Baptism

Bringing children into the world is frequently considered one of the most wonderful experiences and opportunities we can every hope to have. It is also natural to want to say thank you to God for the gift of a newborn child.

Adults and children can be baptised at a Baptism service usually held at 11.15 on a given Sunday of the month at St Mary’s. Optionally this may take place during one of our main services.

Children are baptised in the Church of England at any age from a tiny baby onwards.

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Godparents

Children can have three godparents – girls two godmothers and one godfather and boys two godfathers and one godmother. Godparents should be Baptised and Confirmed and will normally be at least 16 years of age.

Eligibility

To qualify for baptism in one of our churches you must live in one of our parishes or be on the Church Electoral Roll of the parish. If you were married in one of our churches but have now moved away and this is your first child we are sometimes able to baptise your child.

Preparation

Before your child is baptised, you will be invited to come to a preparation session, normally held in St Mary’s Hall, Ross-on-Wye. One of the clergy will lead the sessions and will answer any questions you may have.

Godparents are also encouraged to attend this session as they will find out the specific role which they can play in your child’s Christian upbringing.

Those who are old enough to understand and make the promises themselves will need three sponsors rather than Godparents. They would be expected to consider Confirmation.

To arrange a Baptism or a Thanksgiving for your child please contact the Benefice Administrator.

Thanksgiving for the Gift of a Child

This service provides an opportunity for parents and families to give thanks for the birth or adoption of a child and to pray for family life. It may be a private celebration at home or in hospital, or it may be a public celebration in church, sometimes with a number of children.

This service is not the same as Baptism. Unlike Baptism, it does not assume commitment to the Christian faith and to membership of the Church. Baptism expects a commitment to the Christian faith and to the Church by parents and Godparents. Moreover, unlike the service of Thanksgiving, we insist that Baptism takes place within the context of another service when the regular congregation are present to welcome their new member.

If you would like this service of Thanksgiving for the Gift of a Child soon after the birth and prior to Baptism or you think that this service might actually be more honest and realistic for you instead of Baptism, please be in touch with the Administrator or one of the clergy.


Weddings

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We would love to welcome you to celebrate your wedding together in any of our churches, where couples have been coming to be married for the last 700 years.

The information below will hopefully answer some of your questions about who can be married here, but we are here to help and will do everything to make it happen for you so don’t be put off by the rules and regulations. We acknowledge that everyone’s circumstances are different, special and unique and we work with all couples to make sure they have what they want.

Additionally, more information and ideas about marriage in the Church of England can be found here. If you have any further queries, or would like to book a date for your service, then please contact the Benefice Office or one of the clergy.

Do you have to ‘go to church’ at our preferred church to be married there?

No. As with any Parish Church in England, anyone who lives in the Parish of Ross, Walford or Brampton Abbotts automatically qualifies to be married in any of our churches (though please be aware that Brampton Abbotts Church is currently closed).

In addition, you are also eligible if one of you:

  • has at any time lived in the parish for a period of six months or more, OR
  • was baptised (‘christened’) in any of our churches, OR
  • was confirmed in one, OR
  • has at any time regularly gone to normal church services for a period of six months or more, OR

if one of your parents, at any time after you were born:

  • has lived in the parish for a period of six months, OR
  • has regularly gone to normal church services in the Benefice for six months, OR
  • if one of your parents or grandparents was married here.

We’re sorry this is all a bit complicated – Please have a word with us if you’re still not sure whether you qualify and we’ll do our very best to make it work.

Is it a problem if one of us is divorced or if one of us is a foreign national?

No – not as a rule, however if either of these applies to you then you need to contact one of the team to let us know.

What other choices do we have?

The words of the service are fixed (although you can choose between the traditional or more modern language options), however any additional readings or poems, all the music and whether you want the choir, the bells or any extra flowers are all up to you.

The service can be filmed if you wish and the photographer can take photos throughout (as long as they are discreet action shots during the service itself, with specially posed photos done before and after).

Do we have to get married on a Saturday?

No – it can be any day of the week (including Sundays) as long as the time slot is free. It does have to be between 8.00am and 6.00pm however (legally we can’t do evening weddings yet).

How much does it all cost?

The current cost in 2019 is £??? (there is likely to be a slight annual increase for future years). Optional extras are as follows:

  • Organist: £97
  • Choir: £97
  • Bells: £260
  • Service sheet: £???

If we have been married elsewhere, could we have a ‘Blessing’?

Yes, whether you would have just been married or are celebrating an anniversary from some years before. As a service of ‘Blessing’ isn’t governed by Marriage Law, you would not have to ‘qualify’ by living here or by one of the other categories above. There is no cost for the service itself (we invite a donation instead) but any of the extras you might wish to include would cost the same as above.

What about the reception?

Well the great news is we can help there too. In March 2019 St Mary’s completed the final stage of freeing up the internal space in the main body of the church which means that we now have a totally flexible interior that could easily accommodate a wedding reception. No one has done this yet but if you’d like to be the first we’d be excited to work with you to bring it about. Please let us know.


 Funerals

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Sometimes a funeral can be anticipated, at other times we find ourselves having to make arrangements for a funeral unexpectedly. We hope the information here will be helpful if you find yourself having to arrange a funeral of a loved one.

Eligibility

Anyone is entitled to a funeral service in any of our parishes provided they lived there, have died in one of the parishes or are on the Church Electoral Roll of one of the parishes in the Benefice.

Burial and Interment of Cremated Remains

  • For families wishing burial or interment in one of our churchyards, the deceased must have been resident in the parish, or have died there or have been or the Church Electoral Roll there or be in possession of a faculty.
  • The deceased may be buried or have their cremated remains interred in an existing family grave where there is space if the family concerned agrees.
  • Ross Churchyard is now closed for burials except where there is unused space in a double grave.

Arranging a funeral

  1. Choose a funeral director who will explain the choices open to you and their cost.
  2. The funeral director negotiates with you and the Benefice Administrator when and where the funeral is to take place. The priest taking the service will have been given early details of the funeral supplied by the funeral director to the Team Office.
  3. The priest taking the service will visit you to take things further.

Churchyards and Monuments

  • If you wish to mark the grave or interment plot with a memorial stone, you arrange this either through a funeral director or directly with a stonemason of your choosing.
  • All stonemasons are governed by the Diocesan Regulations for headstones and memorial tablets in churchyards.
  • The Church Fees which are standard throughout the Church of England will form part of bill you receive from the funeral director or stonemason.

Memorial Services

•  These can be arranged in any of our churches by contacting the Benefice Administrator

•  The same fees apply as for funerals.

Link to the National Association of Funeral Directors