Church of England Diocese of Birmingham St. Faith and St. Laurence, Harborne

Special Life Events - Weddings (and Banns), Funerals and Baptisms - Updated for the current times

We are delighted to share with you in the significant events in your life and in your family.

Currently, there are significant restrictions around all these services. Please do contact the Vicar, Priscilla on 07896 935798 to discuss. The official advice on weddings and funerals as of March 18th is here.

Weddings

PRACTICAL GUIDANCE FOR WEDDINGS

If you are due to get married in the coming months, we recognise that this may be a time of great concern.

It will be possible for your wedding to go ahead with minimal numbers in attendance, or if you wish to rearrange your day, we will do everything we can to help you do so.

The following advice is provided for those planning weddings, either who wish to go ahead, or to find an alternative date in the future.

BEFORE THE WEDDING

It is advised that meetings between the couple and the priest are held by telephone, skype etc rather than face-to-face. If meetings can only be held in person, social distancing guidance will be followed.

This should also be communicated to anyone in the wider circle of friends, family or colleagues in advance who may wish to attend. Sadly, those over the age of 70 and those with an underlying health condition are strongly discouraged from attending any in the present circumstances.

PLANNING THE WEDDING

While wedding services may continue, numbers attending the ceremony in church will need to be strictly curtailed to the legal minimum, which is the priest, bride, groom and two witnesses.

Where family relatives or friends are unable to attend given the restrictions on numbering, churches will be happy to explore ways to allow others to join the service, either through platforms such as Skype, or recording the service to send at a later date to anyone unable to attend.

Where no audio link can be achieved, an order of service could be sent either by email or post.

Apart from the bride and groom, the physical distance should be observed as far as possible.

The priest does not have to touch the rings to bless them, nor does he or she have to touch the couple’s hands as part of a prayer or blessing, so it is possible for the service to proceed as normal.

No additional church personnel will attend the service, for example organists, vergers or sound system operator etc.

If a couple wishes to cancel their wedding, then any fees or deposit paid to the church will be refunded in full, and if the couple wishes to postpone, the church will work with them to find a suitable future date wherever possible.

Where it has not been possible for marriage banns to be read because of restrictions to public services, a Common Licence or Special Licence may be appropriate. The priest will be able to help you to ensure you have what is necessary.

For those going ahead with their wedding, it could be possible to have a blessing at a future date with more friends and family in attendance. Prayers can also be said during the service for any who are unable to attend.

AFTER THE WEDDING

In keeping with the recommendations to limit social gatherings, there should not be a reception or other gathering after the marriage; this should be arranged at a future date once Government advice permits.

We will do our best to explain any changes or delays which may be an inevitable consequence of the current restrictions, but we are here to support you and to ensure your wedding can go ahead or be rearranged to a suitable date in the future.

Funerals

PRACTICAL GUIDANCE FOR FUNERALS

In this exceptional time, the Government’s guidance on social distancing and self-isolation will have a major impact on all aspects of everyday life, including the way funerals will be conducted for the immediate future. Christian funerals will continue in the Church of England but inevitably there will be some adaptations to protect everyone.

This means funerals can go ahead, but they may be different from what might normally be expected.

BEFORE THE FUNERAL

It is advised that meetings between the bereaved and the person taking the funeral (officiant) are held by telephone, skype etc rather than face-to-face. If meetings can only be held in person, social distancing guidance will be followed.

PLANNING THE FUNERAL

Although this will be very difficult for everyone, numbers of those attending the funeral will have to be kept to a minimum – we advise immediate family only. This should also be communicated to anyone in the wider circle of friends, family or colleagues in advance. Sadly, those over the age of 70 and those with an underlying health condition are strongly discouraged from attending in the present circumstances.

Any changes to the normal service will be explained by the officiant to the family.

Where family relatives or friends are unable to attend a funeral service, clergy can still take a funeral at the graveside or crematorium, even if those present are limited to clergy and funeral directors.

Consider whether a memorial service could be held at some point in the future, which is an opportunity for more people to come together once Government guidance permits.

Those who are self-isolating may be offered the opportunity to join the service via a system such as Skype or another audio link. Failing this, a recording could be made which can be sent to anyone unable to attend after the service.

Where no audio link can be achieved, officiants may be able to provide an order of service, either by email or post.

No additional people should be expected to attend the service, such as an organist, verger, sound system operator etc.

DURING THE FUNERAL

Everyone attending the service must adhere to Government guidance on social distancing. Please follow the directions of the officiant and funeral director if you are attending a service.

While naturally those present may wish to shake hands or hug, all present should refrain from doing so in light of guidance on physical distancing.

AFTER THE FUNERAL

In keeping with the recommendations to limit social gatherings, there should not be a wake or other gathering after the funeral, although it may possible to hold a gathering at a later date

If you are organising the funeral of a loved one, we are acutely aware of what a difficult time this will be. We will do our best to explain any changes or delays which may be an inevitable consequence of the current restrictions – for example, to the burial of ashes – but we are here to support you and to ensure a Christian funeral and burial can still be provided.


Baptisms

Under normal life, the following text applies.

Baptisms are held in the 10am Sunday service. We don't have a specific week in the month that we do them but are happy to negotiate a mutually convenient date. The best way to make contact is to come to a 10am service and catch the Vicar (Priscilla) afterwards.

Weddings are a wonderful occasion, we would very much like to talk to you about getting married here in this beautiful church. Again the easiest thing is to come along and catch the Vicar on a Sunday when an appointment to book can be made.

If you aren't getting married here, Banns are normally read in the month prior to the wedding on the first three Sundays of the month. Booking is a simple process and again most easily done after church. You need to bring evidence of identity and address and the fee, which in 2019 is £45.

For any of these of course email or phone Priscilla first if you prefer. 07896 935798 /  [email protected] or use the "Get in touch" section of the website.

Funerals can be a difficult and complex time and we very much want to offer you support to have a service which both reflects the life of the person who has died and which offers a perspective of hope and the love of God when things are hard. Usually bookings are made via funeral directors, but if you wish to make contact directly first that is absolutely fine. Either telephone or email is good and we attempt to respond as quickly as possible.

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