Fleetwood United Reformed Church is increasingly the church of choice for weddings. The simple design of the church lends itself to being enhanced by floral and other decorations. Furthermore, the seating allows for intimate occasions but is able to accommodate up to 250 persons for the larger wedding. The church has been able to meet a couple’s needs for a traditional wedding but also include particular needs such as for vocal and instrumental interludes.
In addition there have been occasions when the Fleetwood church has been asked to respond to requests for the renewal of marriage vows and bless a (civil) marriage. Further, for a church member and her husband a new wedding ring was blessed.
The Wedding Service has both legal and Christian elements and so couples must visit the Registrar’s Office several weeks before the wedding day to ensure they have all the documents they need in order for the wedding to take place.
More information about the Wedding Service will be available after couples have contacted us.
When a new baby arrives, families and friends want to give thanks for the miracle of new life and very often they bring the baby to Church for Baptism (or Christening). But Baptism is more than just giving thanks. Baptism marks a new beginning in our life as Christians and looks forward to Confirmation. Baptism is the sacrament of entry to the Church, so is administered only once.
Baptism – a statement of faith
An adult who is being Baptised will make their own statement of faith. When an infant is Baptised, parents have to make this statement of behalf of their child. During the service, the parents are asked “Do you believe and trust in one God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, maker of heaven and earth, giver of life, redeemer of the world?” As they are speaking for their child, the parents need to be sure that this is what they believe.
Some parents cannot make the statement of faith on behalf of their child, or they may be unable to promise to bring the child up in the life and worship of the church. Other parents believe that the child should make their own decision about Baptism when they are old enough. For these parents, the church offers a Service of Thanksgiving for the Birth of a Child which looks forward to Baptism at a point in the future.
Each request for a baptism, the majority of which may be from the individuals with little or no church connection, is approached for a judgement on their understanding of the significance of the sacrament. The families requesting a baptism are interviewed to establish they understand the promises they are to make. To date no request has been refused.
The Fleetwood church has increasingly become the church of choice for baptisms with in one year seven.
Contact is kept with the families for some three/five years. Each receives a copy of the church newsletter recording the baptism. And, in addition, each child receives a birthday card. Further, each year families are invited to a ‘Cradle Roll Sunday’ with the intent of drawing the children into Sunday school.
Each individual baptised is remembered in two special ways: the name of the baptised is added to the Cradle Roll and Birthday book held in the Children & Young People’s corner of the church. Over 1000 names i.e. those who have been baptised since the Agnew Road church opened in 1938 are recorded. They provide a comprehensive record of Fleetwood families.
It has been the privilege of the Fleetwood church to have conducted or shared in some 50 funerals a year. Further, the church has been able to help families who have wanted the ashes of loved ones to be scattered in a place considered special for the families concerned.
Support is given to the families by home visits before and after a funeral. Further, the families receive a copy of the church newsletter recording the death of a loved one. In addition to outreach such as those described two other measures are taken.
The first is that twice each year – Easter and a Sunday near All Saints and All Souls – the families for whom the church has conducted a funeral are invited to a service. At that service loved ones are remembered and each family receives a memorial card.
The second is that the church has created a memorial garden and memorial book. Families are invited to have a plaque or plot or plaque and plot in the garden and/or entry in the memorial book. Note should be taken that these steps have drawn several people into the worshipping community.