Can we get married at St. Mary’s?
First, congratulations on your engagement! We’re delighted that you are planning to marry, as we are committed as a church not only to encouraging marriage, but to supporting people in it too, through a regular Marriage Course for couples!
Second, we’re delighted that you are considering St. Mary’s as a place to make your vows; but because we are committed to helping couples, we are only in a position to marry those who have a real connection with our church or parish. What we suggest is that you come and talk that through with one of our minsters after a church service, where we can explain things more fully. But the Church of England has helpfully made clear what a ‘real connection’ actually means:
1. Are one or both of you actually resident in our parish? (ie with names on the civic electoral roll) NB Not all Cheadle addresses are in our parish, you may need to check on the map in church or on this link http://www.achurchnearyou.com/ .
2. Are one or both of you on the church electoral roll? You may enter your names on the roll after you have worshipped regularly in the church for at least 6 months, and that’s a great way to prepare for a marriage. NB if you do intend to worship regularly with us, but are not yet on the roll, we can only book something provisionally pending completion of that term.
3. Does one or both of you have a “qualifying connection” with the church from the past? There are various things that count: having been a regular worshipper for over 6 months in the past (ie on roll, being baptised/confirmed), or being resident in Cheadle for 6 months in the past, or your parents were on the church roll or resident in the parish for 6 months or more, or your parent or grandparents were married in the church. Come and chat through your situation with a minister if you aren’t sure.
Third, because of our concern to uphold a Christian understanding of marriage, we do have some other limitations on whether we can marry you or not in church. In particular, there are only very limited circumstances in the Bible that allow for the remarriage of a person who has been divorced, and whose former partner is still living. While we do believe there can be forgiveness and a new start for people, the past is never something to deny, so in some circumstances it is more appropriate to seek for a Thanksgiving and Dedication after a Civil Marriage rather than a full service in church. However, because each person’s circumstances are unique, we strongly recommend you come and talk through your position with one of the clergy team, so we can help you from there. (NB In accordance with National and Church of England law, we do not marry same-sex couples in the Anglican church)
So, if you still are interested in joining us for your marriage, come along after one of the church services, and we can talk through the details, and make preliminary arrangements. You may also find this more detailed guide helpful in planning your arrangements with us: Wedding Information Sheet