Following on the news that the Church of England is now offering a combined service of matrimony and baptism for the couple's children comes this letter to Church Times:
Sir, — Although there are major issues — including careful preparation — to be clarified, I was encouraged by the pragmatic suggestions about combining marriage and baptism services (News and Letters, 31 July).
This, however, is nothing compared with a report I received a few days ago about a recent service in an Anglican Church in Uganda:
“As the [confirmands] came up for confirmation by the Bishop a couple of ladies were taken aside and questioned as to whether they were co-habiting. When this was established they stood aside whilst the confirmation continued. A marriage service was then arranged for six couples, partners were summoned (two were not at the church), and the six couples wound up in front of the Bishop.
“Coats, wedding rings and ties were borrowed from the congregation. Best men were selected and bridesmaids drawn from the large congregation. The service then started with full ceremony and was punctuated with singing and clapping and much happiness. Having their relationships blessed by God and formalised by the Church meant so much to the couples.”
A warning, though, to those who might get ideas for extending these “combinations”. This service lasted five-and-a-half hours.
The Revd Don Brewin
Billington, Leighton Buzzard
Beds LU7 9BW