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Typical C of E church 'held just one wedding last year'

Statistics seen by the Daily Mail show the typical Anglican church also held four baptisms and five funerals.

Harry Benson, a Christian from the Marriage Foundation think-tank told the newspaper: "The Church needs to sell marriage rather than weddings.

"We are all obsessed with celebrity weddings but, in the long term, more couples will marry in church if the Church of England talks about the benefits of a formal commitment."

Approximately 38,000 Church of England weddings were held in 2017, a significant decrease compared to the more than 50,000 ceremonies staged in 2007.

Earlier this year, a survey found the number of people who describe themselves as belonging to the Church of England had reached a record low.

Throughout recent decades, the proportion of couples choosing to tie the knot in a church has fallen, as rules surrounding civil marriages have become increasingly relaxed.

Venues now approved by local authorities for non-religious ceremonies include stately homes, football clubs and hotels.

During the mid-1980s, Anglican churches in England and Wales hosted more than 120,000 weddings annually.

Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

Last year, the largest five per cent of C of E churches hosted ten weddings, 28 baptisms and 32 funerals, the figures show.

Changes to Church of England rules have made it easier for couples wanting a religious service. For example, they no longer have to marry at their local parish church but can choose another church they have a connection with.

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