The Blessing of Marriage

Congratulations!

You are engaged and we pray God’s wisdom, love, and presence be with you as you prepare for marriage. At St. Paul’s, the clergy are committed to offering to all duly prepared couples, whether same-sex or heterosexual, the blessing of civil marriages. These blessings of marriage will be celebrated by the assent of the priest with any couple who believe themselves to be called to make baptismally-grounded, monogamous, lifelong vows of fidelity to one another and before God in the context of a church community.

This means, at St. Paul’s you will have a civil ceremony and a religious ceremony. The civil ceremony will take place with a marriage commissioner (we have one available for you) and it can occur outside the church or in one of our rooms and then it will be followed by a religious ceremony officiated in the church by one of the priests of St. Paul’s.

Marriage preparation at St. Paul’s involves meeting with the clergy to become familiar with the liturgy (ceremony of blessing), information on civil marriage, and preparation for marriage within a Christian context. We also refer couples to professional counselors who are experienced in preparing couples for the challenges and hopes of married life.

How do we go about exploring a blessing of marriage at St. Paul’s?

The first step in moving toward a blessing of marriage is to contact the church office for an interview with our rector. It is best to arrange this meeting at least 3 months in advance of the desired date of the marriage ceremony.

Legal Requirements

  1. Both should be 19 years of age or have the consent of parents (consent form must be signed at time of licensing).
  2. There should be no any legal impediment to the marriage, such as either partner being already married, or being too closely related to one another.

Although the church views marriage as a lifelong commitment. It recognizes that sometimes marriages cease and relationships break down. The church offers support to persons who have experienced divorce and/or are seeking remarriage after divorce. You can have your marriage blessed in the church if you are legally divorced.

Other Church Requirements

  1. At least one of the couple must be baptized in a Christian church. If you have not been baptised, we invite you to explore what baptism means with our rector.
    2. Both parties must undertake marriage preparation as determined between yourselves and the priest who will officiate the wedding. Any successful long-term relationship takes work. You will also have the opportunity to talk about things that might challenge your marriage as well as identify and celebrate what will make your relationship strong.

Do you have to be a member of the Anglican Church?

 

St. Paul’s Anglican Church is a very popular venue for weddings. Other Christians may rent the church facilities and provide their own officiant, in consultation with our rector. We believe Christian marriages are both strengths for a community and in need of communal support, so we encourage you to explore and consider how you might be called to membership in the Anglican Church and to living out your marriage vows within the context of a church community

 Are there any date restrictions?

Yes, we do not celebrate the blessings of marriage during Holy Week, week before/after Easter, Christmas Day. Please call the parish office for more details.

Do you allow alteration of vows?

No, we do not allow alteration of vows. We belong to a tradition that values corporate and not overly individualized forms of public prayer and worship. The liturgies are authorized for use by the diocese of New Westminster – the local region that our parish belongs to. There is room to make many other choices however. Couples may choose readings, select from a broad range of music, and include family and friends at different points in the liturgy.