St Andrew's Church

Your Community, Your Church

Summer: That season of long, hopefully hot, glorious days in which we finally shake off the cold of winter and the damp of spring and enjoy the sun, picnics, barbeques, days at the beach or the park. It’s also traditionally the season for weddings, baptisms or christenings and other family events.

Sadly weddings have been in decline in the last decade or two, although that may reflect a trend that marriage has become more of the capstone at the summit of a relationship, rather than a foundation block laid before we really know what we’re building. That said, weddings are still big business, or at least the party afterwards is: one of the first things I tell couples who enquire about marriage is to set a budget early and stick to it – it seems that the second you tell a vendor or supplier that you’re planning a wedding that the price surreptitiously goes up by 50% or more.

I also always ask couples “why get married?”, after all living together has worked out ok so far, why stir things up? The answers I get are nearly always about commitment and love – though I’m sure they often think it’s a trick question.  It’s wonderful to hear people, young and old to talk about commitment. Commitment in the face of the unknowable future that “for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health” they are going to stick by each other deliberately seeking to love one another. Having that assuredness of commitment is a powerful, safe, joyful platform on which to continue to freely build a life together.

Of course life does throw hand grenades and sometimes relationships become unfair and intolerable; betrayal, abuse, neglect all have their part to play, though they’re not always to blame, and relationships end. I am sometimes in awe when  I meet couples where one or both parties have been divorced, and they now want to marry again – they know the heartache and pain that commitment broken can lead to and yet are prepared to make a fresh commitment having found another soul with whom to share life in its fullness.

One of the other things I always tell couples is that we in the church are actually more interested in their marriage than their wedding day. Of course we want them to have a memorable, special and sacred wedding; the church is a beautiful sacred place and making your vows before God adds another dimension for many couples;, but unlike the caterer, photographer, the venue,  the flower arranger, dressmaker and perhaps the civil celebrant – we care more about the days, weeks, months and years after the wedding.  The church is a constant presence in the community: our doors and our support are open to all, always. I like to think of it as the added value, so that if rough patches come along we can be a listening ear, we can help find the right support or if the worst does happen we’re a safe space in which to be broken and find healing. We’re here and we’re not going away, going bust, converting to a golf resort or otherwise.

It is my hope that, in the not too distant future, we can welcome even more people through the doors to marriage as the church understands it – life giving and lifelong – especially those who are discriminated against in the law from getting married in church. It is also my hope that we, as a nation, can rediscover the wonder and strength of commitment which goes beyond the “you’ll do for the moment” temporary nature of so many relationships, to celebrating the joy and sanctity of two people committing to love one another. One of the greatest joys of this job is helping couples celebrate 10,20,30,60 and even 70 years of married life in all its raw joy which has transcended the ups and downs which life has hurled at them.

If you’re thinking about getting married, why not come and have a chat – I know your venue can throw in the celebrant for free – but your venue only cares about your day; the church, and dare I say it God himself, cares for the whole of your life together. Likewise if you’ve hit a bumpy patch we’re here for you too, always happy to be a confidential listening ear. If you’ve been hurt and broken as a relationship  has crumbled, come and find healing and wholeness in a safe space enfolded in the love of God. Finally if you’d like to celebrate your years together and seek God’s continued blessing for the years to come, just get in touch.

You can get in touch about all of life’s events, ups and downs here, on Sunday mornings or drop by on a Friday morning for a coffee and chat
Web: Facebook @standrewsgreatcornard
Email: Phone:  01787 376 293


Many Blessings,




Rev’d Chris Ramsey
Tel: 01787 376 293
Further contact details can be found under the “About us” menu


Address: St Andrews Church
Church Road,
Great Cornard,
CO10 0EL


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