Weddings & Christenings

Weddings & Christenings

Informal Chats during Vestry Hour at All Saints' Church, Walsoken.

Vestry Hour takes place on Wednesday evenings between 6:30pm and 7:30pm, when the Rector will be available in our Church for discussions relating to Weddings, Baptisms (sometimes called 'Christenings') and Confirmations.

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 the Rector is not available a Church Warden will be present in the Church during Vestry Hour

Weddings

Marriage

When a man and a woman get married they commit themselves to spending their lives together in a new relationship. 

It is a partnership of love, made richer and deeper through sexual union.  Like many people, Christians regard it as the best context for nurturing children, and 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 object to the marriage, if there is a legitimate, legal reason, the couple join hands and make their vows to each other. They exchange rings, which are worn as a reminder of the vows they have made, the duration of their married life. 

If the marriage begins with a wedding service in Church, the minister conducting the service, will remind 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 couple, which recognise both the joys and difficulties ahead, and ask God’s blessing on them in tgheir new life together.

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 Son of God Himself, was 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 may sometimes be necessary. God grieves alongside the people for whom such a painful separation is taking place

It is the policy of All Saints Church not to re-marry in Church those who have been divorced. However, if you wish to have a blessing following a civil marriage, then please drop in to Vestry Hour to discuss this further. To have the right to marry in 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. The Rector can explain what, 'a significant connection' means and whether you meet the requirements. If you are not sure whether or not you have right to marry in our Church, then please come along to see the Rector during Vestry Hour.

Christenings

What happens during the Christening service?

Your child's baptism will normally take place during the main Sunday service (usually in the morning). This is so that your child can be seen to be joining the family of the Church and be welcomed into membership. In turn the Church will promise to support and pray for you and your child.

The priest will make sure you know where to sit and when you need to move. Some parts of the service will be for the whole congregation to join in, some will be for you and the godparents.

Part of the baptism service will normally take place at the front of the church, but for the baptism itself, parents and godparents are usually be asked by the priest to gather around the font. (The font is a large basin on a pedestal, containing the water for baptism.)

The priest will ask the parents and godparents to make declarations on behalf of the child (see Making decisions and promises).

Making decisions and promises

When you bring your child for baptism, you will be asked to declare publicly on behalf of your child that you believe in God and that you will bring your child up to follow Jesus.

You will be asked to answer, on your child's behalf, that you have decided to turn away from everything which is evil or sinful and instead to turn towards Christ.

The declarations made by you and the child's godparents will be made in front of the church congregation; the local Christian community will promise to support you and pray for you and your child.