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THE PARISH CHURCH OF ST MARY, WEXHAM
POLICY ON RE-MARRIAGE AFTER DIVORCE
Within the doctrine of the Church of England marriage is always undertaken as a ‘solemn, public and life-long covenant between a man and a woman’. Nevertheless the Church recognises that some marriages fail and that there are exceptional circumstances in which a divorced person may be married in church during the lifetime of a former spouse.
St Mary’s takes seriously the concept that marriage is a God-given institution which is to be undertaken ‘reverently and responsibly in the sight of almighty God’ and is intended to be a life-long commitment. It is sympathetic, however, to couples wanting to be married in church where one or both parties have been through the pain of a failed marriage and wishes to be supportive of them in their new life together. This support is available to couples who live in the parish in ALL situations regardless of whether a remarriage in church is felt to be appropriate.
Marriage Services in Church after Divorce and during the Lifetime of the former Spouse
St Mary’s follows the Church of England’s policy that remarriage in church after divorce and during the lifetime of a former spouse is appropriate in exceptional circumstances only. The normal process is as follows:-
Initial contact is made via the Priest-in-Charge who will arrange to meet with the couple at a mutually convenient date to discuss the options available. (NB Where both parties live outside the parish they will be referred to their local parish church unless they have genuine connections with St Mary’s.)
In accordance with the advice issued by the House of Bishops, the couple may be asked to think about the following questions:
a) What does marriage mean to you?
b) What have you learned from your previous marriage?
c) Has there been healing of past hurts?
d) If you have children, how are they being looked after?
e) What do others think of your marriage plans?
f) When did your new relationship begin?
g) Have either of you been divorced more than once?
h) Are you wanting to grow in the Christian faith?
The couple will also be invited to consider other options available to them, especially a Service of Prayer and Dedication (commonly called a Wedding Blessing).
At the end of the initial meeting, the minister will leave a form for the couple to fill in and return if they decide to go ahead with a remarriage in church.
On receipt of the form the minister will arrange to meet with the couple again to discuss at greater length the issues raised at the first meeting and to decide on the appropriate way forward.
Services of Prayer and Dedication (Wedding Blessing)
Many couples, once they appreciate the processes and options available, decide a Service of Prayer and Dedication after a civil marriage will be the right way forward for them. We are always willing to offer such a service at St Mary’s and, indeed, find we can adapt the service to the needs of each individual couple in a more personal way than is usual within the normal marriage service. In situations where one of the partners has never been married, we are especially happy to make the service a particularly special one which, while not a marriage service, gives true worth and credence to the occasion.