Informal Chats during Vestry Hour at All Saints' Church, Walsoken.
Vestry hour is what we call the hour on Wednesday evenings when the Rector will be available in our Church for informal discussions. Vestry hour is between 6.30pm and 7.30pm, this allows time to deal with various enquires from parishioners.
No appointment is necessary so you can just “drop in” to Church and talk to the Rector regarding arrangements for Baptisms or Weddings. These are the main issues which are usually dealt with in Vestry Hour, you may also wish to discuss the options for Confirmation or the Blessing of a wedding or perhaps the reading of Banns.
When a man and a woman get married they commit themselves to spending their lives in a new relationship. It is a partnership of love, made richer and deeper through sex. Like many people, Christians regard it as the best context for nurturing children. It is also seen as the best (many Christians would say the only) setting for sex.
In any marriage ceremony the bride and groom must confirm that they want to marry each other, and after the opportunity has been given publicly for anyone present to prevent the marriage if there is a legal reason, the couple join hands and make promises. They exchange rings, which are worn as a reminder of these promises for the duration of their married life.
If the marriage begins with a wedding service in a Christian church, the minister conducting the wedding reminds all present that marriage forms part of a pattern of life established by God. The first marriage that the Bible tells of is between Adam and his wife, Eve. God declared, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’
In a church service there are readings from the Bible which explain the nature and significance of marriage. The couple make promises to stay together ‘for better, for worse; for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health; to love and to cherish until death us do part’. It is a commitment for life, and not just for the times which are easy. Prayers are said for the newlyweds, which recognise both the joys and difficulties ahead, and ask God’s blessing on the couple.
While marriage is honoured and affirmed among Christians, there is no suggestion that it is necessary for everyone. Singleness, with its freedom and flexibility, is described as ‘a gift’ in the Bible. And Jesus, the founder of the Christian faith, was himself unmarried.
Some Christians believe that marriage vows are unbreakable, so that even in the distressing circumstances in which a couple separates, they are still married from God’s point of view. This is so in the Roman Catholic church, although occasionally a marriage is declared to be null (in other words, it never really was a marriage). Other Christians have accepted divorce and remarriage in some circumstances - for example, to relieve one partner of intolerable hardship, unfaithfulness or desertion.
There is rarely divorce without pain. Even when divorce comes as a relief, it follows the pain of broken relationships and dreams, and great anxiety about the impact on children. Christians seek to uphold the seriousness of wedding vows while responding with compassion to deep hurts by recognising that divorce is sometimes necessary. God grieves alongside the people for whom such a painful separation is taking place
It is the policy of All Saints not to re-marry in Church those who have been divorced, however if you wish to have a blessing after a civil marriage service, then please drop in to Vestry Hour to discuss this further. To get married at All Saints’ Church, either the bride or the groom will have to live within the area of the Parish Boundary, or have immediate family living within the parish or else have a significant connection with our Church. If you are not sure whether or not you have right to marry in our Church, please come along to see the Rector during Vestry Hour.
When the Rector is not available, the Lay Reader or a Church Warden will be present in the Church during Vestry Hour