PM if in the Chapel; 11:00AM if any venue within Metro Manila
- Saturday – Anytime between 1:00PM – 7:00PM. Cut-off is 6:00PM.
- Sunday – 2:00PM Only but we cannot guarantee.
- Any venue on a Sunday but an Alternate Minister will officiate.
REMINDER: Please make sure that an agreed date, day and time has been secured and approved before making any arrangements with suppliers and establishments.
Changes in the Agreed-Upon Date, Time, and Venue
Please inform our coordinator, through the email thread, if you wish to make any changes in the agreed-upon date, time, and/or venue of the planned Union. Do this ahead of time, and we will verify if the changes are agreeable to the schedule and circumstance of the officiating minister.
We Do Not Do Weddings for the Following Provinces – Please Contact our Sister Church, Northern Sanctuary MCC (Baguio) for them to officiate your wedding:
- Baguio City and the whole Mountain Province, Sagada & Ifugao region
- Quirino Province
- Isabella Province
- Aurora Province
- La Union
- Nueva Ecija
- Nueva Viscaya
We do not do Weddings in the following areas where there is an ongoing conflict, violence or any location or venue with safety risks.
Consider carefully to schedule your Unions between the 2nd week of June up to the end of September as this is the season of rain in the Philippines. Should you decide to have your Union on any dates that fall on the rainy season, we highly advice that you hold it indoors and in Metro Manila.
Act of Nature Clause
Also, should a storm or a severe rain fall due to the Monsoon (Habagat) cause widespread flooding in which travel would be most difficult or impossible, the Pastor or officiating minister may cancel or not go to the venue of the Union due because of the aforementioned circumstance. The Church and its officiating minister shall not be held liable or accountable for “acts of nature” circumstances that prevents him or her from going to the venue of the Union. Should such an extreme situation happen, the best we can do is to reimburse 50% of the full union fee or reschedule the Union, whichever the couple decides on such options. It is also advisable that should you decide to have your Union during the rainy season, is to have it on a venue within Makati, Muntinlupa (Alabang) or Mandaluyong City as these are the nearest cities for the Pastor.
Other acts of nature such as earth quakes and other natural calamities, or any other circumstance that has safety and health risk, Open Table Church shall prioritize the safety and health of our Pastor or Minister without any liability on the Church or any of its leaders or representatives.
Same with the counselling schedule. Should flooding and rain prevent the pastor or officiating minister, a counselling session may be cancelled and rescheduled.
7. Union counselling
Once the Holy Union date has been guaranteed, secure a schedule for the Counseling Session with the Pastor. The Counselling session happens on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in our Chapel-Office in Mandaluyong City.
If you are based in San Pedro Laguna, Alabang, Las Piñas and nearby – you may request to schedule your counselling with the Pastor in Festival Mall, Alabang instead, as this is the near the residence of the Pastor; but this is not a guarantee.
Unless initiated and scheduled by the Union Committee, we normally do not schedule counselling sessions on weekends and holidays.
THE COUNSELLING SESSION CANNOT BE WAIVED. It is important that the couple dedicate a time and make an effort to speak with the Officiating Pastor or Ministry leader in person. As much as possible we do not do the counselling on the same date of the Holy Union. We do not do Skype Counselling or any online counselling. Please set a time and availability to meet your Minister. Factor this into your calendar and travelling considerations if you are outside Manila or outside of the country.
Some Unions need an approval through counselling before a Union can be secured and some Union requests are not entertained if couple already does not meet the circumstantial and age requirements mentioned above. For those pending approval through counselling, the Pastor or Minister has the right to ascertain the circumstance of the couple and may render a favorable or unfavorable decision.
In cases of unfavorable decision, we want to affirm and clarify that this is in no way an invalidation or judgement of your relationship. With or without a Union Ceremony by Open Table MCC, you as a couple determines your relationship regardless. However, under the prerogative of the Church through its pastor or minister, your present circumstance may not necessarily require a Union ceremony or that it is beyond the scope & limitation of the Union ceremony.
As mentioned in the suitability clause above, in certain suitability situations, a counselling may first be required before a Union request is approved by the officiating minister.
The Church has an institutional due diligence, organizational right and spiritual duty to discern and ascertain the situation and circumstances of the couple and their reasons for the Union. Sometimes, very difficult and personal questions will be asked by the Pastor to facilitate clarity for the Union not just for the Pastor but more so for the welfare of the persons wanting to go through the Union ceremony. The counselling is confidential and is conducted with the utmost concern and care for the couple. Please be guided and informed accordingly.
Ask all your questions and concerns to the Pastor including questions about the ceremony.
8. Final reminders
You will receive a final email from the office of the Church secretariat with the list of reminders regarding the Union. We will also ask you to provide us the names of your witnesses who will sign on your Union Certificate.
The Pastor or Officiating Minister will require a music stand or a small podium to place the ceremony book or folder and from where to speak. A wireless microphone is also preferred. The music stand/podium is required should the Holy Union happen somewhere else other than our chapel facility.
9. Officiating Minister
The Officiating minister can either be the Pastor of the Church or one of our Lay Ministers depending on availability and other considerations. Also, your counselling person may not always be the same person who will officiate your wedding.
If you have a special request for a particular officiating minister, we can only do so on a best efforts basis. We cannot guarantee your requested minister especially if your request is the Pastor of the Church. Our Lay Ministers are equally trained, skilled and authorized by the Pastor and the Board to officiate the wedding/holy union ceremony.
10. See you on the Holy Union date.
- Photocopy of Birth Certificate – hard copy submitted on the day of the counselling
- Deposit Slips of payment (Write name and date of wedding in deposit slip. Send photo via email and both reservation and final payment slips are to be submitted on the day of the counselling)
- Open Table MCC Holy Union Registration Form (soft copy to be sent through email by replying to the email thread started with us. Hard copy is to be submitted to the Pastor on the day of the counselling)
- Valid Government issued ID with clear photo (Passport, SSS ID, NBI, TIN ID, Voter’s ID) – hard copy submitted on the day of the counselling
- The Church may require other legal documents or notarized affidavits for Holy Union requests that has special circumstances or situations similar but not limited to past legal separations, past annulments and/or divorce (even if the previous marriage or union was from another country) of one or both persons. Dissolution certificate of previous Union ceremonies from other affirming Churches.
ALL OF THESE DOCUMENTS, THE PHOTOCOPIES MUST BE SUBMITTED TO THE PASTOR ON THE DAY OF THE COUNSELLING SESSION.
Cost of Holy Union (covers the Holy Union Certificate, Counseling, and Liturgical Mass)
Holy Union Fee based on location – PhP 7,400
For Weddings Within Metro Manila and surrounding provinces of Laguna, Batangas, Cavite, Rizal and Bulacan – Fee is only PhP 6,400, not including transportation.
PhP7,400 – Weddings outside of Metro Manila and the above provinces. Transportation also not included.
This change shall be applicable for all reserved and pending weddings from March 2020 onwards.
For other Provinces and farther areas that would require an assistant to come with the pastor, including Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Cagayan Valley, Batanes, Catanduanes, Marinduque and Masbate the Union Fee is PhP 7,900.
Requiring an assistant to join the Pastor or minister is determined by the Holy Union Committee in consideration to all situations and circumstances of the wedding.
Higher cost and other remunerations may be required depending on the situation and venue of the couple that may require the Pastor to travel longer distances, longer hours or will take 2 to 3 days.
As already aforementioned we will avoid as much as we can complex and far distanced venues and areas to ensure the safety and health of our Pastor and other personnel. At the same time, we will work our very best to accommodate couples with the distance and complexity of the area of their venues within sound judgement and reasonable financial cost
We Do Not Do Weddings for the Following Provinces – Please Contact our Sister Church, Northern Sanctuary MCC (Baguio) for them to officiate your wedding:
- Baguio City and the whole Mountain Province, Sagada & Ifugao region
- Quirino Province
- Isabella Province
- Aurora Province
- La Union
- Nueva Ecija
- Nueva Viscaya
The funds received from the Holy Union are used primarily for the ministry and operations of the Church and does not profit the Church or anyone in particular. All of it goes to the cost of Ministries and Operations (electricity and water bills, liturgical supplies, pastoral and staff living support, HIV ministry, communications, facility rental, etc). These means that couples availing of our Union ceremony are in some way financially participating in the life, ministry & mission of the Church community. This amount has been assessed and determined by the Administrative Board of the Church.
Added Cost: Depending on the situation, circumstance, distance and physical impact of the Union request to our staff, the Church may require additional costs and logistical requirements. See details below on Travel Cost.
A STIPEND or Love-Gift for the Pastor is optional. The Stipend is usually what we can construe as a ‘TIP’ for the officiating minister. Regardless of what reasonable cost or expenses has been required, the Stipend is a separate monetary gift to the Officiating Minister. A portion of it is also given to the Assistant (if the wedding necessitates to have an assistant.) Yet the Stipend is optional. Although we do encourage the couple to give a stipend especially for those Unions that have very complex issues, concerns, and travelling situations. Should you decide to give, it is up to you how much to give as a stipend.
NOTE: Fees does not include cost of flowers and other logistical requirements of ceremony. Open Table MCC does not provide wedding coordination services.
Financial Agreements: All of the costs and charges associated with the Holy Union and any of its particular circumstance or situation are discussed and agreed upon through the email exchange between the couple or the Union Coordinator acting on behalf of the Church leadership. A breakdown of additional costs is provided for out-of-town Unions. Open Table MCC prides itself with utmost integrity and transparency and any or all financial concerns especially with the Union Ceremony are well thought of within sound and practical reason.
Transportation Cost of Pastor/Ministry Leader and Assistant
Principle of Transportation Cost
The farther the venue is, the more complex the travel arrangement the more expensive it will be. The main idea is for you to bring our Pastor (officiating minister; and assistant if required) to your venue, back and forth from his home as comfortable and as safe as possible, with no additional financial burden on his part. We also take into consideration the impact of the travel on his physical health. Certain situations may require accommodations, an extensive travel plan that will be discussed with you (especially if venue is in Bantayan Island or something similar) or additional compensation due to the time and/or impact of the travel. We do not ask, require or charge beyond what is reasonable, but be aware that depending on the complexity of YOUR desired Union, that will determine the cost of bringing our Pastor (and assistant) to your venue and back.
- If the Union’s venue is anywhere in the central area of Metro Manila, a minimum of PhP 600 shall be given to the Pastor. The amount can be higher depending on the cost of taxi or TNVS (such as Grab), if it necessitates for the Pastor to take a taxi or Grab to go to and from the venue. Far places like Fairview or distant parts of Quezon City and Caloocan may be a little higher.
- If Ceremony is held somewhere else, the Secretariat will inform you the amount of the transportation fee based on our Travel Matrix and Policy which we have determined and have assessed based on our historical experience of doing Holy Unions in several areas in and around NCR and other provinces.
- Accommodations may be required from the couple depending on the location, travel time and circumstances of the Holy Union.
- For very far and long travels that require air travel or bus travel for 4 hours and more. (Ilocos, Bicol, Boracay, Mindanao, etc). The Pastor or Ministry Leader will always have an Assistant to go with him for safety purposes. This is non-negotiable.
- We wish to mitigate the impact of long travels to our personnel. Air Travel will always be preferred and required for out of town trips. If Bus travel of 6 to 8 hours can be avoided, we will. If the travel will really necessitate in a prolonged travel via Bus and other means, we will ascertain if the Union request can be honored or declined. We may require a car or van to pick up the pastor and bring him back to his home area.Long travels that takes a combination of transports, example air-travel with bus travel then another boat ride then a final road travel to venue – has historically impacted the health of our personnel, especially that of the Pastor and we wish to avoid this as much as possible. Such long and arduous travels also impacts the schedule of the Pastor or minister and staff for other important events, meetings and representations elsewhere. We may require a more spaced out travelling plan for the Pastor and assistant, and also additional compensation.
- Long travels that takes a combination of transports, example air-travel with bus travel then another boat ride then a final road travel to venue – has historically impacted the health of our personnel, especially that of the Pastor and we wish to avoid this as much as possible. Such long and arduous travels also impacts the schedule of the Pastor or minister and staff for other important events, meetings and representations elsewhere. We may require a more spaced out travelling plan for the Pastor and assistant, and also additional compensation.
- Also for very long travels and depending on the travel circumstance a meal allowance will also be required. Usually, a meal allowance ‘going to’ and a meal allowance ‘going from’. A meal allowance is usually PhP 150 per person per meal (subject to change in the future).
- You Will BOOK: For any Air-travel or Hotel should the situation require, you are responsible for making those arrangements and booking them. We will not book it for you nor are we going to accept any money relating to booking of hotel or airfare for our personnel. This is something that the couple has to do if and when the situation and agreement requires. For long bus travels, the Pastor will do the reservation and buy the tickets and will just be reimbursed of the bus tickets by the couple.
- Travel Insurance: The couple is required to put an additional travel insurance on the plane tickets of the pastor and assistant, both go-to flight and the return flight. Ensure that terminal fees are included in the airfare also.
- Travel Bond: For long and far travels also, upon determination and discretion of the church leadership, a Travel Bond may be requested from the couple. This travel bond is also to be deposited to the church’s bank account together with the initial payment. Once the Pastor and assistant has returned safely home without any additional adverse expenses to them, the travel bond will be returned to the couple within 10 to 15 working days. Any cost not anticipated including not agreed upon prolonged hours of the Union, may be deducted also from the travel bond. Provide us a bank account where to transfer back the funds. The Travel Bond is included in our Travel Matrix and Policy. Depending on the assessed risk, this bond would be between PhP 5000 and PhP 15,000, or could be higher if request is outside the Philippines. As aforementioned, the bond will be returned in full once the Pastor and Assistant has returned safe and with no financial challenges or burdens experienced by them outside of what was agreed upon.
- Should request be outside the country and require a VISA application, the couple will shoulder the VISA application fees of the Pastor and assistant, including transport and meal cost each time the Pastor would need to go to Embassy or Processing center to apply for the VISA. Also any other cost for VISA such as photos and documentation will also be charged to the couple. Couple must provide whatever documentation is required for the VISA application such as Letter of Invitation, Proof of Booking of Hotel and Airline, Travel Insurance. This is non-refundable and if the Pastor and assistant gets denied of the VISA, our personnel and the Church as a whole has no financial, legal or moral responsibility or accountability with the couple or their representative.
- Other more complex issues on travel, the Travel Matrix and Policy may be enforced and a copy be provided to the couple or the coordinator acting on their behalf.
Land Transportation Policy for Venues in Cities and Towns Surrounding Metro Manila
Transportation for the following Cities:
Any City or town in Batangas, Any City or Town in Laguna, Quezon, Cavite including Tagaytay, Any City or Town in Rizal, Las Pinas, Muntinlupa, Paranaque:
You will arrange a car transport for the Pastor to be picked up in San Pedro, Laguna going to your venue of the above city or town. The Pastor or Officiating Minister will be returned by the same transport-car also to San Pedro Laguna.
If our Lay Minister will be the one to officiate your Union, the pick-up point will be in Glorietta, Ayala, Makati.
The Church secretariat may request a PhP 3,000 Bond to secure this request, of which the bond will be returned to the couple after the Union and that the transportation back and forth has been provided as agreed upon.
Transportation for the following Cities:
Bulacan, Pampanga, Zambales
The same transport must be arranged and guaranteed, and pick up and drop off point can be in Megamall.
However, since the Pastor will be traveling to and from the pick-up-drop-off point, a standard Metro Manila Transport charge of PhP 600 will be required on top of the car-transport the couple will be arranging for the Minister. Likewise a PhP 3,000 Bond may be required from the couple.
Rolling over Day’s Wage for Unions more than 8 hours
If the Union will take more than 8 hours because of whatever reason, the couple will be charged an additional day’s wage of PhP 550 and every 8 hours rolling. PhP 400 day’s wage will be for the Admin assistant, rolling over in excess of 8 hours.
The reason for this is because we have experienced in the past that some Unions takes a lot of time 2 to 3 days depending on the travel details and distance and that the additional days have not been compensated. The additional days takes away important work or rest for the officiating minister and volunteer administrative assistant.
If the additional rolling over hours and days were not anticipated prior to the day of the Union, this will be deducted from the Travel Bond and will be duly informed by the secretariat.
For Venues that Require Air Travel
This will be discussed with you once your application has been accepted and the date and venue of your Union has been agreed upon with our Secretariat.
ALL FINANCIALS ARE AGREED UPON THROUGH THE EMAIL THREAD
All financials, including additional costs and other logistical requirements will be discussed through the application email-thread you have started with us. We do not discuss such matters on other social media or internet platforms, and such discussions or agreements not through the official application email are considered invalid and will not be honored. Please be careful of any possible outside scams.
You may send your Reservation Fees to:
China Bank Account
Account Name: Metropolitan Community Church Quezon City Inc
Account No.: 240-000943-4
(Open Table MCC retains its SEC corporate identification of “Metropolitan Community Church Quezon City”, hence our bank account remains to be under this account name.)
NOTE: We do not receive any payment by hand or by money transfer using the name of our personnel. All fees are to be received in our bank account for proper security and recording.
We will issue a Holy Union Certificate, certifying your Holy Union under the Metropolitan Community Church.
Cancellation Request, Rescheduling and Refund
- The couple may request to reschedule or cancel their Holy Union at least 3 working days prior to the Union date.
- Rescheduling request is subject to the availability of the new date being requested as stated above the section “Considerations in choosing your date of Union”
- For cancellation of the Union, please send us a notice at least 3 working days before the Holy Union date.
- Refund regarding cancellation:
- Reservation Deposits (Down) are non-refundable when Union is cancelled whichever time.
- Final payment are refundable on a case to case basis.
- No refund for cancellation 5 days prior to the Union date
- If ever a refund is granted a PhP 300 administrative and service charge will be deducted from the refundable amount. If the request is to return the funds via money transfer through Western Union, LBC or Palawan Padala – any service charge of the transmittal will also be deducted.
These policies and guidelines may change without prior notice.
Important Reminder on Conduct:
Opent Table MCC as a Church and through its duly authorized representatives and ministry leaders reserves the right to decline and cancel any pending request for Union and/or reserved Union for any offensive attitude, rudeness, impactful negligence, unacceptable behavior and language of the couple and/or anyone acting on their behalf, towards Open Table MCC as an institution and towards any of its officers, members, ministry leaders and Pastors. If the couple or anyone acting on their behalf also proves to be making things difficult or are unable to follow instructions and steps, Open Table MCC may also decide to decline the Union request. We also reserve the right to decline or cancel a Union for any harmful risks that may also arise in the process of the Union.
Financial Difficulty for Holy Union
Financial difficulties should not be a hindrance or difficulty for any couple. We are flexible and amenable to any couple who truly want to have a Union Ceremony despite their financial struggles.
You can still talk to us as honest and as true as you can and still make arrangements for a Holy Union ceremony. Passing the suitability of the Union, we will not withhold the Rite of Holy Union if the ONLY issue is financial difficulty.
Releasing of Vows – “Dissolution” Request, or Declaration of Abandonment
We do not do a dissolution. What the Church does is an amicable “releasing or lifting of vows”. This is mutual agreement of the couple to release each other from the vows they have made in their Holy Union Ceremony.
The request shall constitute 1 counselling session and the ceremony of releasing of vows. It may be done on the same day. This will require that both couples be present for the lifting of vows.
There is a fee of PhP 3,000.00 for this request.
A lifting of vows request, and its associated fees, is non-refundable.
Counselling and Releasing of Vows ceremony is conducted only in our chapel.
A certificate of the lifting of vows shall be provided.
If one of the partners is already deceased, then there is no need for lifting of vows as it automatically frees the living partner from the vows made.
You have to come TOGETHER to do the counselling and do the short lifting of vows ceremony.
You also need at least 2 witnesses to witness the releasing of vows and to sign the certificate or release.
When you had your Union, you came together to seek God’s blessing through the Church, therefore the releasing of Vows has to also be done together.
Declaration of the ABANDONMENT of Vows
Abandonment of Vows Definition: When one partner has left the other partner for whatever reason, with or without notice, and no longer has any functional and physical relationship with each other.
- Proven beyond reasonable doubt through documentation that the other party has abandoned the other person for at least 1 year.
- Physical and verbal violence of one partner towards the other – Must have legal document like Police Report to prove physical violence.
- Any other situation with reasonable proof or evidence that renders the relationship dysfunctional and unstable.
- If for any doubt of the situation, the Pastor may grant the abandonment certificate 1 year after the initial application for abandonment.
We hope and pray that couples undergoing our Union Ceremony will not have to resort to the Releasing of Vows or Abandonment Process, but if anyone really needs to, then we do it through the proper process with mutual respect.
Requesting Documents of Previous Union
- Fill up the Union Online form. Indicate the name of the couple and the date when the Union happened and where.
- State on the “other details” what documentation you are requesting and for what purpose. Is one of the couples requesting it or is it being requested on their behalf?
- Submit the request and wait for 24 to 48 hours for a reply through email. PLEASE Indicate an email address as this is the only way we are going to reply back to you.
- You will receive a paper-form (soft copy) that you need to fill-up and resend to us.
- We may ask a scanned copy of a letter of request signed by one or both couples. Have this already prepared. Address the letter to: Ptr Joseph San Jose Administrative Pastor Open Table MCC
- You will be charged PhP 350 of admin Fee (cost of printing, transport & etc) plus the LBC delivery charge which we will set at PhP 200 if the address is within Metro Manila and nearby areas. Current LBC charge for the said areas are anywhere between PhP 160 to PhP 195, hence we are setting it at a standard of PhP 200. Should the address of delivery cost more, we will get back to you and inform you of the additional cost.
- The Fee is to be deposited in our Chinabank account. The deposit slip sent via email. Once deposit of the total amount has been received, allow us 3 to 5 working days to send the documentation through LBC.
- We cannot send the original copy of the Certificate. We will send a different certification that attest the veracity of the Union/Wedding Ceremony.
- Once sent, we will immediately email to you the tracking number of the delivery.
- Requested documentations without letter of authorization from the one or both couples cannot be released in their behalf.
For Open Table MCC’s location info, phone numbers, and email – click here.
Holy Union FAQs
- Is the Union legal?
Answer: No it is not legally recognized. There is no legal effect. It is purely a religious ceremony.
- Is the Holy Union Illegal?
Answer: No. It is not illegal. The Union Ceremony is a religious ceremony protected by the Philippine Constitution in its provision on Religious Freedom.
- Why do you call it Holy Union and not Marriage?
Answer: The term “Marriage” is a legal term that means it has legal recognition and protection by the Republic of the Philippines. We do not call our ceremony as marriage because as of present date, there are no marriage equality laws yet in the Philippines recognizing and protecting the union of two people of the same gender or situations where one of the partners identify as a transgendered person.
- Why do you charge a cost or fee for Holy Union?
Answer: Back in 2013 there has a been a debate within the Church leadership on the need to charge a cost for the Union.
The decision is to the charge a cost of Union because of several reasons:
1. The charge appropriately provides a certain degree of financial maturity for the couple. Also in a subtle way, it forces the couple to think about their readiness for a long time or life long relationship that entails the reality of shared finances. The cost of Union helps to a certain degree a sense of planning and thinking in terms of the realities of a relationship.
2. Many couples who wish to have a Union ceremony are willing to spend a lot of money for the venue, the food, the sound system, the photography, the clothes and many others. It is but fitting that the primary instrument and institution by which the Union will transpire is also given due respect and importance through a financial contribution to its ministry and operations.
- Why 6,400? Who determined the cost and why?
Answer: The PhP 6,400 Union Charge was determined by the Local Church Administrative Board (LCAB) of Open Table MCC. This amount was deemed practical and reasonable given the operational and ministry needs of the Church as well as the reasons provided above of the couple’s contribution to the Church and an amount that actually sets financial priorities and readiness for the Couple. The Funds collected from the Union Ceremony are primarily used for the ministry and operations of the Church, namely: liturgical supplies, electricity and water bills, pastoral and staff support, HIV/AIDS ministry, communication costs, retreats and other Church activities.
- What if we cannot afford the PhP 6,400 Cost of Union?
Answer: Talk to us and be as honest and as open as possible. We are willing to make arrangements with the couple as how we can best provide the Holy Union ceremony and not having the financial difficulty be a hindrance to a sincere request for a Union Ceremony.
- What does the Holy Union Cost include?
Answer: The Union fee only includes the certificate to be issued and given after the wedding ceremony. It also covers Administrative costs. It DOES NOT INCLUDE any flowers, designs or any logistical costs. It DOES NOT INCLUDE the transportation of the officiating minister and admin assistant.
- Do we need to pay for the transportation of the Minister and Admin Assistant?
Answer: Yes, the couple has the responsibility to shoulder the cost of the transportation of the officiating Minister and Admin Assistant. Please see the Transportation Matrix.
- Do we give any donation or stipend or love-gift to the officiating minister?
Answer: It is optional. We encourage a stipend (tip) but it is ultimately up to the couple.
- If we are a straight couple (man and woman) can we request for a holy union?
Answer: Yes, you can. However, it will still be a purely a religious ceremony with NO legal recognition and effect.
- Will other countries recognize our Holy Union in MCC?
Answer: MCC has a global presence and is well known in certain countries like Canada and in the US; however each country has its own laws regarding marriage and immigration. We suggest you consult with the Embassy or Immigration Office of the country you are migrating to, in relation to the acceptability and immigration effects of the Holy Union Ceremony you have done in Open Table MCC. The Union Certificate, depending on the embassy or immigration office of a particular country, MAY consider the certificate as proof of togetherness.
- How will the ceremony happen? Can we get a copy?
Answer: The Ceremony details will be discussed by the officiating minister during the counseling session. You may request a copy of the ceremony from the officiating minister.
For Open Table MCC’s location info, phone numbers, and email – click here.
Request for a Holy Union
After answering the form, please expect an email from us within 24 to 48 hours. If you answered the form on a weekend or a holiday, expect to receive an email from us on the next business day.
Last Updated: 24 February 2020