Weddings & Baptisms in the Welwyn Team Churches
Congratulations. Marriage is one of the of the biggest decisions anybody will make in life. It can be the beginning of a wonderful life with the person you love. But organising the wedding day can seem daunting, and making a go of married life an even greater challenge. We want to do all we can to make your wedding day special, and to help you prepare for a lifetime together.
Why get married in church?
A marriage service, wherever it is held, is a public declaration of love and life-long commitment to your partner. If you choose to get married in church, there is an added dimension - the assurance that God cares about your relationship and that his resources and strength are available to help you. Including God in your marriage doesn’t mean that you will avoid all the usual ups and downs, but you will know that you can look to God for help and guidance and that his love will sustain you. You will also have the support and encouragement of the Christian church family.
Who can get married?
God loves everyone, and Christian marriage is open to all those who ask for a Christian wedding: you do not need to be baptised or confirmed in the Church of England.
Marriage in the Church of England must be between a man and a woman over the age of 18 years (or over the age of 16 if you have the written consent of your parents). You must not be married to anybody else, and may not be more closely related than first cousins. If one or both of you are not British citizens, you will need to discuss the possibility of obtaining a Special Licence with the minister at the outset, before a date for your wedding can be confirmed.
What if one of us is divorced?
Marriage in the Church of England is sometimes available to people who are divorced and whose previous partner is still alive. Under some circumstances this is possible at the Welwyn Team churches, so please speak to the Team clergy to find out more.
Which church can I get married in?
At the moment, provided you meet the conditions above, you have a right to be married at St Mary’s Welwyn or any of the Team churches provided one or both of you live in the parish of the church you wish to be married in. We can advise whether this is the case. You may also be in a Parish church if you have been worshipping regularly on Sundays for six months or more and are on the Church Electoral Roll. You will need to have your banns called in the church where you are to be married and also in any other churches whose parish you or your fiancé(e) live in.
Marriage at a church with a qualifying connection
Following the change in wedding regulations by the Church of England Marriage Measures Act 2008 it is now possible for a couple to be married in a church that has a special meaning to them. Therefore, providing the church is available for a service, couples will be able to choose to get married in:
- their local parish
- the parish where they were baptised and/or confirmed
- a parish they have lived in for 6 months or more, at any time during their lives
- a parish they have attended worship in for at least 6 months
- the parish their parents lived or worshipped in (during the child’s lifetime)
- the parish their parents were married in
- the parish their grandparents were married in
You will need to provide evidence to support your qualifying connection.
How do I arrange a wedding?
Please come along to clergy surgery on a Saturday morning between 10-11am at St Mary’s Welwyn where we will be happy to discuss your requirements.
Here are some additional resources about weddings in the Welwyn Team:
- The Team Wedding Brochure
- The Common Worship Marriage Service - Sample Order of Service (booklet format)
- The Common Worship Marriage Service - Sample Order of Service (A4 format)
- Suggested Readings for Weddings (booklet format)
- Suggested Readings for Weddings (A4format)
Baptism marks the beginning of a journey with God which continues for the rest of our lives. It is a joyful moment when we rejoice in what God has done for us in Jesus Christ. In the churches of the Welwyn Team Ministry baptism takes place on a Sunday morning within the family of the local church and the friends and family of the child or adult being baptised.
Can I be baptised in the Church of my choice?
At baptism, a person is baptised into the fellowship of the local church. The congregation greet that person at the service and promise to help and support them as they grow in the Christian faith. Therefore the person being baptised should either live in the parish of St Mary’s Welwyn or be part of a family who are regular members of St Mary’s Welwyn. There is no right age to be baptised and we welcome both children and adults. A baptism service at St Mary’s takes place at the 9.30am service. (This also applies to the other churches in the Welwyn Team ministry)
Baptism of children and of infants
Young children are not able to express their own wishes about being baptised, nor can they make promises to follow Christ that are required at baptism. The promises, therefore, are made on the child’s behalf by parents and godparents. Godparents are friends chosen by the parents to help bring up children in the Christian faith until they can make the promises themselves at a service of confirmation.
How can I arrange a baptism?
For all enquiries regarding Baptism in any of the Team churches please come along to Clergy surgery on a Saturday morning between 10-11am in the office at St Mary’s Welwyn. You will be able to talk to one of the Team ministers and a date for the service can then be arranged. Prior to the service, you will be invited to come along to a baptism preparation.