Weddings, Baptisms and Funerals

Weddings

Whether you're just dreaming of a church wedding, or well into the planning already, your church wants to help and support you.
The Church of England thoroughly believes in marriage for the wellbeing of individuals and society. If you have found 'the one', and you are committed to each other in every respect, there is so much more adventure ahead.

Thanks to a change in the law, there are more churches to choose from for your special day and for generations to come. 

There are some things about marrying in church that you just can't get anywhere else. It's your wedding. Let us help you make it personal, meaningful, spiritual, beautiful.
There are certain things that must happen in a church wedding to ensure the marriage complies with both UK civil and church law.
In marriage you take on a whole new legal status. The vicar knows how to advise and prepare you for your wedding day and everything must comply with all relevant UK and Church of England laws. These are the main legal points to consider before you begin planning:-
You must be old enough
If you are under 18 years old you will need your parents’ consent to marry and by law you can not be married in the UK until you are 16.
Changes to same-sex marriage legislation
Although same sex-marriage legislation is now in force, it remains the case that it is not legally possible for same-sex couples to marry in the Church of England.

Marrying away from where you live
It’s possible to get married in a church that’s away from where you live if you have a certain kind of connection with it. You may be legally connected to a number of churches in different ways.

Time of wedding
The wedding must take place between 8am and 6pm on any day.

Guidelines for divorcees
There are special guidelines on marriage in the church if you are divorced. There may well be a way forward, but you will need to talk your Vicar about your situation to explore the possibilities for you.

Reading of Banns
Most Church of England marriages will require banns to be published before the wedding can take place. You won’t need to arrange banns until about four months before your wedding date.

If there is not enough notice given for the banns to be read before the marriage is due to take place, or in the case of the marriage of people who are not nationals of a country within the European Economic Area, or if one or both of you does not live in England or Wales, it is recommended that the Licence procedure be used rather than banns.

Licences
There are some circumstances in which you may need a Special Licence, Common Licence or a Superintendent Registrar’s Certificate to marry in church. Your vicar will let you know if these apply to you.
Documents you’ll need

  • All couples will need to show the vicar their passport as proof of nationality. If you don’t have a passport, there are other documents which would be acceptable, so ask your vicar about this.
  • If either or both of you are divorced, you will need to bring your decree absolute for the vicar to see.
  • You may also be asked to provide evidence of your connection to the church, such as utility bills which show you live or have lived in the parish, or your parents’ marriage certificate if they were married there, for example. You vicar will guide you on acceptable documents for your particular connection.

Visit the Your Church Wedding website to look at some simple steps to make the arrangements. (link below)

Baptism

Baptism, or 'Christening' as it is sometimes called, is the way we make public our personal Christian commitment. Jesus was baptised in the river Jordan at the start of his ministry, and ever since, Christians have baptised new believers as the sign of their own commitment to personal Christian discipleship.
The symbolism is powerful. The person being baptised passes through the water of death; he or she dies to her old life lived apart from God, and is raised to a new life, to be lived in prayerful obedience to God. In response to this, and through the death and resurrection of Jesus, God forgives the person of all past wrong, and treats him or her as is he or she had never sinned.
After baptism, the person baptised is greeted by the members of the local Christian congregation, and welcomed into their fellowship. So an individual is always baptised into a local Christian congregation, but also into the world-wide fellowship of Christians of all (Trinitarian) denominations.

Baptising Children and Infants

From the earliest times, Christians have baptised whole families, including children. Clearly, infants cannot make a personal commitment to Christian discipleship, so the Christian parents or parent, helped by 'Sponsors', or 'Godparents', make the promises on their behalf.
The Parents and Godparents promise to bring the Child up in a Christian home, to take part in Christian worship on a regular basis, and when the child is old enough, to bring him or her to the Bishop so that the child can 'Confirm' for him or her self the promises of personal Christian commitment that were made on his or her behalf at baptism.

How to arrange a Baptism or Christening

Baptisms should normally take place in the parish where the person being baptised lives. Adults seeking baptism, or parents seeking baptism for their children, should make direct contact with the Church of England minister of that parish.

Discover all you need to know about choosing, planning and going to a Church of England christening by visiting the Church of England Christenings website. (link below)

Funerals

A funeral marks the close of a human life on earth. It is the opportunity for friends and family to express their grief, to give thanks for the life which has now completed its journey in this world and to commend the person into God's keeping.
As far back into history as we can penetrate, human beings seem to have felt the need for a ceremonial leave-taking of those who have died.
A funeral service in the Church of England - whether in a parish church or a crematorium chapel - may be very short and quiet with only a few members of the family present, or an occasion of great solemnity with music, hymns and a packed church.  A funeral may also be set within a celebration of Holy Communion.
Whatever the pattern of service, the words and actions all speak of a loving God and the preciousness to him of every human being.

At the Waterside Group we will always be here to help you through one of life's most difficult times.

If you have questions of life and death; the funeral service; arranging a funeral; burials and cremations; after the funeral contact us or visit the Church of England website (link below)