Baptism, Wedding and funeral services are offered at all 8 of our churches and we would love to hear from you if you are considering any of these life events. We can offer advice and support all the way through, and will do our best to make these enjoyable and memorable events for you and your loved ones.
Baptism and confirmation
According to the Methodist Worship Book, baptism (or Christening) marks entry into the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, of which the Methodist Church is part. The Methodist Church, like most denominations of the Christian Church, administers the sacrament to both adults and young children.
How do we get our child baptized?
Parents wishing to have their children baptized should approach their local Methodist minister at the earliest possible moment. The minister will be able to explain what’s involved. This may involve, in some cases, parents being willing to undertake a number of instruction sessions.
If you are planning to get married and are considering a Methodist church, here are guidelines to help you.
What is the first step?
Usually a couple wishing to get married should approach the Methodist Minister of the church at which they wish to be married. This would normally have to be in the civil registration district in which they live.
Marriage preparation is provided at a local level by the circuit ministers. The best route is to start making links with the minister likely to conduct the wedding. As part of the legal process, prospective marriage partners will need to go to the local registry office and will be given a copy of a book called ‘Married Life’, which is a helpful resource for people thinking about the implications of getting married. The Methodist Church produced a Christian Preparation for Marriage report in 1998. There is also an ecumenical website about marriage preparation.
One of us is divorced. Is that OK?
The rules and laws relating to divorce are not made by the church but by the State. Methodist Church House is not in a position to offer advice on couples’ pastoral situations. The best advice is to speak to the local minister or the superintendent minister of the circuit where you live.
The Methodist Church is generally willing to marry people who have been divorced, while their previous spouse is still alive, as long as there are not major obvious reasons why it would be inappropriate to do so. There are a very few ministers who will never marry someone who has been divorced, but such a minister will refer the couple to a minister who is willing to marry divorced people.
The local minister will be able to explain the legalities about going to the registrar for a certificate and so on. The Methodist Church does not argue that the grounds for divorce should be changed from the present ones. We would certainly encourage a couple going through difficulties in their relationship to seek advice, counselling and support to see if they can rebuild it. We would also expect people to take very seriously their responsibilities to any children of the marriage.
Does one of us have to be a Methodist?
People wanting to marry in church don’t have to be members of the church, but most ministers will ask them why they wish to marry in church. A church marriage is a solemn Christian ceremony, with prayers and Bible readings reflecting Christian understandings of what marriage is about. Whilst people wishing to marry in a Methodist church do not need to be church members, most ministers will look for a genuine desire on the part of a couple to take their marriage seriously along the lines set out in the service. Discussing what this means in practice will be part of the marriage preparation.
What if we are from two different denominations?
Many marriages in Methodist churches (and many couples marrying in Methodist churches) include people from different Christian denominations. Where two people from different church traditions marry, it is quite common for ministers from both churches to take part in the ceremony. This is welcomed. Sometimes, people from different faiths marry – and there is advice available for such marriages.
How do we arrange a funeral?
Most people will use the services of a local funeral director, who will provide advice and organise all the practical arrangements. If you would like a funeral to involve the church and a local minister it is a good idea to find out if they are available before booking the time and date of the service.
The person who has died may have left details of the sort of funeral that they hoped for. Ministers will want to support families in keeping to such arrangements as much as possible and in making the service a personal and appropriate occasion. Taking funerals is an important part of the minister’s work and he or she will take time to visit families, offering comfort and support before and after the funeral itself. In some churches they may be able to offer the ongoing support of one of their pastoral team.
Burials and Cremations
Few Methodist churches have burial grounds and those that do are mostly full, so burials usually take place at the local cemetery. Just over half of funerals today are cremations and services may take place entirely at the crematorium or as well as a church service. If cremation is desired this leaves the question of what to do with the ashes. Crematoria have gardens of rest where they can be buried or scattered and many churchyards have a special place set aside for this even when there is no space left for graves.
The time between a person’s death and their funeral is often very busy and full of practical arrangements. Often it is only after the funeral that the full extent of loss affects the bereaved.
Grieving is a natural and important part of coming to terms with and healing this loss and it may continue for several months. There are people in most local churches who have experienced loss and they are often the best people to offer support in the months and years following a death. Ministers may be able to offer help or find others who can provide such friendship and support. There are patterns and themes to bereavement but each person is different and it is important for people to be supported in finding their own way through grief.
For further information please contact your local church or email the circuit administrator: firstname.lastname@example.org
Further information on these services can also be found at: