Along life’s journey there are a number of important milestones, as we’re born, grow up and become the people we are. At St Mark’s we consider it a great privilege to be involved in a special events like this, whether they’re at times of great celebration like baptism or marriage, or times of sadness and loss around a funeral.
Below you’ll find details on how to start planning these ‘life events’. We’ll be on hand to offer you good, practical help each step of the way to make your plans that little bit easier.
However, significant moments can raise all sorts of questions for us and make us feel differently about life. Choosing to have them in church also says something about our desire for God to be involved. Along the way, we hope we can provide help and guidance on how to make sense of these things from a spiritual perspective too.
A baptism service is a great occasion for celebration as we gather to mark the first of life’s great milestones. Here we give thanks for the birth of a child and pray for them as they receive God’s blessing and become a member of his family, the Church.
Baptism, or Christening as it is often known, is the first step in a lifelong journey of faith, where parents and godparents make important promises that the child will be brought up to know Jesus and to come to church to worship, to pray and to learn about their faith.
Services of baptism usually take place on the first and third Sunday of each month, at 12.15 pm. To book a baptism you will need to contact the Parish Office or use this enquiry form to send us your details and we will book a date with you for the service, as well as a date for your baptism preparation session.
Your baptism preparation session will usually be held the month before the baptism, following our informal 10am Family Service. Here you’ll have the chance to reflect on some of the spiritual aspects of baptism and your important role as parents in the process. We hope you’ll feel welcomed and at home during the service which precedes the session and consider making this part of your monthly routine as your child grows up.
Baptism for older children and adults
When children are old enough to understand something of what is happening in baptism it is important that they are consulted in the decision and are involved in preparation. Here the baptism visitor will take parents and children together through some of the important aspects and symbols of the service. Then, at the baptism service children will need to answer that they wish to be baptised and will often join in with the promises alongside parents and godparents. If a child has reached their teenage years it will be necessary for them to have a more in-depth level of preparation for baptism, perhaps as a part of a course with other candidates.
Older children are usually baptised in our normal baptism services and therefore the booking system is the same, i.e. through the Parish Office.
Baptism is not just for children, though – God’s call is for all, and adults will often want to take the plunge themselves. Baptism as an adult is an important faith decision and needs careful consideration and preparation. Therefore we will usually require an adult candidate to attend a short course to reflect on some of the issues involved.
If you are an adult and are thinking of baptism please contact one of the clergy.
When we are baptized as children our parents make promises on our behalf about how they will bring us up in the Christian faith. Confirmation is the opportunity to confirm and take on these promises for ourselves and enter into the fullness of baptism.
If you’re thinking of being confirmed please contact one of the clergy, who should be able to tell you when and where the next confirmation service will take place, and details of pre-confirmation classes. These are usually run over six weeks in a small, informal group setting.
In the past confirmation used to be the point at which people were able to take Holy Communion for the first time, however this is no longer always the case. Any adult who is baptized and who wants to experience the fullness of Christ’s saving death is welcome to receive bread and wine with us. Children who have had Communion before Confirmation classes are also welcome to take part in communion with us.
Getting married in church is a great occasion for a couple to celebrate their love and commitment to each other among family and friends, and to receive God's blessing on their life together.
Planning a wedding is a major event, so our committed team at the ‘Wedding Office’ are there to help. They’ll provide guidance on all those many practical details, from booking the date to choosing the music.
Of course marriage is much more than the wedding. Between booking and the wedding taking place the Clergy will help to prepare you, for everything you will need, by exploring different aspects and expectations of marriage, in a relevant and informal way.
The rules governing marriage in church are quite complex but essentially if you or your partner live in the parish and have not been married before, you will be able to be married at St Mark’s. To get the process underway contact the Parish Office to book a first appointment with the Wedding Office.
If you’re not sure whether you live in the parish you can use the Parish Finder to find out.
Where both parties live outside the parish it may still be possible to be married at St Mark’s if there is a strong personal or family connection with the church. Here, or where there has been a previous marriage, you will need to contact one of the clergy to talk through what might be possible.
Whatever your personal situation it’s important to put this great adventure of marriage into a spiritual context, so we encourage all couples to come to church as often as they can in the lead-up to their wedding day. We look forward to seeing you!
A funeral service is a sad event, as friends and relatives gather to comfort one another in their grief and to commit the person who has died to God’s care. However there is also room for celebration too, to give thanks for a life and to share memories.
Normally funeral services are booked through a Funeral Director who negotiates dates and times with the church and clergy. However, the care and support of those who are bereaved is important, so a member of the clergy is always happy to be contacted early in the process to give help and support at a difficult time.
Burials and Interments
St Mark’s churchyard is ‘partially closed’. This means that it can accommodate only second interments (into an existing plot) or burial of ashes in the Garden of Remembrance.
Many local families choose to have ashes of their loved ones interred into our attractively designed Garden of Remembrance. If you would like to enquire about having ashes interred at St Mark’s, or would like to reserve a plot for yourself or someone else, please contact the Parish Office.