Weddings, Baptisms & Funerals

Baptism, Marriage, Civil Partnerships and Funerals

Information on special services, including thanksgivings and commemorations can be found on the Special Services page.

Baptism

Like most Anglican parish churches, the Cathedral Chapter's policy is willingly to baptise people who live in the Cathedral parish or those who are regular worshipping members of the Cathedral congregation.

Baptism has sometimes been thought of as a spiritual insurance policy or an inoculation against going to hell, and was often sought out of fear and superstition. In the Church of England, Baptism is now understood as the first step on a lifelong journey of Christian faith. It looks forward to the development of a person's relationship with a loving God through membership of the Christian Church. It requires of those bringing children for baptism a commitment to regular worship, a willingness to learn more about prayer and Christian faith, and to Christian living.

That welcome therefore makes most practical sense in the church where the child and family are (or are going to be) regular worshippers, and where participation and involvement will most naturally grow. That is normally in their home parish or a church nearby. You can find out which parish you live in by using the Postcode Search.

Children of 8 and older who have been baptised and are regular worshippers may be admitted to Communion before Confirmation, which normally takes place around the age of fifteen. Adults who have not previously been baptised will be prepared for Baptism and Confirmation.

The Church of England also offers a Service of Thanksgiving for the birth of a child. This simple service recognises the wonder of a new birth, includes prayers and readings and asks God's blessing on the child and its family. This service does not require the same commitments as Baptism, and leaves open the possibility of Baptism at a later stage.

There is more about Baptism and Thanksgiving services on www.churchofengland.org/weddings-baptisms-funerals

To enquire further about Baptism or Confirmation at the Cathedral, contact:

Cathedral Office
Tel: 020 7367 6700
E-mail: cathedral@southwark.anglican.org

Marriage

The Cathedral, like any Anglican parish church, is required to observe certain legal rules when it comes to marriages.

Those who live in the Cathedral parish are entitled to be married here and people whose names are on the Cathedral Electoral Roll by virtue of having worshipped here regularly for at least six months can also be married here.

The Electoral Roll option is not intended to be a way of getting you to come to church, nor a way for you to get round the rules. It is hoped that by worshipping here regularly, you would become part of the community for the long term, in which case it would make perfect sense to be married in what would by then have become 'your' church. If you decide to use the Electoral Roll option, we do not start discussing wedding dates until the six month period is complete.

The only other option is an Archbishop's Special Licence. This is a more rarely used route for people who have a strong personal association with the Cathedral, but who for some good reason cannot fulfil the other criteria. It involves making an application which has the Cathedral's support to the Archbishop's Faculty Office. We are willing to support the application of someone who might have been a member of one of the Cathedral choirs as a youngster, for example, or someone who worshipped here regularly while they were a pupil at the Cathedral's schools.

Marriage preparation is offered to people being married at the Cathedral, but we are unable to offer preparation to people being married elsewhere.

If one or other of you has been married before, your situation will be considered in a personal interview, following the guidelines provided by the General Synod of the Church of England.

Even if you do not qualify to be married in the Cathedral, you are of course entitled by residence to be married in your local parish church. To identify your local parish church, you can use the Postcode Search

Enquiries are welcome from people wishing to discuss the possibility of a service of thanksgiving following a civil marriage or the celebration of an anniversary; and we are happy to welcome those in civil partnerships who wish to come to the Cathedral for prayers.

There is more about Marriage in the Church of England on www.churchofengland.org/weddings-baptisms-funerals

To enquire further about Marriage at the Cathedral, contact the Canon Pastor,

Cathedral Office
Tel: 020 7367 6700
E-mail: cathedral@southwark.anglican.org

Civil Partnerships

Preparation and Prayer

The Cathedral Chapter is dedicated to the mission of the Cathedral as a fully inclusive church.

Same sex couples are welcome to approach the clergy with regard to preparation and prayers when entering a Civil Partnership and for continuing support and counsel within their relationship.

The House of Bishops of the Church of England has declined to authorise a service of blessing for a Civil Partnership. The bishops' statement says, 'Where clergy are approached by people asking for prayer in relation to entering into a civil partnership they should respond pastorally and sensitively in the light of the circumstances of each case.' (para18)  The Chapter abides by the pastoral statement of the bishops as a matter of policy. The full statement of the bishops may be read at http://www.cofe.anglican.org/news/pr5605.html The Chapter's practice in this matter was set out in a widely published sermon by the Dean in December 2005 and in the General Synod by the Sub Dean in July 2007 to widespread approval.

Couples approaching the clergy should expect a warm welcome and affirmation. In most cases the Chapter would expect approaches from regular worshipping members of the congregation, resident parishioners and members of the Church Electoral Roll. Because there is no authorised blessing service however, the criteria of parish residence and Electoral Roll membership do not apply in the way they do for marriage enquiries. After preparation, people entering a Civil Partnership are welcome to attend any service of the Cathedral, with friends and family if they so wish, to hear the scriptures, pray, and, where appropriate, receive Communion. Normally the clergy would expect this to occur as near as possible to the civil registration of the Partnership.

Baptism, admission to Communion and Confirmation for children of same sex couples

The House of Bishops is clear in its guidelines that, 'an unconditional welcome should be given to children in our churches, regardless of the structure of the family in which they are being brought up' (para24) and ...(baptism) 'cannot be refused'(para 25). Same-sex foster and adoptive parents resident in the parish and/or who are regularly worshipping in the Cathedral, or intend to make it their place of regular worship, are welcome to approach the clergy regarding their children in the same way as all other parents.

Funerals

The Cathedral is available for the funeral services of people who live in the Cathedral parish or who are regular worshippers here.

The cremated remains of people who have had a strong personal link with the Cathedral may be buried in the Cathedral Churchyard.

Contact should be made with the Cathedral Office:
Tel: 020 7367 6700. E-mail: cathedral@southwark.anglican.org

To arrange a Memorial Service please contact:
rose.harding@southwark.anglican.org

To enquire about making a donation or placing a permanent memorial in the Cathedral or the Churchyard in memory of a friend or loved one, please contact:
marie.tims@southwark.anglican.org