Letter to wedding couples, 6 August 2020

To all couples planning weddings
in the Corby Glen Group of Parishes

Thursday, 6 August 2020

Dear Friends,

For more than four months we have been living through strange and unprecedented times.  For the great majority of you this has meant times of considerable uncertainty and major changes to your wedding plans.  Since the beginning of July there have been conflicting statements from the Government about the conduct of wedding ceremonies.  All of the confusion that has been created by ill-informed and garbled messages in the media has led to a lot of you contacting me to ask exactly what is going on.  I hope that, in this letter, I may be able to help you get a clearer view of where we stand at the moment.

Firstly, I would like to say that weddings can go ahead but …

  • those attending weddings are limited to a maximum of thirty people (including priest, organist and verger) providing the church is able to accommodate such a number with appropriate social distancing.  To clarify that ‘appropriate’ distance, it remains at two metres for all except the bride and groom and those who attend as household groups or social bubbles;
  • the amount of music permissible is limited to organ music only;
  • banns of marriage are unlikely to be called, requiring all who wish to be married to arrange for the swearing of the affidavit required for the application for a Common Licence.

Many of you are qualifying to be married in the Benefice using the habitual attendance qualification.  As you know, this demands that you should be aiming to attend church at least once per month.  This particular qualification has been put on hold throughout the period of national lockdown, but our churches are now open again for public worship.  This has already led to many questions.

If you are able to attend church and it is safe for you to do so, you should be trying to attend church when you can.  In our Benefice only two churches have been re-opened for public worship.  These churches are St John’s, Corby Glen and St Andrew’s, Irnham.  In line with advice from our bishops, services are taking place in only one of these churches each week.  This Sunday (9th August) the services will be at 9am and 10.30am in St Andrew’s Church, Irnham.  The services are alternating between Corby Glen and Irnham.  Therefore, next week’s services will take place in Corby Glen at the same times.  It is not essential that you only attend services in the church in which you plan to be married.  All of the churches in the Benefice count as one when it comes to the application of marriage law.  Please do not be put off from attending because there is not a service in the church where you are planning to be married.

Having said all this, please remember that all who intend to attend a Sunday service should book a place to avoid too many people turning up and social distancing being compromised.  All bookings should be addressed to me.

If you have any other questions please do not hesitate to contact me.

With all good wishes and every blessing,

Revd Stephen