Marriage is a relationship between two people who join together in love and who seek mutual growth and unity in that love. In marriage people hope to give and to find comfort, help, delight, and tenderness, and may decide to have and bring up children. Marriage is a relationship of total commitment in which the partners care for each other in good times and bad. When both partners desire to publicly acknowledge their lifelong commitment, it is time to plan a marriage service.
REQUIREMENTS FOR MARRIAGE IN THE CHURCH
Civil law requires that you be 19 years of age or have the consent of parents (consent form must be signed at time of licensing). You cannot have any legal impediment to the marriage, such as either partner being already married, or being too closely related to one another. At least one of you is required to have been baptized in a Christian church. Permission from the diocesan bishop is needed for a unbaptized person to be married in an Anglican church. Both of you need to be willing to undertake marriage preparation as determined between yourselves and the priest or deacon who will officiate the wedding.
DO WE HAVE TO BE MEMBERS OF THE ANGLICAN CHURCH?
Because of the traditional English gothic setting, All Saints’ Anglican Church is a popular venue for weddings. Other Christians may rent facilities of All Saints and provide their own officiant, in consultation with the wedding coordinator at the church. Although it is not required, you might wish to consider becoming part of our church community. With God’s infinite love and the caring community of the church, your marriage and personal lives can be strengthened and given joy.
WHAT IF ONE OR BOTH OF US IS DIVORCED?
Although the church views marriage as a lifelong commitment, it recognizes that sometimes marriages cease to foster the health and wholeness of both partners and relationship break down. Therefore, the church offers support to persons seeking remarriage after divorce. When people seek remarriage, the church helps them evaluate what went astray in the earlier marriage, and what they have learned about themselves from the breakdown. A written summation is given to the Church Marriage Commission, which makes recommendations to the bishop as to the readiness for remarriage.
THE MARRIAGE SERVICE
A marriage service is where the couple takes vows to commit themselves to a lifelong relationship. The service normally takes place in the church in the presence of family members and friends. The service includes a statement of Christian marriage, readings from scripture, and sometimes a sermon, after which follow the wedding vows and prayers. The service concludes with the blessing of the marriage, or continues with Holy Communion. Family members often take part in the service by reading scripture or leading the prayers of intercession. The service includes the public signing of the church and civil marriage registers by the couple, their witnesses, and the officiant. Marriage is solemnized in the presence of at least two witnesses in addition to the officiating minister. In the Anglican Church of Canada there are two official marriage services – the traditional service in the Book of Common Prayer, and the service in contemporary language in the Book of Alternative Services. Selection of music and readings and any desired changes to the service are made in consultation with the officiant.
ARRANGING A MARRIAGE SERVICE
The first step in moving toward marriage is to contact the church office for an interview. It is best to arrange this meeting at least three months in advance of the desired date of the wedding service. If, following the interview, you decide to be married in All Saints Church, a date is booked. We will provide guidelines for you to follow when planning your wedding. If you are providing your own minister, and would like to arrange to see the facilities, contact the church office to set up an appointment.
SUPPORT AFTER THE WEDDING
All Saints’ Anglican Church is a caring community in which both the joys and struggles of life are shared and celebrated. The weekly Sunday service offers focus for your lives, connection with people with common values, a time for families to be together in this fast-paced world, and a source of spiritual strengthening and renewal.