Church of England: Families and Marriage

Church Commissioners written question – answered at on 2 December 2022.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health)

To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church is taking to help support (a) family relationships, (b) parenting and (c) marriage.

Photo of Andrew Selous Andrew Selous The Second Church Estates Commissioner, The Second Church Estates Commissioner

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Commission on Families and Households is considering all aspects of this subject and will publish its report in early 2023. The Church of England’s support for families, parenting and marriage comes in many forms. Parishes offer:

  • early years groups and children’s clubs to support child development and provide parental support.
  • counselling and social support for those in need, such as work with foodbanks, credit unions and Citizens Advice to reduce the pressures of financial difficulty on relationships.
  • marriage guidance for couples wishing to marry, prior to the ceremony.
  • work with organisations such as Relate to offer relationship advice and support or counselling.
  • tackling loneliness in the young and old, by visiting people in care homes and hospitals, and by providing spaces for groups, clubs and societies to meet.

Nationally the Church of England provides resources to clergy and couples considering marriage through the ‘Your Church Wedding’ website: https://www.churchofengland.org/life-events/your-church-wedding This gives advice for couples at all stages of marriage preparation.

Marrying in the local church remains one of the most cost-effective ways of having a relationship recognised in law and costs around £550 (approved by Parliament). This fee can be reduced for pastoral reasons at the discretion of the local Incumbent.

The National Churches Trust report ‘House for Good’ has updated its estimates of the contribution of churches to their local community. The report estimates the national value of the Church’s work on counselling and mental health support at over £4.5million, work with youth groups and young people at an additional £1.8million, support with food and foodbanks at £36million and drug and alcohol support at £0.5million. The full update is available here: House of Good 2021

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