A message from The Rev’d Lyn McRostie, Rector of Northwood

Posted by Admin on Saturday, 24th January 2009, 00:00

One of the joys of being a Rector is to celebrate at people’s weddings. It’s a real pleasure to share with couples as they travel from the first tentative enquiry to the exchange of rings and the proclamation of the marriage. Something that people constantly say to me as we get near the wedding day is “the time’s gone so quickly” – and indeed it does with all the decisions about what to wear, who are to be the witnesses, what hymns to sing, where to have the reception, who should be on the guest list and who should sit with whom. You may well know from your own experiences that the seating plan brings its particular challenges and is probably more complicated than the seating plan for an official dinner at Buckingham Palace.

But these organizational issues are all secondary when compared with the significance of what is happening. I often comment that a wedding happens on a day; a marriage is ongoing. That’s why we, as a church, believe in marriage preparation and consider it important to spend time with couples talking about different aspects of marriage – communication styles, thoughts about children, common values and points of difference, dealing with the humdrum practicalities of daily life and what are their hopes and dreams for each other.

This preparation is one of the ways Christian marriage differs from a civil marriage. We think it’s vital that the church offers it because it emphasises our belief that marriage isn’t just a legal contract. Marriage is an ongoing commitment to care for the well being of your marriage partner – and to do so with the help of God.

We’re delighted to welcome people who want to marry in church and recently the law changed to give people a wider choice of churches in which to marry. Previously you could only marry in a particular church if you lived in the parish or you regularly attended worship there. Now you’re legally able to enquire about marriage if you can answer yes to any one of these statements:

I was baptised (christened) in the parish of St John the Baptist, Northwood
I have been confirmed (by a Church of England service) and my confirmation is entered in a register belonging to St John the Baptist, Northwood
My parent or grandparent was married in the parish by a Church of England service
I have had my usual place of residence in the parish for at least 6 months
My parent has had his or her usual place of residence in the parish for at least 6 months during my lifetime
I have habitually attended public worship at Church of England services in the parish for at least 6 months
My parent has habitually attended public worship at Church of England services in the parish for at least 6 months during my lifetime.

And what does it cost? Some people think it’s cheaper to marry in a civil ceremony than in a church. Not necessarily so! Yes, we do have fees, some of which are laid down by Parliament, some applied by the church and on top of them, there may be other fees depending on what else you want (e.g. organist, choir, candles, video) but it need not be more expensive than other locations.

So if you are thinking about getting married – or you know someone who is – please, come and talk with us. It may just be the start of a very different experience and one we would be delighted to share with you.

With love in Christ

Lyn

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