Marriages and Baptisms

We are delighted to receive enquiries for weddings and baptisms at St. John Baptist, Berkswell.

Your first point of contact should be Janet Roberts the Parish Administrator in the Parish Office (Tel: 01676 529123 or email: office [at] berkswellchurch.org.uk). She will explain the procedure to you. But you may find it helpful to read the sections below first.

Marriages

Many congratulations if you have got engaged or are thinking about getting married. 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.

During the marriage service you will be exchanging solemn vows in the presence of God and your family and friends. We would like to help you prepare for you wedding day 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 Mark and Jan Willows) and attending a marriage preparation day.

Marriages are 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.

Legal requirements

The law lays down certain requirements. To marry at St. John’s, you must show one of the following:

  • That one of you lives in the parish
  • That one of you has worshipped at St. John’s for at least 6 months or is on the electoral roll of the church
  • That one of you has some legally-recognised connection with the parish, e.g. your parents married here, or you were baptised here (these are known as ‘qualifying connections’).

Most couples are married by banns, that is, that your names will read out publicly at Sunday morning worship on 3 successive Sundays in the calendar month preceding your wedding day. It is possible to get married in church even if you are not of the Christian faith if you satisfy the legal requirements but you should note that you will have the normal Christian service.

If you are a foreign national, there will be extra, but straightforward, paperwork, which we will help you to complete. This is to ensure that your marriage is recognised by your home country. If one (or both) of you has been divorced then the Rector will need to talk to you beforehand to discuss the reasons for the breakdown of the previous marriage(s). If the Rector is happy to marry you, you will still need to satisfy the legal requirements

Marriage Preparation

We ask all couples who are getting married at Berkswell to attend our marriage preparation day, usually 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 which 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 the practicalities of the day, the Order of Service and the choice of music for your wedding day.

You may find the following link helpful:

Baptisms

To our great delight, many couples who marry at St. John Baptist, Berkswell also have their children baptised here. About 30 baptisms are celebrated each year. Baptism takes place on the 3rd Sunday of each month (except August and December) at 12 noon after the morning services. Preparation for baptism includes attending church services (for a minimum of 3 months if not already a regular member of the congregation) and an evening that takes place every 2 months at which both parents are expected to attend without their children present. It is at this meeting that dates will be agreed for your child's baptism.

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.

Please contact Janet Roberts the Parish Administrator in the Church Office (Tel: 01676 529123 or email: office [at] berkswellchurch.org.uk). She will explain the procedure to you and issue you with a baptism pack and application form.

You may find the following link helpful:

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