What is marriage in the Anglican Church?
The prayer book teaches that marriage in the Anglican Church is the union of a man and a woman in a lifelong partnership in which they are called to unite in heart, mind and body, to enrich and respond to each other and grow in tenderness and understanding. It is a gift from God and a symbol of God’s unending love for his people. (The Preface, A Service for Marriage Second Order, from A Prayer Book for Australia 1995)
What are the pre-requisites to getting married in the Anglican Church?
According to Australian law, Anglican clergy are required to use only the rites of Anglican Prayer Books when conducting a marriage service.
The Commonwealth of Australia sets out certain legal requirements pertaining to marriage. These are defined by the Marriages Act (1961) and section 43(a) of the Family Law Act. One of the legal requirements placed upon clergy is that, when conducting a marriage ceremony, only those rites authorised by their particular denomination may be used. This means that, according to Australian law, Anglican clergy are required to use only the rites of Anglican Prayer Books when conducting a marriage service. The Anglican Church, furthermore, assumes that those couples approaching marriage are seeking a Christian wedding and are willing to be married within the Anglican tradition.
Who can be married in an Anglican Church?
Marriage customs vary slightly throughout the Diocese. Many parishes have an open policy regarding marriage – anyone wishing to be married in an Anglican church may be – but under the law of the Church, at least one party to the marriage must be baptised. The remarriage of divorced persons is possible in the Anglican Church with the permission of the bishop. Many parishes ask that couples being married attend a church service so they can have a chance to meet the minister and understand what church is. Please contact your local Parish for more detailed information.
How do I go about getting married in the Anglican Church?
The Marriages Act 1961 requires that at least one month’s notice be given using the prescribed Notice of Intention to Marry form to the proposed celebrant before the marriage takes place. Couples desiring to be married in an Anglican Church should contact the parish office, or attend a church service to meet with the minister well before the proposed date of their marriage.
Marriage preparation programs in the Diocese
While planning a wedding is important, it is even more important to make plans for the longer lasting celebration – marriage. Pre-marriage Preparation is the Church community’s way of giving support and guidance to a couple as they approach their marriage. Good pre-marriage preparation affirms the strengths in a relationship and clarifies the expectations a couple has for the marriage while providing the opportunity to face honestly the potential stressers in a life long relationship. Even couples who have already been living together for some time, are still two separate individuals with different backgrounds, personalities, experiences, hopes and fears. We believe that couples contemplating marriage owe it to each other to think and talk through all aspects of married life before the wedding.