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Norwich Bishop backs heavenly weddings

BishopGrahamGarden2010: The Bishop of Norwich (right) has backed a bid by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to make churches more welcoming to wedding guests to stem the decline in couples tying the knot in church.

Less than a quarter of marriages now take place at the altar, with numbers performed by the CofE slumping from 110,000 in 2002 to 54,000 in 2006 since a relaxation of the rules which permit weddings to take place in many locations including country houses and historic castles.
Now new guidelines are being sent out to vicars, stressing ways to make wedding guests feel more at home.

Seven Heavenly Ways to Welcome Wedding Guests, by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, Dr Rowan Williams and Dr John Sentamu, urge clergy to give gentle guidance when it comes to switching off their mobile phones during the service and when they can take pictures.

It adds children should be allowed to stand on pews to get a better view, while a “paparazzi moment” should be allowed after vows have been exchanged.

Norwich Diocese is one of 12 around the country which has signed up to become an investor in weddings. It staged a two-day presentation, where vicars were given feedback from couples who had married in church.

“It's one of I think the most imaginative things the Archbishop's Council has done,” said the Right Revd Graham James, Bishop of Norwich.

Read more of this story on EDP24


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