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UK News

Just 5 people allowed at church weddings (including bride and groom) during coronavirus outbreak

by Marcus Jones

The Church of England has issued new guidance on weddings, stating ceremonies can go ahead but should be limited to the legal minimum of five people.

The priest and two witnesses should all observe a social distance from the couple while traditions such at the priest touching the rings or the couple's hands as part of the blessing are no longer required.

As public worship services are currently suspended, the readings of the banns of marriage in the weeks before the wedding at local parishes are no longer necessary but couples need to apply for a different license.

Couples are being encouraged to livestream the ceremonies online but have the option to postpone.

New guidance has also been given on baptisms.

Again, the ceremony should be limited to a minister, parents and godparents.

The priest is not allowed to hold the baby or administer water by hand.

The Church says families may wish to postpone but in cases where a child is in danger, there is an obligation to carry out the baptism.

The Bishop of Manchester, Dr David Walker, said: "Couples and parents, friends and families will have been planning for months, even years for their special moment, whether a wedding or a christening.
 
"Now, it can go ahead - but with only the minimum required in attendance. You may need to cancel or postpone.

"Whatever decision is made, God's love and blessing will still surround all those who would have been there that day.

"Prayers will still be offered and there will be a special day to look forward to in the future.

"We encourage those who would have been there to hold couples and families in their prayers, and pray that everyone will know God's love is holding them at this time."

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