Quite a bit of my work involves “hatches, matches and despatches” as I often hear baptism, weddings and funerals described. At my Ordination service I was told that as a priest I was to “baptise and prepare the baptised for Confirmation” and “minister to the sick, and prepare the dying for their death”. It is a part of my work that is a real privilege; being alongside people when they are rejoicing at the birth of a child, celebrating their love in a marriage, or in the deep sadness of bereavement.
Over the centuries the church has been involved in the marking of these life events, but today it is not just the church that offers a place to celebrate or remember; hotels and specially licensed places offer weddings and naming ceremonies, and crematoriums and woodland burial places offer funeral services led by civil celebrants.
The churches in Belton and Burgh Castle are still very much involved in celebrating weddings and baptisms and marking the end of life. As a Church of England church we are here to serve the people who live in the parishes of Belton, Browston and Burgh Castle and their families.
Our churches are two wonderful venues for a wedding day celebration, and regularly used and enjoyed for such events. A bride and groom wanting to get married might want to know that they are entitled to be married in their local church if either one of them (or their parents) live in the parish or have lived in the parish for at least 6 months some time during their life, or if they were baptised or confirmed in the parish, or one of their parents or grandparents were married in the parish. One of the highlights is helping to prepare a couple for marriage and encouraging the bride and groom to consider how to make their marriage service personal for them, with readings and music of their choice. Further information about Church of England weddings can be found at www.yourchurchwedding.org
Baptism is the service of welcome of a child or adult into the church; it marks the starting of a life-time journey of faith as a follower of Jesus. In Belton and Burgh Castle we ask the parents seeking to have their child baptised to come along to the church a few times before we conduct the baptism so that they and their child can get to know the family of the church who will welcome them into the world-wide church family on the occasion of the Baptism. Further information about Church of England christenings/baptisms can be found at www.churchofenglandchristenings.org
Towards the end of life there are often many thoughts and questions in the mind of a loved one and their family, a journey that can be shared and eased by conversation. As the parish priest, I am here to be alongside and help in any way I can. Many people say that they are “not religious” but might still have a hymn or a prayer at a funeral service. The Church of England website talks about flexibility and a service specially crafted for each unique individual; you can find out more at www.churchofenglandfunerals.org
Next month I hope to launch a project to help people plan their own funeral. It is something that has been appreciated by a number of people in the villages already, giving the opportunity to look in detail at the style and content of their funeral service. It has brought comfort to the dying person, and their family, knowing that everything has been sorted out in advance.
In Paul’s letter to the Romans he writes about love needing to be seen in action and includes the phrase Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Romans 12: 15. It is the privilege of the church to serve you in times of celebration and commemoration. If you want to find out more, please contact me, Rosie on 01493 780210 or firstname.lastname@example.org or look at the website.