| The Parish of Osbaldwick with Murton | |
Our two churches provide services for the important moments in people’s lives - births, marriages and deaths - sometimes called ‘Rites of Passage’.
Christening, or Holy Baptism, is the service in which a child or adult joins the family of God, the Church. It is a very special occasion, the official start of the journey of faith, that goes on throughout our life on earth and into eternity. Anyone living in the Parish has the right to ask for Holy Baptism. If they live elsewhere but have a clear connection, they can ask for their child or themselves to be baptised in one of our churches. As the service says, ’The Church receives this child with joy’.
The Parish has a clear policy and procedure. After the initial contact from the parent(s), the Vicar pays an informal visit to the family to discuss their request and explain how we do it. The family then comes to a service to join in worship and then, with Godparents, is invited to the Baptism Preparation Meeting (held every few months), in which it is explained what Baptism means for the child and those bringing him or her. This includes a brief rehearsal, to put everyone at ease. The Vicar is assisted in this by other church members, to give a lay viewpoint. Each family is also invited to choose one of the hymns for the day of baptism. The baptism follows on the agreed date and the family and guests are given a warm welcome. Efforts are then made to keep in touch afterwards - such as our monthly Family Service, the twice-monthly Buggy Service and other events, so that the child and family know they are always welcome.
Also, cards are sent to the child's home on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd anniversary of the baptism, as a way of keeping in touch.
If you live in the parish or have a real connection and would like to discuss the possibility of baptism for your child - or yourself - please contact the Vicar.
There is no fee for a baptism - the cost is personal commitment to following Jesus as a member of his Church.
If you do not want baptism for your child, have you thought of a service of Thanksgiving for the Birth of a Child? This informal service contains no vows, but does provide a blessing for the child and the home. Again, there is no fee.
Deciding to marry, in which a man and woman make a public, life-long commitment, is one of the most important decisions two people ever make. The Church is here to help couples prepare for this life-changing event. In essence, the couple is asking for God’s blessing on the whole of their marriage.
Anyone living in the parish has the right to ask for a marriage service, so long as the legal requirements are fulfilled. Since 2008 the Church of England has made it easier to marry in a church of your choice even if you do not live within the parish The couple just needs evidence of a ‘qualifying connection‘.
Preparation for marriage obviously takes some time, so we try to work at least six months ahead of the proposed date. The couple comes to see the Vicar, who explains the procedure. Together they then agree a set of dates for informal, friendly interviews to explore what marriage involves and what is distinctive about Christian marriage. This is reflected by the marriage service itself, as found in either Common Worship or Prayer Book form.
After this initial stage the couple then plan and put together their particular service in all its detail. A rehearsal date for rehearsal takes place, usually within a few days of the wedding. Then comes the great day itself, which, because of careful rehearsal, usually goes splendidly!
While we aim to make the day of the marriage a supremely joyful, unforgettable experience, it is always stressed that the couple are preparing not just for ‘the day’ but for a lifetime together.
We can also help couples may feel unable or unwilling to marry in church, and opt for a civil marriage instead. A service of blessing allows the couple to make a commitment to each other in the sight of God and to be assured of his blessing on their new life together.
Because marriage is a legal ceremony as well as a service of divine worship, there are fees, both national and local, which the couple is required to pay. The fees depend on what the couple requests, so take heart - the most important part of the day is the least expensive!
In addition, some long-married couples may wish to renew their marriage vows on a special occasion or anniversary. This simple and joyful service can arranged with the Vicar.
The last of our ‘rites of passage’ is death. As always, the Church is here to minister to families at this momentous time. Both the Vicar and the Reader conduct funerals. We give pastoral care before and after the funeral and help plan the service carefully and sensitively with the next of kin. The aim is to show the love of God for the deceased, the bereaved and all involved and to assure everyone that nothing at all can separate us from that love which is offered to us in Jesus Christ.
A funeral service is by no means all about mourning and loss. It is also about celebration of the loved one’s life and all that that involves. The service offers all this to God on behalf of all present and in so doing is a powerful encouragement to faith, hope and love.
St Thomas’s Church can no longer offer burials but does offer interment of cremation ashes in the Garden of Remembrance. At St James’s Church both full burials and interments of ashes are available. We also give guidance for the placing of headstones and memorial plaques some months after a funeral.
Every year on 2nd November, All Souls’ Day, everyone who has had a funeral or burial with us during the previous twelve months is invited to St Thomas’s Church for a memorial service, at which the names of departed loved ones are read out. This is another re-affirmation of God’s unending love and a chance to offer ongoing pastoral care to individuals coming to terms with the death of a loved one.
The Vicar or Reader is always happy to spend time with anyone who has been bereaved and who would like to talk confidentially, no matter how long ago the funeral took place. The Church is here to show the love of God and to help people find that love for themselves as they adjust to a death and go on with their lives.
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Osbaldwick and Murton Churches | Designed by: Nick Wainwright