WELCOME to Brentwood United Reformed Church
Baptism,Weddings and Funerals policy
- Baptism is offered by this congregation in conformity with the policy of the United Reformed Church.
- Baptism is a sacrament of entry to the Church and administered once only to any person. This is done in the context of worship. It involves a profession of faith, either by the person being baptised or by their parent(s). Also promises are made by the person or parents and the congregation (see the service book Worship from the United Reformed Church).
- This congregation offers baptism to those coming into membership who have not been previously baptised.
- This congregation offers baptism for the infant children of church members who wish to have their child baptised.
- For church members who do not wish to have their infant child baptised we offer a Thanksgiving for the Birth of a Child liturgy in the context of worship which involves the dedication of parents and blessing of the child.
- Concerning requests from parents who do not profess a Christian faith or have no involvement in the life of a church, the Minister, perhaps accompanied by an elder, will discus this matter with the parent(s). They will make clear the congregation’s understanding of baptism and the significance of the statements of belief and promises made concerning the continuing place of the child in the life of the Church. Normally we would recommend a Thanksgiving for the Birth of a Child liturgy in such circumstances, omitting promises concerning Christian upbringing.
- Concerning “requests from a distance”, where the person or infant and parents do not live within usual travelling distance of the congregation for regular worship, we take seriously the promises made concerning the place of the person baptised in the ongoing life of the Church. We would recommend that a baptism be sought through a local congregation. Alternatively we would be open to the possibility of offering a Thanksgiving for the Birth of a Child liturgy, omitting promises concerning Christian upbringing.
- No fees are charged either for a baptism of a thanksgiving liturgy.
Policy concerning weddings conducted by
Brentwood United Reformed Church
- As a congregation in the Reformed tradition although we do not regard marriage as one of the Church sacraments we do regard it highly, a gift from God, understood as a life-long partnership.
- In deciding whether to conduct a wedding there are a number of situations where we regard the decision as “non-controversial”, those where both are members of the church and those where both have a clear faith commitment, expressed in a visible church commitment of some type.
- We are open to conducting a wedding for those who have not made a faith commitment and are not regular in attendance at worship. Discussion prior to a decision would begin with seeking to find out why a couple are seeking a church wedding at this church.
- Concerning weddings where there is a previous marriage legally dissolved and the former partner is still living:
· We recognise that in some cases people approach the church after a previous marriage relationship has “died”. Understanding that God affords the opportunity for new beginnings in life, we are not opposed to the possibility of remarriage in principle.
· We recognise two particular situations which in scripture are explicitly given as grounds for allowing another marriage to take place – adultery, desertion because the partner has come to Christian faith
· We understand the above as indicative of principles rather than the sole grounds for contemplating another marriage e.g. marriage relationships that have broken down due to being the victim domestic abuse, desertion or other cause
· For any wedding to take place there must be proof that the previous relationship is legally dissolved
· The church representative must be satisfied that all obligations arising from the previous marriage, including financial arrangements relating to the former partner and any children have been agreed and put in place.
- Concerning blessing ceremonies for same-sex civil partnerships, a request would be brought to the congregation’s Church Meeting for a decision.
- Concerning preparation for marriage, we normally expect couples to participate in a course of marriage preparation meetings prior to the wedding taking place.
- Fees, where appropriate, will be charged according to the structure in place at the time of the wedding.
Policy concerning funerals conducted by Brentwood United Reformed Church
- Agreement to conduct a funeral is subject to availability of a suitable officiant from the congregation and the church premises. The presumption is that if both are available then the service will be offered by the congregation.
- Fees will not be charged for the funeral of a church member.
- At the discretion of the Minister and/or Elders Meeting fees will be waived for those with a current or prior association with the congregation.
- Where charging fees for the church premises is considered appropriate this will be at previously agreed levels. Individuals involved may choose to charge or waive any fees due to them as they think appropriate.