Church of England Diocese of Bath & Wells Wedmore

Life's Major Events: Christenings, Weddings and Funerals

Christenings:

A new baby is a special joy to his or her parents and a decision to christen the baby is a way to give thanks to God for the safe delivery of a new child and to pray for God's help in protecting them. At a christening the parents and godparents make commitments before God that they will help to bring up the child in the image of God and bring the child eventually to Confirmation. During the christening service the baby is baptised with water as a sign of the new life begun within God’s family, the church.

So although a baptism ceremony is a special occasion for the family, and especially for the parents, it is also an acknowledgement before God of the responsibilities that those close to the child will assume in the child's early life, and also before the church family in which the child will be brought up.

Wherever possible baptisms are normally conducted as part of a regular Sunday service, as the wider church family are likely to be present and be able to welcome your child.

To discuss possible arrangements please speak to the vicar on 01934 713 566. You may want to have a look at the Church of England website all about Christening which has lots of useful information to help in your planning. www.churchofenglandchristenings.org

Weddings:

A wedding is a happy event, celebrating a couple's decision to make a lifelong commitment to each other. And a wish to make that commitment in church is even better; giving thanks to God and making the promises to Him as well as to the assembled congregation of relatives and friends, that will form the bedrock of the couple's future lives together.

The option of a church wedding is available to more people than you might think. There are some requirements as to who is able to be married in a particular church; you may want to have a look at the churches dedicated website www.yourchurchwedding.org which has guidelines about this as well as lots of other useful information about planning a wedding.

One of the added benefits of a church wedding is that, as well as meeting with you a number of times to plan the ceremony, we also offer time for you to prepare for your married life together.

In the first instance, our vicar will be happy to hear from you, and will help steer you through the decisions you will need to make; and help to prepare you for the serious commitment you are both about to make and the joyful day itself. 

Funerals:

Losing someone close to you is never easy. If you find yourself in this position, we are sorry for your loss, and would like to be able to pray for and support you during this time.

A funeral marks the end of a human life on earth. It is an opportunity for friends and family to express their grief, to give thanks for the life which has now been completed, and to commend the person who has died into God’s keeping.

Funeral services in the Church of England can vary greatly, from a very short and quiet time, with only a few members of the family present, to an occasion of great solemnity with music, hymns, and a church full of people. Services can be tailored to suit whatever the family feels is appropriate in order to celebrate the life of their loved one. This may include hymns, a favourite piece of music, prayers, readings and a eulogy. The words and actions of the funeral service all speak of a loving God and his longing to comfort us at difficult times in our lives.

Arranging a Funeral

Planning a funeral for a loved one can often help with the grieving process. The deceased person may have left arrangements in their Will for the service. They may have planned the service in greater detail with you. If you are not sure, then the minister taking your service can guide you through all of the arrangements. If the circumstances of the funeral are particularly sensitive, distressing or unexpected, the minister can also guide you through the special arrangements that are possible.

The first step is to approach a funeral director who will then contact us to check availability of ministers. Please don’t send arrangements out to your family and friends until the details have been confirmed with the funeral director and minister.

If the minister did not know the deceased person, then they will want to talk with you to build up a picture of the person’s life.

The funeral director plays a very important part in all these arrangements and will want to know if the funeral is to be in one of the churches here or if the minister is to take the service in the crematorium. Funeral directors know the local ministers, the local cemeteries and the crematoriums. As part of a national network of funeral directors, they can, if necessary, give advice on funerals in other parts of the country, as well as on costs and fees.

After the Funeral

People who have lost someone close to them are often so busy with practical details and arrangements between the death and the funeral that they do not experience the full sense of their loss until later.

Grieving is a natural and important part of coming to terms with and healing this loss and it may continue for some time. We can help if you would like us to. You might find a visit from our vicar helpful; he can listen to you, share with you in your grief, and if you would like, pray with you. We also have a special annual service where the church and wider community can come together to remember and give thanks for those who have died. For information about any assistance we can give contact us. 

Our vicar (Revd Richard Neill) can be reached on 01934 713 566