Suffolk's bishop on marriage reform
SUFFOLK'S senior bishop is leading a reform which will make it easier for couples to get married in the church of their choice.Existing law gives couples a right to marry in the parish church where one or both of them live, whether they are baptised or not and whether they are churchgoers are not.
SUFFOLK'S senior bishop is leading a reform which will make it easier for couples to get married in the church of their choice.
Existing law gives couples a right to marry in the parish church where one or both of them live, whether they are baptised or not and whether they are churchgoers are not. To marry in any other parish requires a special licence or six months of regular attendance followed by entry on the local church electoral roll.
But the new Church of England Marriage Measure will mean couples can marry in a church where they have family or another special connection, even if they don't live there.
The change has been led by the bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, Rt Revd Nigel Stock, who helped lead the group that pushed the measure through the Church's legislative body, the General Synod.
The General Synod decided that the existing laws were too restrictive in a mobile society and wanted churches all over England to be free to celebrate more weddings and support more marriages.
It means couples arranging a wedding for this autumn will be able to make plans now, knowing that the new legislation will be in force from October 1. It also gives clergy a few months in order to find out exactly how the changes will take effect.
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Bishop Nigel said: “Once the new Measure comes into effect I really do hope that we will be welcoming many more people for marriage in Church.
“It is already our privilege to celebrate the weddings of 57,000 couples every year and of course, welcome their guests to the occasion.
“Research does show that many more people would like to marry in church than actually do. I hope that this new law will make it much easier for clergy to say yes to couples when they first enquire.”
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