– Weddings –
We have four beautiful Medieval churches here which are popular choices for weddings. We will be delighted to officiate at your wedding and hope you will find the Church a source of support and affirmation as you prepare for this new chapter in your lives. If you would like to be married in one of our churches, please contact the Rector before making any definitive arrangements with reception venues as it is not always possible to accommodate prearranged dates.
Entitlement to marry in the Benefice is dependent upon one or both of you fulfilling one or more of the Qualifying Connections stipulated by the Church of England in the Marriage Measure 2008. You may find it helpful to read the material on the Church of England website as a preliminary step, which you can find here.
If you do not have any pre-existing connection with any of our churches, you may wish to consider establishing one by becoming worshipping members of the church community here. This is a popular choice for many of our wedding couples and enables a real and personal relationship to develop over the months preceding your wedding as well as satisfying the relevant legal requirements. If you choose to do this you are most welcome. You should think carefully before making the commitment it entailshowever, as it’s important to be realistic about what is feasible.
Many couples maintain their connection with the church after their wedding and gain a real sense of belonging and spiritual home as a result. If you already satisfy one of the other criteria for a qualifying connection, we would encourage you to come along as often as you can to services here as it helps to make your wedding very much more personal and meaningful.
– Baptisms –
We are delighted that either you or your child would like to be baptised into the Church of England. The following information and guidelines are offered to help you think about what’s involved.
Baptism – what it means:
Baptism marks the beginning of a journey of faith throughout a person’s life. When someone is baptised as a baby, parents and godparents make a commitment both for themselves and the child who is being baptised. That commitment is that they themselves believe and trust in God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit and they undertake to help the child being baptised to grow into that faith as he or she grows older. That only has real meaning if the child becomes part of a worshipping community and it is for this reason that it is generally the rule that people are baptised in the parish church local to where they live. For a variety of reasons you may be seeking to have your child baptised in a church that is not local to where you live. This is possible if you are participating regularly in the life of the church here but should be with the awareness and agreement of your local parish priest
Attending a church service every Sunday with small children is not always easy and it is unrealistic to aim to achieve this but you should work out a regular pattern of worship and attendance that does suit you and your family. We offer two Family Services each month here: one at Holy Trinity West Hendred at 9.00am and one at Holy Trinity Ardington at 11.00 on the 4th Sunday of each month. These are informal in style and family-friendly. Each service lasts about half an hour. Aiming to attend these regularly can be enjoyable and rewarding for the whole family without imposing an unrealistic timetable or interfering with other weekend activities.
Baptism dates should be booked with the Rector several months in advance. We normally offer baptisms in the context of our regular Sunday morning services because it reflects the fact that in baptism a person is joining a Christian community. With four churches and limited clergy availability, it is not possible always to have the date and time of your choice in a particular church so please bear this in mind when you are making plans for a baptism. In accordance with the ancient practice of the Church no baptisms are held here during Advent and Lent, the Church’s penitential seasons.
Fees:Baptism is a gift of God’s grace and there is no charge for it. If you would like to make a donation you are welcome to do so. Our Medieval churches cost a great deal to maintain!
Normally a child has three godparents – two of the same sex as the child and one of the opposite. This is convention rather than a requirement. It is more important that you ask people to be godparents who have a genuine commitment to the Christian faith and who will be involved in your child’s life as he or she grows up than that they conform to the conventional number or gender pattern. Godparents to a child being baptised must themselves be baptised either in the Church of England or in any other recognised Christian Church. If you want to involve someone in the role of godparent who is not baptised then they can participate as a sponsor or supporter even if they cannot be an official godparent.
You are most welcome to take photographs of your child’s baptism during the service as well as afterwards by the font. Please ensure that any photography is not disruptive to what is a service of worship.
We hold no formal Baptism preparation sessions or “classes” here but if you want to celebrate a baptism in one of our churches and make a commitment to being part of the Chirstian community here in future, it obviously makes sense to start that before the baptism service itself and we expect that to be a regular pattern for some months beforehand. The priest who will conduct your child’s baptism usually visits you beforehand at home to go through the service and give you an opportunity to ask anyquestions you may have.
– Funerals –
If you live within one of our three parishes or you have a strong connection to one of them, you may wish to have a Church of England funeral or memorial service in one of our four churches. Please contact the Rector if you wish to arrange a funeral here and she will arrange to visit you and talk through the service and make all the preparations in conjunction with your chosen undertakers.
Christian funerals are different from secular ones in that they rest on the Christian belief and hope that death is not the end of who we are but marks an important transition. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is a foretaste of what we believe is promised to all who follow in the way of the cross. This belief lends a colour of hope and thanksgiving to a Christian funeral as well as acknowledging the sadness that is inevitable when we have to say goodbye to a loved one.
Please do not arrange a funeral in a church here if you are not comfortable with these core Christian beliefs as it makes it difficult to put together a service that has integrity.
A funeral in church may be followed by a burial in one of our cemeteries depending on where the deceased lived or you may opt for a cremation at a local crematorium followed by a burial of ashes in one of the church cemeteries.
You may wish in due course to have a memorial stone erected in memory of a loved one. Our cemeteries here are Church ones and as such we are governed by the diocesan rules on the style and type of memorial that is permitted. Any reputable stonemason will be able to help you choose something appropriate and which lies within the permitted scope. As a general guide, you should be aware that marble is not permitted in a church cemetery nor any black stone. Highly polished gloss finishes are not permitted on any stone, nor is lettering picked out in gold or silver paint permitted.