A Christian marriage is a gift from God. The couple come together in joyful commitment to make a public declaration of their love and their intention to live together for life. Whether people marry in church or in a civil ceremony in some other place that has special significance for them, their marriage has exactly the same value in the eyes of God and the church.
The church solemnises the marriages of her family according to the laws of God. The parish priest is the guardian of this and he will do all he can to make your wedding the personal and special expression of your faith, your values and your love for each other and that God intends it to be.
We also want to look beyond the wedding day as we hope to establish a relationship in which we continue to be part of your life and faith walk in the years ahead.
A Christian marriage offers the right place for the fulfilment of our sexuality and it provides a stable and secure environment for bringing up children.
By getting married in church, you have the reassurance that God cares about your relationship and that his resources and strength are available to help you. Including God in your marriage does not mean that you will avoid all the ups and downs, but you will know that you can look to God for help and guidance and that his love will sustain you. Let your wedding be an occasion to turn to the Lord in joy.
Who can be married in this Parish?
Anyone who lives within the Parish boundaries is entitled to be married in any of the worship centres of the parish. If neither of you are resident in the parish the circumstances of your request will be considered by the Rector and or Parish Council in conjunction with your local parish priest. You can only be married in the parish churches or any place of worship agreed to by the Bishop of the Diocese.
As a church we take your request to be married seriously, and ask that you take us seriously by taking part in our marriage preparation programme prior to the wedding. This gives you an opportunity to think through possible areas of growth and how you will handle them as a couple.
What are the Legal Requirements?
At your meetings with the priest, you need to produce the following documents;
· An original of the Birth Certificates or passport of the groom and the bride.
· Any original documents containing changes to either the groom’s or the bride’s names (e.g. by Deed Poll)
· If either or both parties have been divorced, the original decree absolute must be produced before the priest makes application to the Bishop to gain his consent for the marriage to go ahead.
· A copy of your baptism certificates.
A Notice of Intended Marriage is to be completed signed and witnessed no earlier than 18 months before the marriage and no later one month before the marriage. If this is not done the marriage cannot proceed without permission.
Prior to the wedding each party must complete a formal declaration under the Marriage Act that there are no impediments to your proposed marriage. This declaration must be witnessed by the priest who actually takes your wedding.
If you are under eighteen (18) years of age, you must have your parents’ consent to marry. One of you must, however, be eighteen or older.
There are special guidelines in respect of marriage in church if you have been divorced.
Practical Steps to Consider.
Contact the Rector. It is very important to consult the Rector as soon as you intend to marry and not to book anything in case we are unable to accommodate your request.
Reception. Once a wedding date has been set with the Rector, a hall or venue can be booked for the reception. Other matters to be considered for the reception include the Caterers, the Beverages, the Flowers, the Cake, the Decorations and the Speeches.
Photographer. A Photographer and or a Video cameraman may be contracted. Speak to the Rector about the arrangements for photographs before and after the wedding ceremony. If you are planning a video recording, permission needs to be sought from the Rector, a copyright application signed and submitted to ARIA and the corresponding fee paid. A leaflet about Video recording is enclosed.
Music is chosen as part of the marriage service preparation and can be discussed with the Rector, the organist, or the music group leader. A music Information Sheet is enclosed.
Readings are chosen as part of the marriage service preparation and can be discussed with the Rector. It is usual to have one or more readings, one of which must be from the Bible.
What if one partner is divorced?
The Anglican Church of Australia teaches that marriage is for life. It recognises that, sadly, some marriages do fail. If this should happen, it seeks to be available for all involved. The Church accepts that in exceptional circumstances, a divorced person may marry again in church during the lifetime of a former spouse.
Where either applicant is a divorcee, a leaflet explaining the whole process is available. The process is open and frankly explores the past, your hopes for the future and your understanding of marriage.
Church support for your Wedding.
As Christian Marriage is an important part of your faith journey with God, as a parish we would like to foster your faith before and after the wedding in the following ways:
· Pray for you in an ongoing way before and after the wedding.
· Where applicants are not baptised, to prepare you for baptism and baptise you. (This is a requirement for marriage).
· Where applicants are not confirmed, to prepare you for Confirmation. (This is not a requirement for marriage).
· To provide instruction, nurture, encouragement and stimulation in worship.
· Where an applicant is divorced, to consider together the special requirements before the Bishop’s permission can be applied for.
What do I do next?
Please contact the Revd John Coleman on 0414 722008.