The Church of England has given a updated guideline on weddings and baptisms during coronavirus season.
The latest guidance makes it clear that while these critical life experiences can still be identified at present, they would have to be scaled down very dramatically to satisfy the need for social distancing.
It also makes it clear that the Church will work with them to make this happen if families want to rearrange.
In the case of weddings, it advises restricting the number attending the ceremony to the legal minimum of five persons: the priest, the bride and groom and two witnesses.
As far as possible anyone else will maintain a social gap apart from the couple themselves. The guidance makes it clear that rituals like the priest touching the rings or the hands of the couple as part of a blessing or prayer are not needed.
This further clarifies that banner reading would not be necessary because it has suspended public worship services. Then, couples may apply for a license via another process, and those whose banners have already been read may continue.
Where appropriate, the guidance suggests streaming, however recognizes couples may wish to delay their marriage or continue, however offer a public blessing at a later date.
Similar steps are recommended for baptisms, with numbers restricted to the applicant, their parents (or guardians or carers), godparents and minister.
It adds that the nominee on the font will only be accompanied by the clergy and parents, with godparents maintaining a social gap. There are also specific hygiene instructions, including making it clear that the priest should not touch the child and water should be provided with an acceptable device such as a bottle.
It adds that the nominee on the font will only be accompanied by the clergy and parents, with godparents maintaining a social gap.There are also specific hygiene instructions, including making it clear that the priest should not touch the child and water should be provided with an acceptable device such as a bottle.
Incumbents have an duty to baptize the parishioners ‘ babies, so they can not avoid doing so in situations such as when a child is at risk. The advice, however, recognizes that families may wish to delay a baptism and encourages the clergy to help rearrange it as a suitable time.
Manchester’s Bishop, Dr. David Walker, said: “For months, even years, couples and parents, friends and relatives would have been preparing a wedding or a christening, for their special moment.
“Now it can go ahead – but with only the minimum required in attendance. You may need to cancel or postpone.
“Whatever decision is made, God’s love and blessing will still surround all those who would have been there that day.
“Prayers will still be offered, and there will be a special day to look forward to in the future.
“We encourage those who would have been there to hold couples and families in their prayers, and pray that everyone will know God’s love is holding them at this time.”
*Culled from Anglican.ink