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Church of England to pilot free wedding services

The General Synod of the Church of England recently passed a motion to initiate a trial for “free weddings.” Presently, couples who choose to have a church wedding are required to pay a fee of £480 for the service, regardless of whether they marry in a grand cathedral or a small chapel. This fee is typically divided between the church and the diocese. Representing Blackburn Diocese, Rev. Tom Woolford successfully convinced 237 members of the General Synod to vote in favor of a time-limited and regional trial. This trial aims to waive or significantly reduce the statutory fee, demonstrating the Church’s dedication towards pastoral care and marriage. Only 40 individuals voted against the motion, highlighting the broad support it received within the General Synod.

Christian Today reports:

In a rare burst of unity, General Synod yesterday passed a motion to set up a ‘free weddings’ trial.

Currently, couples coming to a church to get married are expected to pay £480 for the service. The cost is the same whether you marry in a cathedral or a tiny chapel – and the money is shared between the church and the diocese.

On behalf of Blackburn Diocese, the Rev Tom Woolford, persuaded 237 members of General Synod to vote in favour of a regional and time limited trial setting the statutory fee at nil or at a minimal amount in order to demonstrate the Church’s commitment to marriage and pastoral care. Only 40 people voted against.

To the amusement of those gathered, Rev Woolford appealed to the different tribes assembled: “Catholics please vote for this motion on sacramental grounds, as it is odious, simony even to charge for a sacrament, a gift of God and a means of his grace an icon of the relationship between Christ and his bride the church.

“Evangelicals, please vote for this motion on evangelistic grounds as more weddings will mean more and deeper contact with the unbelievers and not-so-sures in your parishes.

“Liberals, please vote for the motion on social justice grounds – the fee structure is like a poll tax, inexpensive for the rich but prohibitive for the poor.

Read the full article here.

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