Come back after: Baptisms & Weddings

Broadcast on Tuesday, 7th July 2020. This webinar explored how we can help make special days special in new ways, and how we continue to support and bless people during a time when so many dreams have been disrupted and plans put on hold.

While we work out how and when weddings and christenings can happen in our churches, our ministry to couples and families continues.

The Revd Canon Sandra Millar looked at ways we can still do this as social distancing measures remain in place.

Broadcast on: Tuesday 7th July 2020

Powerpoint Slides

Link opens PowerPoint:  Baptisms & Weddings 7th July 2020


NB: We have provided English closed captions for this video – click the Subtitles/Closed Captions icon on the player to enable them.

Useful links and resources


These were just a small selection of questions asked during this webinar. We can’t answer them all, so do contact us direct, or contact your diocesan advisers, if there is something you’d like clarifying.

Q: During Baptisms, how can we anoint in the sign of the cross on the forehead with an ‘implement’ as guidelines say?

A: A small, clean, soft item such as a cotton bud or make-up applicator sponge will do just fine.

Q: If a couple were attending to secure a legal connection ahead of their wedding – does the picking up after lockdown need to be sequential for the time remaining? We may be quite intermittent in the next few months if local lockdowns become the norm…

A: The good news is that there’s no need for the couple to restart their six months attendance if they had already started before lockdown. They pick up where they left off and attend at least once a month until their six months is complete. If there is a local lockdown or if the church needs to be closed for some reason and the couple are again prevented from attending, (and this means they won’t reach six months attendance before their wedding), contact your diocesan registrar for further advice. The wedding may still be able to happen but the registrar will need to check the legal requirements can still be met.

Q: Does the 30 limit for weddings include organist etc, and for a deaf priest, their BSL interpreter?

A: In the Government guidelines, the 30 guests allowed at weddings excludes anyone employed by the ‘venue’. So in the church context, the organist, verger and an essential BSL interpreter may fall into that category. The 30 maximum includes the bride and groom, and the vicar who is not technically an employee, they do have to be counted in the 30 guests. This is one of those anomalies that is bound to arise from time to time. Take a look at the Government guidance for the detail. The Church of England guidance is here.

Q: Regarding hired musicians for weddings, is it permissible for a soloist to sing in church during the signing of the register – and is a piper permitted?

A: Government guidance states that hiring singers and musicians who play wind instruments is best avoided at this time because these are activities which carry a greater risk of infection through airborne droplets. But consider your church setting – if it is a cavernous space like a cathedral, a soloist singer may be acceptable if they are positioned well back – several meters – away from anyone else, and if a protective screen can be placed in front of them. A safer alternative may be to pre-record their singing and play it on the usual sound system during the wedding. This would also free up a space for another guest – all hired musicians have to be counted in the maximum of 30 guests.

Q: I used to hold a Family Service that my baptism families came to. I can’t see how to do Family service anymore in these times of strict social distancing and all toys being put away. How do we engage families in church now?

It isn’t easy to hold the kind of family services that we may have been used to, and it’s not always straightforward to transfer them online either. Some are doing outdoor services, such as Muddy Church or Forest Church, others have put Messy Church and other activities online. Or, perhaps simply hold a picnic event over the summer..
This is also a great opportunity to help families explore faith at home, not just through a church gathering.  There are great resources on Faith at Home and ideas on the Christening website.  You might also look at; and  for more ideas.  Invite and encourage as much as possible to build and sustain relationship.