Marriage and Baptism Policies in the Plurality of Uckfield, Isfield and Little Horsted.
The Church of England encourages people to use scripture, tradition and reason to come to a considered view on many subjects. Sometimes, after discussion and debate in the General Synod and elsewhere, national policies are agreed or, after consideration in councils, opinions are submitted. However, at times, there are differences of opinion which are allowed for within its structures. This often means that decisions and policies are made locally by the incumbent with Parochial Church Council.
The Church's view on marriage
The Church of England considers marriage to be a permanent and lifelong union, but the Church has always sought to combine long-held principles with a response to changes in society in a mature and responsible manner.
To be married within the plurality:
• one partner must reside in the ecclesiastical parish,
• or be on the church electoral roll;
• one of the couple must have been baptised or prepared for confirmation in the parish;
• one of you must have lived in the parish for six months or more;
• one of you must have at some point in your life regularly attended public worship in the parish for six months or more;
• one of your parents must have lived in the parish for six months or more in your lifetime;
• one parent has regularly attended public worship for six months or more in their child’s lifetime;
• one of your parents or grandparents were married in the parish.
Sadly, sometimes, marriages break down. As a church we seek to up hold the church’s doctrine on the sanctity of marriage whilst offering support to those for whom a marriage has broken down. We are able therefore, to offer to a couple, where one or both partners have been involved in a divorce, (so long as they were not the adulterous party) a service of blessing following a civil ceremony.
We are always delighted when parents are thinking of baptism for their child. Their child is precious to them and precious to God. At baptism parents promise to raise their child to know that God loves them, and to help them to follow Jesus as a member of the Church.
What is baptism?
In baptism parents are:
• thanking God for their child’s gift of life
• making a decision to start their child on the journey of faith
• asking for the Church's support.
A child’s baptism marks the start of a journey of faith, which involves turning away from all that is evil, turning towards Christ and becoming a member of the local and worldwide Christian family.
We seek to welcome all who come seeking Baptism for their children and will always seek to encourage parents in the responsibilities they are taking on to bring their child up within the worshipping community of the church and in the Christian faith.
Adults seeking baptism
When coming as an adult seeking Baptism we can only offer Baptism when it is joined with the sacrament of Confirmation. In Confirmation the adult is making for themselves, the promises that would have been made on their behalf by parents if they had been brought for baptism as a child. Confirmation may only be administered by a Bishop and it is usual to have a course of preparation before it.