Since 20 percent of British couples getting married in a church already have children, and 44 percent of British children are born to unwed mothers, the Church of England is now offering a special deal: marriages and baptisms at the same time – for a cheaper cost. The two-for-one ceremonies are part of an effort to “woo people back to the pews and make the church more relevant and accessible to 21st century society,” according to The Guardian. A church spokesman told CNN this “is also a way to make the church more welcoming for unmarried parents and their families.”
It kind of seems to me that the Church of England is trying to “fix” rather than “welcome” unmarried families – as Stephen Tomkins of The Guardian wrote, “[t]he attitude seems to be: ‘It’s very important that Christians live according to the laws of the church. And since most of them aren’t, we’d better change them.’” Either way, people have been responding; many churches have been reporting a rise in weddings (and baptisms).
Traditionalists aren’t happy about this; they see this as a celebration of unwed parents. But the Church of England is sticking by its deal. Says Reverend Tim Sledge, “It has been lovely to give couples this flexibility to enjoy an extra special celebration for the whole family. Now the guidelines are available online, the church can ‘say yes’ and offer an even warmer wedding welcome to couples with children.”