Can I have my child baptised at one of your chapels? Can I get baptised at one of your chapels?
We offer two ceremonies for children and adults to choose from.
A service of Thanksgiving is a dedication of a child to God and a special service held to honour the child. Usually there are no special vows or promises to make but instead a celebration of new life. This can occur in a private setting such as a home or a garden.
A Baptism or Christening takes part in a Sunday worship service, or a worship service on another day where the congregation and family are present. A baptism is not a private ceremony, but it is a sacrament and therefore the congregation must be present to make and fulfil promises. In both cases parents, Godparents and the people gathered make special promises to raise the child as a Christian, participating fully in the life and works of the church. It is a recognition that the child will become part of the body of Christ. This participation is a life long commitment to attending church often, teaching the child to pray and to read the Scriptures, and, to live a Christian life.
The child has blessed water placed on their head and is baptised into the Trinity in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Living up to these promises is a difficult one, which is why the congregation also promises to help raise the child in faith. While we do not refuse any child or person a baptism, we encourage parents, godparents and carers to seriously consider the promises made on behalf of the child and to consider what commitments they will make to prayer, church attendance and teaching of the Gospel to the child. If the family is not prepared to bring the child to their church community frequently or to teach the child to pray and hear Gospel stories, we encourage the family to consider a service of Thanksgiving. There is no fee for baptisms.
Do the godparents have to be Christian? No, they do not, but they do need to keep their promises to raise the child with the help of the parents in the Christian tradition and tend to the spiritual needs of the child. Raising a child in the Christian tradition means teaching the child about God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit in the context of a Christian community- usually a church.
Can I get married in one of your chapels?
We do offer marriages in some of our chapels and the minister for those chapels is registered to do weddings. If you are considering getting married in one of our chapels, please consult the minister before booking any reception venues, photographers, etc., as the minister has set times of the year for Conferences, Synod and other church business and may not be available for your chosen date. Please contact the minister approximately one year before your anticipated date. In some cases, short notice marriages are possible, so speak to the minister as soon as possible.
Can we use your chapel and a different minister?
As the minister of the chapels is registered to those chapels, it is possible to have another minister present for the ceremony and have full participation with the minister for that chapel. In this situation, the ceremony would have two ministers presiding. The minister registered for the chapel must be present and must sign the register.
Can same sex marriages occur in your chapels?
At this time the Methodist Church does not offer marriages to same sex couples. This is a complex issue that the Methodist Church is discerning and one that we hope is resolved in the near future.
Why do ministers charge fees for weddings and funerals? What are the costs?
Ministers are highly trained and skilled professionals. In some cases ministers have two or more university degrees and specialised training. Planning and doing a wedding or funeral often takes about 15 hours or more and includes meeting with the people, resourcing liturgy and music, phone calls, planning and submitting legal documents. This is in addition to the 6 day work week dedicated to the local chapels. The fees are considered honorariums to show appreciation for the minister's time, education and work. While we do provide a ministry that is considered part of the life and work of the church for weddings and funerals, ministers and vicars charge fees that reflect their professional skills.
Each chapel also may have a fee to help pay for use of electricity, heating, cleaning costs and other costs the chapel expends. We consider these fees to be tithes and it helps continue the life and works of the church.