Christian marriage is a solemn and public covenant between a man and a woman in the presence of God. The bond of marriage was established by God at creation. The union of husband and wife in heart, body, and mind is intended by God for their mutual joy; for the help and comfort they will give each other in good times and bad; and for the procreation of children (if it may be) and their nurture in the knowledge and love of our Lord Jesus Christ. This union is created by their free mutual consent, is entered into within the community of faith, and is life-long in intention. Therefore, marriage is not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, deliberately, and in accordance with the purposes for which it was instituted by God.
St. Augustine’s considers it an important ministry to assist couples who are interested in preparing for Holy Matrimony and celebrating their wedding in this spirit. The bride and groom are the celebrants of their marriage. When the Church presides over the ceremony it serves as the witness to the vows and, through the priest, bestows the blessing of God upon the union. The Church prays for the couple that they may have grace to fulfill their vows of fidelity and to create a Christian home and family.
In the Episcopal Church, it is required that at least one of the parties be a baptized Christian; that the ceremony be attested by at least two witnesses; that the priest have at least thirty days’ notice of the intention to marry; that the couple receive instruction about the nature of marriage before the wedding; and that the marriage conform to the laws of the jurisdiction in which the marriage takes place and the canons of the Church.
If one or both of the parties has had a previous marriage dissolved by annulment or divorce, application must be made to the Bishop of the Convocation, through the priest, for permission to be married in the Episcopal Church. This permission must be requested by the priest in writing at least thirty days before the proposed wedding date. The priest cannot give formal consent to officiate at the wedding until the Bishop’s permission is received.
If the couple has a preference for a particular date and time for the wedding or rehearsal, the parish office should be consulted as soon as possible regarding the availability of the church and priest. At St. Augustine’s, weddings are not held in Lent, the penitential season that extends from Ash Wednesday until Easter Eve, or on Sundays. The wedding date and time will be confirmed only after the couple has consulted in person with the priest. Marriage instruction usually consists of at least three sessions, with the couple and priest meeting for at least an hour each time, as well as a rehearsal with all key participants. As part of this instruction we use the Prepare/Enrich relationship assessment programme (www.prepare-enrich.com). The sessions are arranged by appointment, and are usually separated by several weeks.
For couples who are not active members of St. Augustine’s the following fees apply:
– Use of building: €200
– Services of priest: €300
– Organist: To be agreed directly with organist
We invite you to worship at St. Augustine’s so that you may feel confident that this is the faith community in which you wish to take your vows of Holy Matrimony and which will support you in your married life in Christ. It is expected that both parties intend to make commitment to a Christian community part of their married life. To schedule a time to talk to a priest about being married at St. Augustine’s, please call the parish office or contact the Rector, Fr. Christopher Easthill, at firstname.lastname@example.org.