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Baptisms & Weddings

Do I live in St Matthew’s Parish?

Please refer to the map to the left. This should help you decide whether or not you are resident within the ecclesiastical parish. Knowing which parish you live in is of particular importance when you are wanting to get married in church or seeking baptism. Please refer to our guidelines to the law.

For the most part, the parish boundary travels along the middle of the road, where those resident on one side of a road are within the bounds of the parish and those on the other are not. In each case those resident within the parish will be living on the side nearest St Matthew’s Church, as follows:


on the southwest side of Park Avenue North

the northwest side of Abington Avenue

the north side of Abington Grove and Kingsley Road

There may be particular uncertainty where the parish boundary crosses a road, as is the case at the north end of Park Avenue North, the Kettering Road, and Hazeldene Road. In these cases we will be able to help you.

Initial Enquiries Evening (by appointment)

Our Initial Enquiries Evenings take place on the First Wednesday of each month, 7.30pm – 8.30pm within the Parish Centre at the rear of St Matthew’s Church. Those who wish to attend one of these evenings are asked to contact the Parish Office during work hours to make an appointment. Please note that these sessions are by appointment only in order that our volunteers' time is well used.

You are assured of a warm welcome by our team of people who are there to help you. They will explain the requirements of the law as it relates to your enquiry, and guide you in what happens next. You will also be given a welcome pack and other information which will help you to make the right choices.

In each case an Application Form will need to be completed. If you do not have all the required information to hand this may be submitted later via the Parish Office during office hours (as indicated on the Contact Us page).

These evening sessions are a first point of contact for enquiries about:

The Sacrament of Baptism (also known as christening)

We are delighted you are thinking of baptism for your child. Your child is precious to you and precious to God. At baptism you promise to raise your child to know God loves them, and to help them to follow Jesus as a member of the Church.

Baptism is freely offered to parents who are resident in the Parish, or when non-resident, where parents can demonstrate good pastoral reasons for seeking baptism at St Matthew’s. Such a request will also require the written permission of your parish priest.

Parents who are resident in St Matthew’s Parish and wanting - for similarly good reason - to have their child baptized in a Church of England church elsewhere should also attend this meeting, or enquire via the Parish Office.

What is baptism?
In baptism, you as parents are:

thanking God for his gift of life

making a decision to start your child on the journey of faith

and asking for the Church's support

For your child, baptism marks the start of a journey of faith, which involves turning away from all that is evil, turning towards Christ and becoming a member of the local and worldwide Christian family.

In baptism, we thank God for his gift of life and publicly acknowledge his love. In the Church of England it is common to baptize young children; this is sometimes known as christening. Baptism is a 'sacrament', an outward and visible sign of something inward and unseen, that is traced back to Jesus himself being baptized in the river Jordan.

Marriage (also known as Holy Matrimony)


Marriage is a gift of God in creation
through which husband and wife may know the grace of God.
It is given that as man and woman grow together in love and trust,
they shall be united with one another in heart, body and mind,
as Christ is united with his bride, the Church.

(From The Marriage Service)

Today more than a quarter of all marriages in England take place before God in the traditional setting of a Church of England church. You're welcome to marry in church whatever your beliefs, whether or not you are baptized, and whether or not you go to church.

The Initial Enquiries Evening is for couples living in the Parish who wish to be married at St Matthew’s, and those living in the Parish who wish - in certain circumstances - to be married in church elsewhere. In either case Banns of Marriage need to be arranged. Please see below for further details.

Legal aspects of marriage
In marriage you take on a whole new legal status as man and wife and this can have many benefits.
To ensure the marriage complies with both UK Civil and Church law, there are certain aspects of a church wedding that must be fulfilled.

Reading of Banns
Banns are an announcement in church of your intention to marry and a chance for anyone to put forward a reason why the marriage may not lawfully take place. Banns need to be read in the parish where each of you lives as well as the parish church in which you are to be married, if that is somewhere else. You must have your Banns read out in church for three Sundays during the three months before the wedding. This is usually done over three consecutive Sundays but does not have to be.

If there is not enough notice given for the Banns to be read before the marriage is due to take place, or in the case of the marriage of people whose nationality is not British, or if one or both of you do not live in England, it is recommended that the Licence procedure be used rather than Banns. This is especially recommended if there is any doubt as to the legal requirements of the home country of a non-British person for recognition of an English Church marriage.

You must be old enough
If you are under 18 years old you will need your parents' consent to marry, and by law you cannot be married in the UK until you are 16.

Time of wedding
To be legal the wedding must take place between 8.00am and 6.00pm.

There are some circumstances in which you may need a Special Licence, Common Licence or a Superintendent Registrar’s Certificate to marry in church. We will let you know if these apply to you.

Marrying outside your parish
It is now much easier to marry in a church that has a special connection for you, even if it is not in your own local parish. Lots of people marry in their own local church, but we know that you might like to marry in a church away from where you live because it has special significance for you through family or other connections.

An engaged couple can now marry in a Church of England church away from where you live if either of you can show one of the seven connections with the parish listed below.

You can marry in a Church of England church if you can show that one of you:

has at any time lived in the parish for a period of at least 6 months

was baptized in the parish concerned

was prepared for confirmation in the parish

has at any time regularly gone to normal church services in the parish church for a period of at least 6 months

Or, that one of your parents, at any time after you were born:

has lived in the parish for a period of at least 6 months

has regularly gone to normal church services in the parish church for a period of at least
6 months

Or, that one of your parents or grandparents:

was married in the parish

In all cases involving church services - i.e. going to normal church services, baptism, confirmation or marriage - this applies only to Church of England services.

Dedication of a Civil Marriage


Marriage is given, that husband and wife may comfort and help each other, living faithfully together in need and in plenty, in sorrow and in joy. It is given, that with delight and tenderness they may know each other in love, and, through the joy of their bodily union, may strengthen the union of their hearts and lives. It is given as the foundation of family life in which children may be born and nurtured in accordance with God’s will, to his praise and glory. This is the meaning of the marriage you have made.

The Church of England provides a form of service for those who have been married at a civil ceremony and wish to come to church as husband and wife to dedicate to God their life together and seek his blessing.

Thanksgiving for Marriage


Renewal of Vows

The Priest says to the couple(s)
I invite you now to recall the vows that you made at your wedding.

Husband and wife face each other and hold hands.

The husband says
I, N, took you, N, to be my wife;

The wife says
I, N, took you, N, to be my husband;

The couple say together
to have and to hold from that day forward,
for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer,
in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish,
till death us do part, according to God’s holy law,
and this was our solemn vow.
Today, in the presence of our family and friends,
we affirm our continuing commitment to this vow.

The Priest says to the congregation
Will you, the family and friends of N and N
continue to support and uphold them
in their marriage now and in the years to come?
We will.

This service is intended for a number of different occasions:

on occasions when a number of couples reaffirm their vows together

to celebrate an anniversary of marriage

after a time of separation or difficulty in marriage

Recorded Services

Watch service recordings via our website.


Spiritual Communion



Find out about Spiritual Communion - how to make it.


Church Without



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Times of Services


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Worship Calendar


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Services Coming Up


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Music Lists



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Weekday Scripture Readings



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Healing Ministry


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Walsingham Cell


Learn about the Parish Cell of the Society of the Holy House of Our Lady of Walsingham

    Walsingham Cell Gallery

View photos relating to the Walsingham Cell.

  Baptisms & Weddings  

Learn about Baptisms & Weddings at St Matthew's church and the Initial Enquiries Evenings that take place.



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