Wednesday, 1 October 2008
As from today anyone wishing to be married has a greater choice of the venue following new rules from the Anglican Church
Where previously couples could get married in a church only if they attended regularly or lived in the parish, it will now be easier to have their wedding service in a church where they have a family or special connection – anywhere they have lived for six months or where their parents or grandparents were married.
The Bishop of Reading says “ People who are serious about getting married naturally want a marriage ceremony and a setting which is equally serious - only the Church provides this”.
Perhaps, but if you are that serious about getting married, does it really matter where this happens, or rather in which church it happens?
A church is a church. Granted, many are more beautifully situated, historically connected or architecturally significant. But isn’t the idea that the marriage is taking place in the presence of God ? And surely, God is all around and everywhere (if you believe in a god, that is) The Bishop again, believes people want something only the Church can offer: God's blessing on their marriage and that now it will be easier to provide it. I can’t get my head around why the actual church building makes it easier to provide this service.
The Church of England also says that the changes are in response to the increasing mobility of society - many people move away from where they grew up – and there was a need for change from the restrictions stopping some people from marrying in a church.
Are some who are intent on marrying in church, for whatever reason, so averse to the church in their own parish ? If so, is this because the surroundings are not pretty enough for the photographs and dvd ?
Cynicism setting in? Maybe.
In the town where I live we are “lucky” for want of a better word. An ancient parish church in a beautiful, peaceful setting. St Bartholomew’s just happens to be the Anglican Church here. But if I truly believed in God and wanted my marriage blessed in this way in a church, I wouldn’t care if the building was a concrete box.