Be nice – even at weddings

Vicars in the Church of England – where weddings in church are declining rather rapidly – are instructed to be more welcoming and allow for a more casual attitude at weddings, according to an article in today’s Times. Seven Heavenly Ways to Welcome Wedding Guests is the title of the new guidelines published by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, Dr Rowan Williams and Dr John Sentamu.


  1. I play a lot of weddings, and I think there is a happy medium. My parish occasionally has a wedding-gone-wild that needs to be reigned in, but more often the congregation sits there in stony-faced silence, not praying or singing, looking more like a funeral than a wedding. The unchurched are hard to engage, but this even applies to regular members of our parish who actively participate on any given Sunday. My pastor encourages the wedding party, family, and guests to pray the prayers, sing the songs, and make this a holy -celebration- of God’s love. “If you are happy on this occasion, please inform your face and voice so you can join the celebration.”

  2. All I can think of is the one wedding in the film “Four Weddings and a Funeral” that the presiding vicar, magnificently played (at the Peter Seller’s level) by Rowan Atkinson, mangles every major collect and prayer, finishing with “In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spigot.”
    You can’t get more welcoming than that.

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