It's great to be kept in touch with what Dorset County Council is doing for us, both through the free newspaper delivered to every household, and the excellent dorsetforyou.gov.uk website. However the last paper's centre page spread was misleading because it made no reference to Church weddings.
I take many weddings, and already have several bookings in for 2019. No two celebrations are the same, because every couple is unique and we craft what is appropriate. Alongside several appointments talking over things, we use the excellent yourchurchwedding.org website. It gives couples space to think about all the detail. We also use fliers which focus on individual areas.
Marriage in a local Church means so much for the reason that it is at the heart of the community. That's not all because ministers and others involved running weddings are part of that community. Over the years I've kept in touch with many couples, and been there for them as they mark occasions or seek advice. We're not just there for a ceremony, but for life's adventures too.
Working alongside others
Churches are delighted to be part of the community team: doctors' surgery, funeral directors, neighbourhood volunteers, event organisers, decorators and caterers. It might be that a woodland burial is required, and ministers are pleased to make arrangements through local funeral directors. I have shared occasions with secular celebrants, and join in Weymouth Crematorium's annual thanksgiving for loved ones who have died.
It's important to remember that the Church is here for the long term. Grieving takes more than many think. Yes, on the surface we can bounce back, but it takes years to find a second wind. Losing a child is particularly challenging, and we may grieve as much for what could have been, as for the past.
Again, I've had many a conversation helping someone work through grief. Love always costs us. I have also travelled with those whose faith has been shattered by tragedy, and I've been humbled by those who have grown by moving through difficulty.
So do remember when you make decisions about who you ask to lead important ceremonies in your life, that the Church is part of your community and will be there for you, and not just for an event.