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Marriages and Civil Partnerships

The promise of commitment

As Christians we believe that a loving relationship is a gift from God and can be a source of human flourishing and a means of grace.

Jesus modelled for us committed love through His willingness to sacrifice Himself for us and to die to show us the depth of God’s love. Jesus never said ‘I love you but …’

When we find someone we want to commit our lives to then it is right and proper to want to celebrate that love and in this parish we would want to help you do that.

In our principal relationship we are called to follow Jesus’ model by loving our partner in a self-sacrificial way, putting the needs of our relationship above our own and always working to deepen our commitment to each other.

If you have found someone with whom you can do this and to whom you wish to make a lifelong commitment then we would welcome the opportunity to celebrate that amazing discovery with you and to mark the love you have found in a ceremony that brings your love before the source of all love for God’s blessing and strength.

Can I get married here?

Marriage is regulated by the State and in law any straight couple has the right to marry in the parish Church of the parish in which they live, or in which they regularly worship, or with which they have had a connection in the past.

It is matter of regret in this parish that the Church of England sought and has obtained an exclusion from being able to celebrate legal marriage between two people of the same gender. In this parish we celebrate all committed faithful relationships and we would welcome any enquiry from any couple to celebrate with them.

It is possible to ask for a service after your Civil Marriage; both our Church halls are licensed for Civil Ceremonies and it would be possible to marry in the Hall (or elsewhere) and to come to Church for a service afterwards.

Please do not allow the attitude of the Church authorities to put you off from approaching us and asking about how we might help you mark the most important moment and the most important relationship of your life. ‘God is love, and those who live in love live in God and God lives in them’. This we believe and celebrate and would celebrate with you.

The remainder of this leaflet addresses questions we frequently receive from straight couples who wish to marry in Church, though as we have made clear we welcome enquiries from gay and lesbian couples too and will do what we can to make your day special to you.

One of us has been divorced. Can we still marry in this Church?

Yes, you can. The Church still believes that marriage should be a lifelong commitment but we recognise that not all relationships are healthy and life-enhancing. When a marriage has ended we accept that it is possible to find love again and to want that love blessed in Church. Please do not hesitate to speak to our clergy about this.

One of us is not Church of England

You don’t have to be Church of England to marry in a Church of England Church – you just need to willing to have a Church of England wedding service. You do not even have to be Christian – though you do have to understand and accept that the service will be Christian in form and prayer.

One of us is not from this country

This shouldn’t be a problem though getting the legal permission to marry will require something called a Common License which costs a little bit more and involves seeing a legal officer of the Church with passports, permissions to live in this country and some other documents. It takes a little longer and you will need to let us know that one of isn’t entitled to a British Passport.

I don’t want to get married here but in another Church somewhere else.

It is possible to marry in a different parish Church to the one whose area you live in – you will need to have a connection to that Church of your own or through your parents or worship there regularly. You will still need to have your banns called here – a form of legal preparation for marriage – and we are happy to help with that as well. Please do bear in mind that you should give us plenty of notice – we have to call your banns (announce that you want to marry) on three consecutive Sundays within three months of the wedding date. This is a legal requirement for getting married and once the banns have been called there is a legal form you have to collect and give to the priest of the Church in which you are marrying.

St James is a Post Office!

Yes, it is! So if you live in St James’ parish, you can get married in the Church of St Mary on the corner of Priory Road and Abbey Road.

Do be in touch if you would like to know more.