Getting Married In Church
Before October 1st 2008 the law stipulated that a couple (subject to neither of them having been divorced) have, in general, the right to marry in the parish church of a parish where one or both of them are resident or one or both of them have their names on the church electoral roll.
This was the law, and has meant that, in some cases I have been unable to marry a couple where one or both of them has a strong parish connection yet have moved outside the area. I know that this has sometimes led to hurt and misunderstanding, but I am bound by the law. The church have recognised that this needed amending. For example, when a couple decide to come to the Church for marriage and to enter into a lifelong commitment to one another before God, they may wish to do so in a place where neither of them is living or on the church electoral roll, but which has particular and enduring significance for one or both of them. For example, in a substantial number of cases, the couple wish to marry in the place where one of them grew up and/or where his or her parents now live, and which he or she sees as home even though he or she is not resident there as a matter of law.
The Church wants the parish to be in the position of offering such a couple the same welcome as it does to those living in the parish. From 1st October 2008 the law has been amended by the Marriage Measure. The "qualifying connections" under the new Measure are as follows:
1. The person concerned ( that is one of the couple to be married) :
2. That person's parent has at any time during the person's lifetime:
3. That person's parent or grandparent was married in the parish.
(In this list references to being baptised, confirmed or married, or attending public worship, all refer to Church of England services. The "public worship" could apply to St. Mary's and/or St. Martin's churches in Knebworth .)
I will be taking bookings for weddings after 1st October using the new regulations with immediate effect. If anyone has any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
St. Mary's church is an attractive place for weddings and couples who live outside the parish regularly enquire about being married there. I have always said that they are entitled to get married if they are on the Electoral Roll, which can be applied for by at least one of them who attend one or both of our churches habitually over a six month period. The option, of being married through habitual worship over a six month period is still available ( above ), and we will continue to welcome couples who wish to be married in this way.
Rev'd Jim Pye,
15, St. Martin's Road, Knebworth, Herts. SG3 6ER Tel: 01438 817396 email : firstname.lastname@example.org
See http://www.cofe.anglican.org/lifeevents/weddings for more details about weddings in the Church of England.