Ques­tions about mar­riage in the Church of Scot­land

The Oban Times - - BRIDE GUIDE -

Q. Can any­one be mar­ried in a Church of Scot­land church? A. The Church of Scot­land is 'na­tional', in that ev­ery district has its par­ish church. The par­ish min­is­ter is will­ing to dis­cuss con­duct­ing mar­riage for any mem­ber of the par­ish. If you are not a church mem­ber, the min­is­ter will want to dis­cuss with you whether a re­li­gious cer­e­mony is what you are look­ing for, whether it will have mean­ing for you and whether he or she agrees it is ap­pro­pri­ate in your sit­u­a­tion. Q. Can di­vorced peo­ple be re­mar­ried in the Church of Scot­land? A. Mar­riage is not un­der­stood in the Church of Scot­land to be a sacra­ment, and there­fore bind­ing for­ever. A min­is­ter may there­fore con­duct the mar­riage of a di­vorced per­son whose for­mer spouse is still alive. He or she, how­ever, will wish to be cer­tain that prob­lems which gave rise to the first di­vorce are not likely to be re­peated. The fu­ture well­be­ing of chil­dren from the first mar­riage is also taken into ac­count. The fi­nal de­ci­sion rests with the min­is­ter con­cerned. Q. Can peo­ple come from out­with Scot­land to be mar­ried in a Church of Scot­land church? A. Yes, this is pos­si­ble. Mar­riage in Scot­land takes place un­der Scots law, and those peo­ple who sat­isfy its re­quire­ments may be mar­ried. How­ever, the lo­cal min­is­ter also has to agree to con­duct the wed­ding. In prac­tice, some min­is­ters are not able to marry ev­ery­one who comes from out­with their par­ish; some lo­ca­tions have a very high de­mand for wed­dings and it is not pos­si­ble to fit these in as well as more im­me­di­ate par­ish du­ties. In all cases, a min­is­ter will wish to in­ter­view a cou­ple be­fore agree­ing to marry them, so that he or she is sat­is­fied that a re­li­gious cer­e­mony is ap­pro­pri­ate. It is help­ful if the cou­ple have a rea­son for ap­proach­ing a par­tic­u­lar par­ish min­is­ter – fam­ily, knowl­edge of the place, etc. The min­is­ter may sug­gest that the cou­ple ar­range for their own min­is­ter to con­duct the wed­ding. Q. Can a min­is­ter of an­other church con­duct a A. wed­ding in Scot­land? Yes, if the Scot­tish regis­trar is will­ing to ac­cept him or her. The min­is­ter of the church in which the mar­riage is to be cel­e­brated would also need to give ap­proval. Q. Is it true that a min­is­ter can marry a cou­ple any­where? A. Yes, it is also pos­si­ble for civil wed­dings to be car­ried out by regis­trars out­side registry of­fices in ap­proved venues. Q. What should I do next? A. It is im­por­tant to ar­range a date with a min­is­ter be­fore mak­ing other ar­range­ments. The lo­cal regis­trar should be ap­proached not more than three months and not later than a fort­night be­fore the date of the wed­ding. The in­ten­tion to be wed will be dis­played at the regis­trar’s of­fice and, if no ob­jec­tions are lodged, a mar­riage sched­ule will be is­sued, which must be pro­duced at the wed­ding for sign­ing. This is then re­turned to the regis­trar’s of­fice which will then is­sue the mar­riage cer­tifi­cate. Q. What if I am mar­ry­ing a per­son of an­other faith? A. Peo­ple of any faith or none can be mar­ried in a Church of Scot­land church, as long as the min­is­ter agrees and both are happy with the mar­riage ser­vice used by the min­is­ter. It is prob­a­bly wise to dis­cuss your plans with your own faith leader, so that you will be aware of the im­pli­ca­tions of your de­ci­sion. Fur­ther in­for­ma­tion You can visit the Gen­eral Regis­trar Of­fice for Scot­land web­site www.gro-scot­land.gov.uk for more in­for­ma­tion about le­gal re­quire­ments for all wed­dings. The churches in Scot­land The Church of Scot­land has a sim­i­lar role in Scot­land to the Church of Eng­land south of the bor­der, but it is most sim­i­lar in style of wor­ship and the way it is or­gan­ised to the United Re­formed Church.

Other Scot­tish churches are: the Scot­tish Epis­co­pal Church, which is in com­mu­nion with the Church of Eng­land; the United Free Church; the Methodist Church; the United Re­formed Church; the Bap­tist Church; and the Ro­man Catholic Church. In the High­lands and Is­lands, mainly, there are other de­nom­i­na­tions which, like the Church of Scot­land, are Pres­by­te­rian.

De­pend­ing on your own back­ground, one of those other churches may be more ap­pro­pri­ate for you. Ed­i­to­rial cour­tesy of Church of Scot­land

Please note this ad­vice ap­plies to get­ting mar­ried in Scot­land. For a wed­ding in a Church of Scot­land church in Eng­land, the law may be dif­fer­ent and the min­is­ter should be con­tacted early on to en­sure le­gal re­quire­ments there can be met.

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