Marriages and Baptisms

Weddings, Baptisms

We are delighted to receive enquiries for weddings and baptisms at St. John Baptist, Berkswell. Your first point of contact should be the Parish Administrator, Janet Roberts, in the Parish Office (Tel: 01676 529123 or email: office@berkswellchurch.org.uk). She will explain the procedure to you. However, you may find it helpful to read the sections below first.

Weddings

Many congratulations if you have got engaged or are thinking about getting married. If you would like a church wedding we will do everything we reasonably can to ensure that your wedding day is one of the happiest in your lives and begins on firm foundations.

You are welcome to be married at St John Baptist if you can show that one of you:

•    has at any time lived in the parish for a period of at least 6 months or

•    was baptised (christened) in the parish or

•    was prepared for confirmation in the parish or

•    has at any time regularly gone to normal church services in the parish church for a period of at least 6 months

or

That one of your parents, at any time after you were born:

•    has lived in the parish for a period of at least 6 months or

•    has regularly gone to normal church services in the parish church for a period of at least 6 months

or

That one of your parents or grandparents was married in the parish

Most couples are married by banns. Banns are an announcement in church of your intention to marry and a chance for anyone to put forward a reason why the marriage may not lawfully take place.Youmust have your banns read out in church for three Sundays during the three months before the wedding. This is usually done over three consecutive Sundays in the month preceding your wedding. After your forthcoming marriage is announced, the congregation will pray for you both.  It’s an exciting and happy time and can be quite special and moving to hear this, so do come along if you can.If you live outside of Berkswell parish you will also need to get your banns read in that parish in the three months before the wedding.

If you are a foreign national from a country that is outside the European Economic Area, having a Church of England wedding will involve some different paperwork and there will be a number of things the Rector will want to talk to you about.

The law regarding marriages of nationals from outside the EAA changed in 2015. All such marriages that take place in England must now have a Superintendent Registrar’s Certificate to go ahead. We will explain this process to you.

Even if one or both of you are divorced, there may be a way for you to marry in church, but you will need to talk to usas soon as possible.You will still, however, need to satisfy the legal requirements.

During the marriage service you will be exchanging solemn vows in the presence of God and your family and friends. This will normally involve meeting with a member of our marriage preparation team (the Rector and Mark and Jan Willows) and attending a marriage preparation day. Marriages are normally conducted on Saturdays when the organist and choir are most likely to be available. The Rector of the parish, the Revd Dr Mark Bratton, will normally conduct the wedding except when he is away on holiday, or a special arrangement, agreed by the Rector, has been made to have another priest instead.

Marriage Preparation

The promises you make on your wedding day seal your love and commitment to each other for the rest of your lives. We would like to help you prepare for both your wedding day and marriage spiritually, emotionally and logistically. Accordingly, you will be invited to undertake marriage preparation. This will normally involve meeting with a member of our marriage preparation team (the Rector and Pete & Angie Purdom) and attending a marriage preparation day. This day is usually held the last Saturday in January. The aim of this day is to allow you some time away from the demands of daily life and organising your wedding so that you can focus on each other and your future married life together. Most people find that this is a really enjoyable day and couples often tell us that it has helped to bring an extra closeness to their relationship.

The day is based around relationship building, specifically on three topics that are vital to married life: Communication, Conflict and Commitment. For each session there will be a short talk followed by some exercises which you complete together as a couple. The style of the day is fun and informal with the emphasis on building foundations for a fantastic marriage. Do not be worried that you will have to talk about your relationship with other people – there is no “group work” and the only person you will need to share with is your partner.

Lunch is provided and there will also be sessions to guide you through the order of service and the choice of music for your wedding day.

You may find the following links helpful:

https://goo.gl/vDFOSn

https://goo.gl/8Xn4kQ

Baptisms

To our great delight, many couples who marry at St. John’s also have their children baptised here. About 30 baptisms are celebrated each year. Baptism Services take place on the 3rd Sunday of each month (except August and December) at 12 noon after the morning services.

Baptism is a crucial step in a child’s Christian life. Baptism is marked by two symbolic moments: the anointing of the child’s forehead with oil and the pouring of water over the child head. The anointing with oil signifies that the child receives, and is empowered by, the Holy Spirit to become the person God intends them to be. It also signifies that they are ‘incorporated’ into the Body of Christ, that is, they belong to God, and to other members of the Christian community, in a special way. The word christening captures this aspect of the Baptism service. The pouring of water signifies that the child is cleansed and given new life through symbolically sharing Jesus death and resurrection. With the help of parents, godparents, and the Christian community, it is hoped that the child will grow up to develop a personal faith in Christ. In the Church of England, this is celebrated in a service of Confirmation when the Bishop lays hands on and prays for the child to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

The Baptism service involves the parents and Godparents declaring their own Christian faith and making promises to turn to Christ and bring up the child as a Christian. We will help you,through Baptism Preparation, to understand the promises and recognise the true meaning of baptism to enable you to enter into the service in a meaningful way. Preparation evenings, held in the evenings at the Rectory, take place every 2 months and both parents are expected to attend these without their children present.

You may find the following link helpful:

http://goo.gl/wvhAZK

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