A Sacrament of Love
Christians believe that married love was created by God, and that it is a part of God’s plan for humanity and so is sacred. We are told in the creation story that ‘a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh’ (Genesis 2.24).
Once it was common for most marriages to take place in a church. Nowadays couples can choose to marry in a registry office, some other venue registered for marriages like a hotel, for instance. So if you decide to marry in a church you are making a statement about what you believe and hope for in your married life.
The Church teaches that marriage is a sacrament. This means that God is conveying his gifts to the couple. They are not coming together in their own strength alone. We use outward and visible signs (the vows and the rings) to convey the love and gifts of God that will be needed in a faithful and lifelong marriage.
What happens at a wedding?
- The priest welcomes everyone present and reminds them of the reasons for marriage.
- Bible passages are read and a sermon is given.
- Bride and groom declare their intention and the congregation is asked if they will support them.
- The bride and groom exchange vows with each other: ‘for better, for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part’.
- Wedding rings are blessed and exchanged as a sign of the vows that they have taken and a sign that their commitment is unending.
- The priest blesses the married couple.
- Prayers are offered by everyone present for the couple and their future together.
- If you a regular communicant a celebration of the Eucharist may follow.
Can I get married at Holy Trinity?
Under the present law of England and Wales the categories of person with a right to be married in the parish church are:
- a person who is resident in the parish
- a person who is enrolled on the church electoral roll of the parish
- a person who has a qualifying connection with the parish.
If you are not sure whether you meet these requirements then please do speak to the Vicar who will be able to help you.
Remarriage after Divorce
The Church of England affirms the teaching that marriage should always be undertaken as a ‘solemn public and life-long covenant between a man and a woman’ (Canon B30). Sometimes marriages do, regrettably, fail and we will seek to provide appropriate pastoral care in such cases.
It is not normally the practice of this parish, as in almost all parish churches, to offer to marry those who have been previously married and whose former partner is still alive. We are aware that this can be a very sensitive and delicate issue. If it is the case that either of you have been married before, we will need to meet to discuss what we may or may not be able to offer. For many couples in this circumstance we are able to offer a service of Blessing and Dedication following a Civil ceremony, and this is often an acceptable and popular solution.
If you considering marrying at Holy Trinity then please contact the Vicar in good time.
The Church of England has a website where you can find more information and plan your marriage service: www.yourchurchwedding.org