Comments: General Synod - February 2011 - pre-synod press reports

The Press conference with Fr Newton was recorded and may be heard here:

Posted by Seeker after truth at Tuesday, 18 January 2011 at 1:06pm GMT

If people are worried about excluding couples who can't afford the cost, why not just tie the fee to the total cost of the wedding? Couples with a lavish wedding and a big budget can surely afford a higher fee, whilst couples with a simple wedding and a tight budget would pay less.

10% sounds about right to me.

Posted by Nom de Plume at Tuesday, 18 January 2011 at 2:10pm GMT

'but the figures vary from parish to parish and the total often include hidden charges for “extras” such as musicians and flower-arrangers.'

There are often comments about 'extras' in weddings as if somehow this was a hidden way of the church getting extra income. It simply isn't. The fees for musicians go to them. Period. And similarly with flowers and bells etc. I do tire of this myth which suggests churches are raking it as a result of 'extras'. It makes absolutely no financial difference to them whether the marriage couple wish to employ the services of an organist or not.

Posted by Neil at Tuesday, 18 January 2011 at 4:02pm GMT

I'm confused by the stories about Baptism 'lite,' not having access to the liturgical texts in question. Can someone explain more clearly what is at issue? Is it length of service? Language within the service - and if so, what precisely about it? Too formal? Too archaic?

The other question is about the fees for weddings and funerals: I can't tell whether there is a national policy or not. Are the national ones advisory only?

In the States, as you might expect, each church, with the rector and vestry working together, can set its own wedding and funeral policies, including fees. The organist usually sets his/her own fee schedule for weddings, and some parish organists refuse to do weddings, having run into 'wedding planners' up the wazoo.

Places like Bruton Parish Church and other churches that might be called 'destination' churches that attract non-parishioners usually have fairly elaborate policies.

Generally in the US you do not 'pay for' a funeral, but offer a sum to the rectors's discretionary fund, and you offer a gift to the organist. [This may well vary from dioscese to diocese as well - I can really only speak of Dio of Virginia.]

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Tuesday, 18 January 2011 at 6:18pm GMT

I was rather astonished to hear that the C of E charges people for funerals. But as far as wedding costs go, when the average wedding runs at about twenty thousand pounds, a church fee amounting to one forty-fourth of that doesn't seem too steep to me...

Posted by Tim Chesterton at Tuesday, 18 January 2011 at 6:53pm GMT


This is the motion about baptism:

‘That this Synod request the House of Bishops to ask the Liturgical Commission to prepare material to supplement the Common Worship Baptism provision, comprising additional forms of the Decision, the Prayer over the Water and the Commission, expressed in culturally appropriate and accessible language.’

It has been sent to Synod by the diocese of Liverpool and the background is explained in the paper GS 1816A:

You can find links to the current Common Worship baptism texts here:

Posted by Peter Owen at Tuesday, 18 January 2011 at 11:20pm GMT

The current parochial fees are listed in this table:

They are statutory fees, and apply to all parishes. They are not advisory.

Posted by Peter Owen at Tuesday, 18 January 2011 at 11:29pm GMT

Thanks, Peter, for the clarification and links.

Could not some of the baptism concerns be taken care of during pre-baptismal sessions with parents and sponsors?

In the States we have an option for marriage that you may not: the marriage takes place in the context of regular Sunday Eucharistic worship. This is often the choice of older couples who are past the Bridezilla stage of life and/or no longer feel an obligation to fulfill weddinglust of mother of the bride.

And of course TEC churches are not obliged to do weddings for anyone who just drifts in the door and wants "a pretty setting for my daughter." Most churches have policies about at least one of the couple having ties to the church.

Pre-wedding counseling is mandatory - usually over several months, and marriage after divorce requires determining that issues from the previous marriage are settled and permission of the bishop.

A couple of years ago I did some casual research into wedding policies in TEC churches, which vary. For instance, one TEC church in Texas explicitly forbids anyone from carrying a gun, at rehearsal or the ceremony itself. Several state that if anyone in the wedding party shows up drunk at the rehearsal or the ceremony, there will be no wedding. These things make you wonder, don't they?

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Wednesday, 19 January 2011 at 2:09pm GMT

"For instance, one TEC church in Texas explicitly forbids anyone from carrying a gun, at rehearsal or the ceremony itself"

Clearly, Texas does not condone shotgun weddings!

Posted by Erika Baker at Wednesday, 19 January 2011 at 3:06pm GMT

I quite like the idea of a wedding fee set at 10% of the overall cost. I regularly suggest that to couples as an appropriate 'tithe', though no one has taken me up on it yet.

Posted by Sara MacVane at Wednesday, 19 January 2011 at 5:11pm GMT

It has always seemed odd to me that couples would be quite willing to pay the photographer lots of money for photographs, whereas the maintenance of the historic church buiding and the professional quality of the Marriage Service are not deemed to be of at least equal value to the happy pics.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Saturday, 22 January 2011 at 9:28am GMT
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