The Church recognises civil marriage: but what makes a Christian marriage distinctive is reflected in the words of the vows that couples make, promising a depth of relationship that puts the other’s needs before our own and inviting God to change both of us for the better. Here too we ask for God’s presence, involvement and blessing within this new life long relationship – not just on the wedding day, but always.
This Church is for everyone within the community. We are always glad to receive enquiries from those interested in getting married at St James’. The law allows you to be married here if at least one of you:
- is resident in the parish
- has been sufficiently regular in worship over at least six months to have your name entered on the Church membership list called the ‘Electoral Roll’
- was baptised or confirmed here
- has ever lived in the parish for six months or more
- has at any time, regularly attended worship here for six months or more
- if one of your parents has lived for six months or more in your lifetime or has regularly attended worship here since you were born
- if your parents or grandparents were married here
- or you have been granted a special licence, issued only through the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Faculty Office. We can provide appropriate information.
People who have been married before and divorced
We are also willing to explore with couples, one or both of whom have previously been married and now divorced, whether it would be appropriate for you to marry each other in a Christian ceremony. A decision is made based on three areas of enquiry:
- whether there is now insight into what caused earlier relationships to founder, and a capacity to ‘be different’
- whether continuing responsibilities to children or other dependents are being properly met
- how much this couple really want to involve God in your marriage
These area have to be explored together in confidence before other arrangements can be made.
Civil Partnerships and same-sex marriages
England’s laws do not currently allow these events to happen in Church of England buildings. However, we are always willing to pray privately with any parishioners who ask for prayer, as at any other times of great change in life.
What needs to be done?
- Make contact with the Reverend David Cant (01665 575349), to complete the initial forms and talk about dates and times. There is rarely any problem about having a service at a date and time to suit you.
- The priest who will take your service will explain other legal requirements (eg the calling of ‘banns’); what options there may be for the conducting of your wedding and what the Church part of the day will cost (usually a miniscule amount compared with what other plans for the day might involve). NB Church Weddings don’t have to cost a small fortune! Why not enquire how things could be just as memorable, but simpler and cheaper? – see our leaflet ‘Thinking of arranging a Wedding?’
- The officiating priest will arrange for you to meet with him/her at intervals, for the clarifying of arrangements and to talk some more together about your hopes and expectations for your marriage.
- Shortly before the Wedding Day, there will be a rehearsal for all those involved in the service, designed to put participants at ease and to provide an opportunity for sensing the deep significance of the ceremony itself.
- We are always glad when couples who have married here, continue to be part of the congregation and local community – drawing from God the grace he offers that sustains marriage and forms families.
Main contact for Wedding enquiries is the Reverend David Cant (telephone 01665 575349)
For further information and advice see https://www.yourchurchwedding.org/