Pastoral Services

St Mary-le-Bow is a parish church within the Church of England. Alongside the daily liturgies, we welcome enquiries about weddings, baptisms, preparation for confirmation, as well as memorial services and other commemorations

Marriage

We are always delighted to hear from couples interested in being married at St Mary-le-Bow. There are some simple formalities that need to be observed to meet the qualifications; click for more information.

Baptism

Baptisms are conducted regularly at St Mary-le-Bow. Although most of the candidates for baptism are babies and children, it is not unusual for adults to be baptised too. You are welcome to telephone or email with your enquiry, or click for further information.

Confirmation

Confirmation marks the point in the Christian journey where those who have been baptised as children make a firm commitment to Christian discipleship. St Mary-le-Bow prepares and presents candidates for Confirmation at St Paul’s Cathedral each year. Click to find out more.

Commemorations

Commemorations, Memorial Services, Livery Company Services and Christmas Carol Services all feature in our calendar. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss arranging a service here. 

Marriage in the Church of England

The Church of England is historically arranged into geographical parishes, and as the law currently stands, you are entitled to be married in the church of the parish in which you live or worship. Very few people live in the parish of St Mary-le-Bow; so if you would like to be married here, there are some simple formalities that need to be observed to qualify in other ways.

+ If you have particular personal or family connections, you may already qualify to marry here. Alternatively:

+ At least one of you needs to attend services regularly for six months and may seek inclusion on the Electoral Roll of the Parish Church. It is usual for one of the parties to have been baptised. There are plenty of services to choose from at various times of day.

+ Because we don’t have Sunday services, we can’t publish ‘Banns of Marriage’. Instead, you’ll need to swear an oath saying that there’s no reason you shouldn’t be married.

+ There are certain fees, some of which are set by the Church of England for the whole country, and some of which pay for ‘optional extras’. These change from time to time, so please ask us.

+ Professional photography is permitted in the church during marriage services, by agreement of the Rector. Audio and video recording will be allowed but by an approved videographer only.

 

+ Live streaming of wedding services is now possible to enable those unable to travel to London to watch and take part in the service. View highlights from a recent live streamed wedding here.

+ Bell ringing can be arranged for weddings (fees apply), though we cannot guarantee in advance that a band of ringers will be available.

+ There is a choice of forms of the Marriage service itself. To see these texts, click on the links below.

+ If you feel that St Mary-le-Bow might be the right place for your marriage, please telephone or email with your enquiry; there is also much valuable information on the Church of England’s marriage pages (click on ‘further reading’ below).

+ Please note that it is not usually possible to be married during the penitential season of Lent. We have an absolute maximum capacity of 230 guests.

Further reading

We are always very pleased to meet people and discuss what’s required: please telephone or send an email. More information is also available from the Diocese of London and the Church of England; the latter has launched a new Weddings site; click here to take a look.

Music

Our director of music Thomas Allery guides couples through the process of choosing appropriate music for their marriage services. Some weddings feature as an organ voluntary Alan Wilson’s Toccata on ‘Oranges and Lemons’ – click to listen.

Wedding pictures

We thank those couples married recently who have generously allowed us use of their photographs. Take a look at some St Mary-le-Bow weddings here.

Live Streaming

We can arrange live streaming of weddings to enable friends and family around the world to join the service online. Click here to see a recent example – with thanks to Andrew and Dinika.

Baptism for Children

The Church receives children into membership by Baptism with great joy. This is often called ‘christening’ (being made Christ’s). The image of God found in every human person is claimed specifically for Jesus as the pattern for selfless living and community within the family of the Church. It is a great celebration of all the hope and love that childhood promises.

Usually the family will have some association with the parish and it is sometimes necessary to seek the goodwill of the parish priest of the place where the family actually lives. Holy Baptism is administered usually on Sunday or a Feast Day; and it can either be a short said celebration or with organ, hymns and music. There is no fee for Holy Baptism (although the professional musical elements will require payment).

One of the parents of the infant or child must have been baptized and all  of the Godparents must themselves have been baptized (although not necessarily Anglican). Where a Godparent cannot actually be present, another baptized person may be appointed to act on that person’s behalf at the service.

Baptism and Confirmation for Adults

Confirmation marks the point in the Christian journey where those who may have been baptised as children, together with those seeking baptism as adults, make a firm commitment to Christian discipleship. Through prayer and the laying on of hands by a bishop, the Church also asks God to give those being confirmed power, through the Holy Spirit, to live the life of discipleship. St Mary-le-Bow prepares and presents candidates for Confirmation at all stages of the year.

 

What is Baptism?

+ Holy Baptism (also called Christening) is a sacrament by which God adopts us as his children and makes us members of Christ’s Body, the Church, and inheritors of the kingdom of God.

+ Children and adults can be baptised, but adults make the promises for themselves and make their own declaration of Christian faith.

What is Confirmation?

+ If you were baptised as an infant, your parents and godparents made the solemn promise and vow on your behalf. It is necessary as an adult to ratify and confirm it, otherwise, in a way, one remains an infant. St Paul says, writing to the Corinthians, ‘When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways.’ In confirmation the Bishop asks, ‘Are you ready with your own mouth and from your own heart to affirm your faith in Jesus Christ?’ This is something only an adult can do.

+ Confirmation is the sacrament that confirms our baptism and strengthens us in the power of the Holy Spirit for our Christian discipleship. The confirmed are also able to receive Holy Communion.

+ The Bishop confirms young people and adults, who have already been baptised, by the laying on of hands and anointing.

+ Adults who have not been baptised previously are baptised by the Bishop and confirmed at the same service.

What promises do I have to make?

+ Adults wishing to be baptised or confirmed must affirm their allegiance to Christ and their rejection of all that is evil by giving the answers to the following questions:

Do you turn to Christ?
reply: I turn to Christ.

Do you repent of your sins?
reply: I repent of my sins.

Do you renounce evil?
reply: I renounce evil.

+ They then also make the profession of Christian faith in the words of the Apostles’ Creed:

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.

How will I be prepared for baptism and/or confirmation?

+ Through attendance at a course, given by the Rector of St Mary-le-Bow, together with personal Bible reading and prayer.

How should I proceed?

If you have already decided that you want to be baptised and/or confirmed, then please send an email to the Parish Office:
info@stmarylebow.co.uk

If you would like to know more or to discuss being baptised or confirmed, then contact the Rector on 020 7248 5139 or by email: grbush@london.anglican.org