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Rector's View - October 2009

Dear friends,

More churches to choose from!

Until October 2008, generally speaking, the bride or groom, or both, usually needed to live in the parish where they wished to be married. Thanks to a new law, you've now got more choice about which church to marry in. It is still not possible to be married in any church, legally a "qualifying connection" does need to be established, but most people now have a much greater choice.

We know that you might like to marry in a church away from where you live because it has special significance for you through family or other special connections. An engaged couple can now do just that if either of you can show just one of the following seven connections with the parish. In all cases a special application form needs to be completed and documentary evidence provided. The Rector can advise what will be needed. It is tremendous to be able to welcome more couples with qualifying connections to be married in our Churches, but of course the many rules and regulations necessitate yet more paperwork, and the questions and checks can make the Rector unpopular, as some people may be tempted to "shoot the messenger"!

That one of you:

  • was baptised in the parish concerned or
  • was prepared for confirmation in the parish or
  • has at any time lived in the parish for a period of at least 6 months or
  • has at any time regularly gone to normal church services in the parish church for a period of at least 6 months or

That one of your parents, at any time after you were born:

  • has lived in the parish for a period of at least 6 months or
  • has regularly gone to normal church services in the parish church for a period of at least 6 months or

That one of your parents or grandparents:

  • was married in the parish

In all cases involving church services - i.e. going to normal church services, baptism, confirmation or marriage - this applies only to Church of England services. Even if you cannot demonstrate any of the above connections, it may still be possible for you to marry in your special church.

Talk to the Rector there well in advance to discuss the options open to you. For example, it may be possible for you to arrange temporary residence, or to worship regularly at the church for six months and join the Church Electoral Roll.

If you're marrying in a special church that's not where you live, your local church would still love to support you as you prepare for the wedding, and afterwards too.

Did you know? :

  • One third of all UK weddings are church weddings
  • More than half of young adults dream of marriage one day
  • A wedding is legal only if it happens between 8am and 6pm
  • You don't have to promise to 'obey' in the vows of modern marriage services
  • If one of you has been married before and is divorced, with a former spouse still living, it is not possible to marry in the churches of the Benefice, but it is still possible to discuss the possibility of a service of Prayer and Dedication after a Civil Marriage.

With every blessing,

Stephen

Rev'd Stephen Abbott

News Letter Archive.

Last Modified Wednesday 25 May 2011