Baptisms & Funerals
When a wedding takes place
in church, something very important is said about a couple’s
love for each other and about their life together. They are saying,
“We believe our love for each other is a gift to us from God
and we believe that we cannot do without God’s help in the
sharing of our lives together and in the keeping of the commitment
we make to each other”.
The first thing those
who intend to marry will need to do is to decide whether this is
how they see it. Some questions that you might ask are:
- Do we want to thank God for his gift of our love for each other?
Do we want to make our promises to each other before God?
Do we believe we can only have all the happiness God wills for
us if we share our lives with Him?
If you answer YES to these
questions then you will want to marry in church and you will be
able to do so with integrity.
The church teaches that
marriage is a sacrament – an outward and visible sign of a
grace from God received internally. By making their promises to
each other in church before a priest and their friends and relations,
a couple celebrate this sacrament. They give each other wholly and
totally to one another, making lifelong promises and exchanging
rings. The congregation promise to support them in their life together
and pray for them and the priest will bless the wedding in God’s
The legal rules relating
to church weddings are very different to those governing civil marriages.
The clergy are only permitted to marry certain people in the Cathedral
and in order to qualify, one of you needs to fall into one of the
following categories, either
- One of you must be resident in the Cathedral parish (this means
that you actually live in the part of Portsmouth the cathedral
parish serves – it is not enough that your parents are resident
If one of the parties is in the Navy serving on board ship, then
their normal residence must be in the Cathedral parish or
You are a regular worshipper at the Cathedral and a member of
the congregation and your name is entered on our Electoral Roll.
If you think you fall
within one of the above categories, you should be in contact with
the Canon Pastor on 023 9273 1282 for more information
about arranging your wedding here. If you do not fall into any of
the above criteria then, unfortunately, it will not normally be
possible for your wedding to take place in the Cathedral. In such
circumstances, you need to be in contact with the church in whose
parish you live and where you have the right to be married. In some
very particular circumstances, it may be possible for people who
do not fall into the normal legal criteria above to be dispensed
by the Archbishop of Canterbury from these rules. Such dispensations,
known as Archbishop’s Special Licences, are only granted by
His Grace when the couple concerned have very strong and longstanding
links with the Cathedral which are still maintained. This might
mean that your parents live in the parish or worship here or there
is some other significant link. Furthermore, at least one of you
must have been baptised. Applications to the Archbishop are a time-consuming
process and are not guaranteed to be successful. Further information
on Special Licences may be obtained at www.facultyoffice.org.uk.
For a guide to getting married at the Cathedral please click here.
Currently, our baptisms take place during our 9.30am Parish Eucharist
on Sunday mornings and, whilst we try to be flexible over dates,
we cannot guarantee that yours will be the only baptism that day.
We can baptise you (or your children) if you are living in the parish (basically Old Portsmouth) when the baptism takes place or are on the Cathedral's Electoral Roll as being a regular worshipper. Baptisms can also normally be arranged for those who can demonstrate a connection to the Cathedral provided the consent of the local vicar, in whose parish you live, is obtained.
The next step is for you
to telephone the Canon Pastor on 023 9273 1282 to
make an appointment for him to come and visit you in
your home in order to help you fill out the necessary form and to
answer any questions. Once the date and time has been confirmed,
you will receive a visit from the Cathedral’s Baptism Preparation
Group who will then deal with all the practicalities and make arrangements
for a rehearsal.
As the parish church for Old Portsmouth (including Gunwharf Quays) we are available for funerals and memorial services for those resident in the Parish of St Thomas, or on its Electoral Roll or associated with the Cathedral.
As the requirements for each such service vary enormously and are intensely personal, please contact the Canon Pastor, Michael Tristram, (telephone 023 9273 1282 or 023 9282 3000 extension 220) or email straight away (even in advance of any bereavement), who will advise and guide through all the possibilities.
The offer of advice is also available to those increasing numbers who wish to save their families any difficulty by planning their own funerals. Please contact Canon Michael, as above, and any requests will be treated confidentially.
about the things that are true and honourable and right and
pure and beautiful and respected…And the God who gives peace
will be with you.