Weddings should be limited to 5 people during Coronavirus outbreak, says Church of England

ITV Website Thursday 19th March:

“Church of England weddings during the coronavirus outbreak should be limited to a maximum of five people, including the bride and groom, new guidance says.

And apart from the couple themselves, everyone else should observe a social distance as far as possible, the guidance says.

The Church said important life events can go ahead but must be “very significantly scaled back” so people can follow the Government’s social distancing advice.

Couples are being advised to “stream” their ceremony to absent friends and family, and the Church will work with those who wish to rearrange in light of Covid-19.
The Church said weddings should be limited to the legal minimum of five people – the priest, bride, groom and two witnesses.

The Bishop of Manchester, Dr David Walker, said: “Couples and parents, friends and families will have been planning for months, even years for their special moment, whether a wedding or a christening.

“Now it can go ahead – but with only the minimum required in attendance. You may need to cancel or postpone.
“Whatever decision is made, God’s love and blessing will still surround all those who would have been there that day.”

Apart from the couple themselves, everyone else should observe a social distance as far as possible, the guidance says.

The advice recommends similar measures for baptisms, with numbers restricted to the child, their parents, guardians or carers, godparents and the minister.

The priest should not hold the child and water should be administered with an “appropriate implement” such as a shell.
Only clergy and parents should join the candidate at the font, with godparents maintaining a social distance, it adds.”

Note from St Mary’s. The above does not mention funerals, and so we are keeping to the maximum of 10 at present.

Emma has been contacting all wedding couples for 2020. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact her on 02392 321380


What has been happening……


Following the announcement from the Archbishop of Canterbury, all services in the Church of England are to be suspended immediately, and for the foreseeable future.This will also include all smaller mid-week groups like house groups, youth, courses, wedding preparation, PCC etc.


Weddings and funerals may still go ahead but with restrictions: maximum of 5 people at weddings and 10 at funerals, all socially distancing, and no one over 70 years, ill or vulnerable. Weddings may be re-booked for later in the year or next year. Please contact Emma at the office with any questions.


The church building will remain open during the day, but any visitors are requested to maintain government guidelines re hygiene and social mixing.

We have made the difficult decision to close the Tea Rooms for the foreseeable future. With the current guidelines around social distancing we feel that this would be best.

Thank you to everyone that frequents the Tea Rooms and we hope to see you all again soon.

The Parish Office (Tel 02392 321380) will be closed, but phone calls will be re-directed to the Parish Administrator’s home phone and regular office hours (M-F 9:30-2:30) will still be held, although remotely.

St Mary’s is not going to sleep, and will continue to minister as best we can, but with a different way of doing church. We will try and maintain pastoral contact through Facebook, Website, Mail Chimp and telephone.

We are meeting with other community leaders to see how we can best care for those elderly and vulnerable in the community and provide for practical needs.

We are also setting up daily worship on-line and will keep you posted on details.

For updates from the Church of England please visit their site here.

For update from the NHS please visit their site here.