An Essex church is offering free weddings. The cost of the service, the choir, the organist, the verger and the heating is being waived by the church, Holy Trinity in Springfield. The fees normally cost £280 alone. From the Chelmsford Diocesan website:
Valentine sweethearts can tie the knot for free at a Chelmsford church. Romantic Rev Tim Ball, vicar of Holy Trinity Springfield, believes that marriage is best. So he’s waiving the cost of the service, the choir, the organist, the verger and the heating.
And the good news is that the offer will be available throughout the year.
“My church believes that marriage is best for couples, for children and for the community,” says big-hearted Tim.
“So we have put our money where our mouth is. We will pay all the costs of the service in the church. We are offering a free marriage service to parishioners because Holy Trinity is a good place to celebrate love and commitment.”
Presumably the organist, choir, verger and the man who turns the handle on the boiler have been consulted.
Before you all rush off to get married there I should make you aware of the small print. One of you has to live in the parish or you have to be ‘full and regular members’. Not full or regular, full and regular. It’s both/and, not either/or. There is also a marriage preparation evening which must be attended and an optional 8 week ‘bolt-on’ course all about ‘the basics of the Christian faith and what it means for today’.
In the unlikely event that you meet these criteria and happen to want to get married this year and happen to be a reader of this blog – what are you waiting for? Give the ‘Romantic Rev’ a call.
Update: I asked Rev Tim how they could afford to do it and he has kindly got back to me. Everyone is being paid as per usual. The church has made a decision to foot the bill. Here’s a section of his response:
These are our points for doing it. (I would say that we are doing it for people who live in our parish – it is not for the whole world.)
- We want to say how important we think marriage is, best for couples, best for children, best for society.
- We want to express our faith in generous giving – we don’t want to say we will ‘do it for Free’ – but that we will ‘pay for it’ because we have to pay the fees to the diocese, to the organist and for the verger etc, – so it is not just a case of not collecting the fee payable to the PCC.
- We would like to highlight the fact that the Christian marriage service expresses a higher ideal of committed love than any other wedding service.
- We hope we might encourage couples who aren’t married to consider it, or even to do it.
- We want to put our money where our mouth is – in that sense it is sacrificial, we see it as an investment in the kind of society we would like to see as bearing the marks of the kingdom of God.