From the cradle to the grave
23 May 15
Over the centuries the parish church has stood at the centre of community life.
St Laurence's, like all English parish churches, was the place where the community gathered to celebrate, worshipped Sunday by Sunday and marked those vital moments in human existence - birth, marriage and death.
Over the years that I have been ordained there have arisen a variety of new ways of marking and celebrating these events. In many ways I welcome this. I want people who come to the Church to do so freely knowing that there is another choice. But the choice of using the Church is still there and I would encourage everyone to consider it.
If you want your child to grow up in the Christian faith then to have your child baptised is a wonderful way of declaring your intentions and committing him or her to be a follower of Jesus. Your child needs the support of your family but also the support of the whole Christian family. We strongly encourage you to come and worship with us so that we can get to know you and support you in your wonderful but demanding task. Baptisms take place either on most Sunday afternoons or on Sunday mornings on the fourth Sunday of the month. We will do our best to find a date and time to suit you.
St Laurence's is a stunning setting for your wedding. Many choose to be married in St Laurence's Church because it is such a beautiful building in a delightful setting. Most speak of wanting that most precious moment of their lives to be in God's house. As we meet we will gently talk about faith together but be assured you do not need to prove your faith. All are welcome! Should one or other of you be divorced do not automatically assume I will say No. Telephone me and we can arrange an appointment to talk it through together. Come and see if a Church wedding is the right way forward. If you don't live in the parish, again do not assume you cannot get married in St. Laurence's. Phone or email and ask. Whatever your circumstances, I will plan the service with you, so that we can create an event that reflects your personalities whilst being a profoundly joyful celebration of love.
It is one of the greatest privileges of being a Vicar that I can support people in the time of deepest grief, to journey with them in their pain. Do remember that I am here for all parishioners - not just those who attend Church. If you are planning a service at the crematorium don't think that I cannot help. I can be asked to take services there and will willingly do so. Sometimes the myth is circulated that a service taken by a Vicar will not be a personal celebration of one's loved one’s life. I think the opposite is true. If we can look forward with hope in eternal life, it is easier to look back not just with sadness but with joy and laughter. As you plan a loved one's funeral or as you take out a funeral plan you will need to choose carefully, but remember we are here for you.
Have a great summer,
Your friend and Vicar,