The churches of the Parish are able to help when you want to arrange a Baptism, Wedding or Funeral.
 
If you or a member of your family has reached a point in your faith journey and are thinking about confirmation or first communion, (for children) then the information is below.
 
If you cannot get to church for health reasons we may be able to help with home communion.
 
There are many other life events that you may wish to celebrate and the churches will be pleased to discuss them with you. Please contact the the Parish Office.
 
  Visit Frequently Asked Questions (bottom of the page) for information on:
  • celebrating a wedding anniversary
  • renewing the marriage vows
  • blessing of new wedding rings
  • becoming an Anglican
  • blessing of a new home.
  • confession and reconciliation
  • renewal of baptismal vows
Baptism
Why Baptism?

The birth of a baby is a time of great happiness. It is an occasion of joy, pride and excitement. It is a time to celebrate and have a party. Many parents still want their child to be baptized or 'christened', though their reasons for this can be varied:

  • they want to feel that God is on the baby's side, a sign of good luck;

  • some see it as a 'naming' ceremony and an opportunity for a social occasion;

  • some people have their baby baptized because it's part of the family tradition.

Baptism is much more than this.

 
What is Baptism?
In Baptism we celebrate the beginning of a personal relationship which God offers and we celebrate becoming a member of his family the Church. When we are baptized we enter the Christian community through which we are united to Jesus Christ himself. Baptism is not a one­off event, it's not about having baby "done" and then forgetting about it once the party is over. It is the beginning of a lifelong journey, a voyage of discovery as we grow to love and know God within the context of his family the Church and become sharers in the Church's mission.
 
Who is Baptism for? Is it just for babies?
Not so. Increasingly the Church is welcoming adults of all ages into the Christian community. (There is a single service for both infants and adults). !t would be expected that adults follow an enquirers' course for a better understanding of the Christian faith called Just Explore.
Do you baptize infants? Yes we do because Baptism is a grace and gift of God that does not presuppose any human merit.
 
Will I be expected to bring my child to worship?
In the baptism service the priest asks the parents and godparents two questions:
  1. Parents and godparents, the Church receives this child with joy. Today we are trusting God for their growth in faith. Will you pray for them, draw them by your example into the community of faith and walk with them in the way of Christ?

        Answer: WITH THE HELP OF GOD WE WILL

     

  2. In baptism this child begins his/her journey infaith. You speak for them today. Will you care for them, and help them to take their place within the life and worship of Christ's Church?

        Answer: WITH THE HELP OF GOD WE WILL

So the answer is pretty clear isn't it? In all cases, parents are expected to attend a Preparation Evening in church before the baptism can take place.
 
 
 

 
Confirmation
The Sacrament of Confirmation has a continuity with Baptism
It offers adults and young people an opportunity to take ownership of the Baptismal vows made on their behalf as infants.  This is done before the Bishop, representing the whole Church.  Through confirmation we are strengthened in the Holy Spirit for our ministry and mission to other people.
 
Adults interested in Confirmation should speak to their Team Vicar.
 
Confirmation for Young People
Confirmation is the opportunity to confirm your faith in Jesus publicly; taking personal ownership of the promises that were made on your behalf at baptism in front of the Bishop (who represents the whole church) as well as friends and family. Confirmation is open to any young people aged 14 or above.
 
The Confirmation Course is managed by Mike Kelly and Sheila Sayers, with Mike and the Clergy team delivering the course. All sessions will be run from the youth office in the Oliver Bird Hall from 7pm until 9pm.
 
Since you can only get confirmed once we want to make sure it’s the right thing for our young
people at the right time, so signing up for the course doesn’t mean you have to be confirmed at the Service on the 17th May. If you are interested contact Mike at the youth office or Sheila Sayers
 
The course will consist of 10 sessions; Six session before the confirmation and four afterwards. : 8th February / 29th February / 14th March / 28th March / 2nd May / 16th May / 30th May / 13th June / 27th June / 11th July
 
We ask that anyone interested makes five of the six sessions prior to confirmation and at least three out of four afterwards. However, we understand that young people lead very busy lives and we don’t want this to exclude them from being involved. The youth team are happy to work around this and run repeat sessions at other times that suit young people.
 
Marriage
There may be many reasons why couples still choose to be married in church:
  • It's something the bride has always dreamed of doing;
  • It wouldn't feel quite right elsewhere;
  • It's traditional and what the family expect;
  • St. Alphege is a beautiful church and was where mum and dad were married and I was baptised...
But surely there must be more to it than this? Indeed there is, and this is set out in something called 'The Preface' in the marriage service.

Please read the following extract carefully:
Marriage is given, that husband and wife may comfort and help each other, living faithfully together in need and in plenty, in sorrow and in joy... ....

It is given as the foundation of family life in which children are born and nurtured in accordance with God's will, to his praise and glory....
In marriage husband and wife belong to one another, and they begin a new life together in the community. It is a way of life that all should honour; and it must not be undertaken carelessly, lightly, or selfishly, but reverently, responsibly, and after serious thought.
This is worth thinking about and discussing together: what does this mean for each of you?
Falling in love is a very human experience. But when we decide to make lifelong promises in church, we are making a commitment not only between ourselves, our family and friends, but in the sight of God.

We are pledging ourselves to unconditional love, and for life. This is a daunting task, but God offers us his own supreme love to strengthen and sustain us, to make this love possible. This is what lies at the heart of Christian marriage, which is why marriage is one of the seven sacred and special events of the Church known as Sacraments.
 
When we consecrate that love in Christian marriage our love becomes a sign of God's love to the world. Christians may wish to celebrate their marriage within a celebration of the eucharist, often known as a 'nuptial mass'.
 
This is why faithfulness matters
Following the words of Jesus himself, the Church teaches very strongly that marriage is for life, and for two very basic reasons, the first practical, the second spiritual:
  • From a practical view the one thing all human beings need above all else is security in love; children especially need a loving, secure home.
  • The spiritual reason is that by learning to live faithfully and unselfishly in hard times as well as in good, we are actually deepening our humanity by learning to love as God loves, growing in his image and preparing to share in his life after physical death.
If you would like to explore further the meaning of Christian marriage we would be very willing to talk with you. The fact that you may have been living with a partner for several years, or that you may have children, should not be seen as reasons not to explore Christian marriage further by making an initial telephone call to the Parish Office.
 
 
Divorce and re-marriage
Whilst the Church teaches very strongly that marriage is for life we recognize that some marriages, sadly, will reach a point of irretrievable breakdown. For many this can be a very painful experience and the Church wants to offer support, welcome and the comfort of fellowship and worship. Yet because the nature of the marriage vows speak of "till death us do part", usually second marriages do not take place in Church, but may be followed by a service of dedication following a civil ceremony. These can be truly joyous celebrations with choir and bells. As a parish we are happy to explore this further with couples and offer it as a possibility following an interview with the Rector. (For details such as the renewal of Marriage Vows within a service of thanksgiving e.g. a 'silver' wedding and a short service for the blessing of new wedding rings, see FAQ below).


Funeral
Death is a reality that everyone has to face, both for themselves and for those close to them. It is almost a taboo subject, but in the end, it comes to us all.
 
So what do Christians believe about death?
Well, first of all, that God's love and power extend over all creation. More than that, every life, including our own, is precious to God. Because of what Jesus accomplished by his dying on Good Friday and his rising from the dead on Easter Day, Christians have always believed that physical death is not the end, that there is new life in Jesus Christ after death.
 
Help is available
At the time of death those close to the deceased experience a range of emotions which may include, shock, disbelief, anger and a deep sadness; there is a whole range of other emotions as well.

At such a time it remains very difficult to deal with all the issues that arise from such a sad loss, which is why Christians are encouraged to think about and place their own funeral: it is not a morbid thing to do, for it will save one's relatives much strain, stress and argument if clear, written instructions are left. The clergy are available to discuss this further should you so wish.
 
If you wish to arrange a funeral for a deceased loved one, here is some initial information:
There are basically two types of funeral service.
  • The one which is most familiar to people consists of a bible reading, a couple of hymns, some prayers and a homily/sermon. It may contain a brief tribute about the departed, but this is usually incorporated in what the priest will say.
  • For the Christian who has worshipped regularly there can be no better way of having one's funeral than in the context of a eucharist, thus affirming St. Paul's conviction that "nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus".
 
You can arrange to discuss your wishes with a member of the clergy by contacting the Parish Office.