Baptisms, Weddings and Funerals
In this section of our website you will find all the information you need to mark those special occasions in out lifelong journey with God.
Baptism and Confirmation
In Baptism, God declares to the newly baptised: “This child is a child of mine.”
To bring a baby to be baptised is one of the most powerful and joyful things any parent can do. It is a way of celebrating the safe birth of your child and an opportunity to give thanks to God for the gift of this little new person. It is also a way of saying (publicly) that however much the child belongs to you, he or she does not just belong to you. In a profound sense, your child is ‘bigger’ than you and belongs to God – is loved by God and valued by God. At Baptism your child is welcomed into the Christian Faith – following Jesus – a first step which you as parents will want to see grow and develop.
Baptism, also known as christening, allows you to give expression to this feeling and that is why baptism marks the beginning of the life of faith – the decision to try and follow the way of God as shown us in the person of Jesus. The promises at Baptism and commitment required of followers of Jesus are significant and in the earliest days of the Church, baptism tended to be for adults only.
Nowadays, it is much more common for people to be baptised when they are infants. That is why a lot depends not just on the parents and godparents of the child in question, but also on the prayers and support of the congregation of the church where the child is being baptised. Every effort is made, in all our churches, to live up to these responsibilities and to help you do the same as you want your child to know God and follow Jesus , to belong to God’s family and be part of the church.
When do Baptisms take place?
Because Baptism marks the start of a journey of faith and because this journey is shared with others, it is preferable for baptisms to take place in the main Sunday service. However, there may be occasions when it is appropriate to hold the baptisms at a different time. This is at the discretion of the clergy.
Everyone involved has responsibilities.
Parent(s) It is you who have brought your child for baptism who will carry the greatest responsibility for bringing up your child within the Christian faith. This includes praying for them, reading the Bible with them and accompanying them to church where they can join in with the rest of the family of the church in worship and learning about their faith.
Godparents Their role is important too, and they make the same promises as the parents. It is best if godparents are worshipping members of a church and it is a requirement that they must be baptised themselves.
The Church The worshipping family of the church also has responsibilities – to encourage the newly baptised and their parents so that they feel not only welcome, but also expected. You will find a warm welcome at all our churches.
What happens at Baptism?
Baptism marks the start of the journey of faith. It is when we join the Christian family, the church. In Baptism we are thanking God for his gift of life and publicly acknowledging our faith in God.
Baptism is a Sacrament – a visible sign of God’s love. This inward gift is made visible through the words and symbols that are used during the service.
The sign of the cross will be made on the baptised person’s forehead. It is the badge of faith and a sign that the person is united with Christ.
Water is a sign of being washed from sin and beginning a new life with Christ. Those being baptised have water poured over them three times ‘in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit’. The three ways in which Christians have experienced God.
A Candle is given to the newly baptised. Jesus is regarded as the light of the world and the baptism candle which everyone receives is a reminder of this light which they now share.
Responsibilities and rewards.
If the responsibilities are great, so too are the ‘rewards’ and these words remind us of them – Today God has touched you with his love and given you a place among his people. God promises to be with you in joy and in sorrow, to be your guide in life and to bring you safely to heaven. In baptism God invites you on a life-long journey. Together with all God’s people you explore the way of Jesus and grow in friendship with God. . . .
What is the cost of the Baptism service?
There is no fee for the service.
There is a retiring collection for the work of the church
Who do I contact to arrange a Baptism?
The Benefice Office is the first point of contact to arrange a baptism so please email or phone Anne or Sophie
firstname.lastname@example.org or 01672 861786
Marriages and Blessings
Churches are special places and there are some things about a church wedding that you ‘just won’t find anywhere else’ as most of our couples put it!
A church is so much more than simply a venue for your wedding. Unique and special things become part of your marriage, on the day itself and beyond:- A church wedding adds the spiritual dimension to your marriage. The ceremony includes God and looks to him for help and guidance. God’s blessing is the main attraction for many couples, whatever their beliefs.
You can make amazing vows, or promises, in a church. These vows, made in public, will help you to stay together and grow together. God and your church are there for you to help you keep your vows. We encourage our couples to imagine themselves together on their Golden Wedding anniversary – with God’s help you can achieve a lifetime of committed and faithful love.
The Rector has a very particular role to play in your wedding and will work with you to blend ancient tradition and modern experience to reflect your story. During Marriage Preparation sessions the Rector will get to know you, your hopes and dreams so that your wedding can be made personal, memorable, meaningful and beautiful.
Our church buildings offer centuries of history. Imagine all the couples who have married in your local church, some of whom may well be your family. You can feel you’re becoming part of history itself, the bigger plan, by marrying in the same place as your relatives. We know these sorts of connections can make your day even more special.
And after your wedding, you’ll realise that a church is more than simply a wedding venue. We’ll always be here for you.
Who can get married in the churches of the Upper Kennet Benefice?
You can get married in one of our churches if you or your fiancé(e) live in one of our parishes.
You can also marry if you can show that one of you has at any time lived in the parish for a period of at least 6 months or that one of you has at any time regularly gone to normal church services in the parish church for a period of at least 6 months.
Alternatively you can also marry of you can show that one of your parents, at any time after you were born has lived in the parish for a period of at least 6 months, or has regularly gone to normal church services in the parish church for a period of at least 6 months or you can show that one of your parents or grandparents was married in the parish.
If you cannot demonstrate any of the above connections, please talk to the Rector as other options may be available.
If you have been married before please ask to discuss your situation with the Rector. If a church wedding is not possible a Service of Blessing may be an acceptable alternative.
When the conditions for getting married have been established the administrators will send you a Banns form for completion, and the Rector will arrange an initial meeting which will be followed by mutually agreed sessions for marriage preparation.
The Benefice Office will be very happy to help with the practical side of wedding preparations and will advise on the lay out of the Order of Service, offer guidance for your photographer and for video recordings, and give you an estimate of the costs involved. They will also arrange for your banns to be read in the Benefice, and will advise how to have your banns read elsewhere
Who do I contact to make enquiries about getting married?
The Benefice Office is the first point of contact to arrange a wedding so please email or phone Anne or Sophie
email@example.com or 01672 861786
A funeral marks the close of a human life on earth. It is the opportunity for friends and family to express their grief, to give thanks for the life which has now completed its journey in this world and to commend the person into God’s keeping.
We are here to assist you not only with practical arrangements before, during and after the funeral but also ongoing pastoral support in whatever form you find most helpful.
Once the funeral director or a member of the family has contacted us to ask for a funeral to take place the Rector will meet with you to hear about the person you have lost, to build a picture of that person’s life and discuss with you how you would like to celebrate and give thanks for them. This will usually include music special to the family or their loved one, reading from scripture or poetry, tributes from members of the family and time for quiet reflection. We have excellent organists available to assist with music and in some churches we have a facility for the playing of CDs.
On a practical note, if the funeral is not held at one of our churches, the time available in local crematorium chapels is usually half an hour, which allowing time for coming in and going out, leaves 20 minutes for the service. This is very often enough time to fulfil your wishes at this stage.
However, if you would like to include more music and musicians, allow time for members of the family to speak, or make use of display space for photographs a church setting may be more appropriated to your needs. We are able to offer beautiful ancient spiritual spaces, with clear acoustics, to celebrate and give thanks for the life of your loved one, in a reflective atmosphere of quiet dignity and peace where countless others have been entrusted to God’s love.
Ongoing pastoral care is always available from the Rector and others in the Benefice and once a year we hold an All Soul’s Memorial Service which brings great comfort to those who attend.