Weddings in Diocese of Liverpool churches have risen to just under a thousand in 2010 according to the latest figures published by the Church of England.
The figures, published at the same time as encouraging figures were released about our attendance figures, show a 3.5% rise taking the total number of weddings to 996. At the same time wedding blessings increased by 30%.
These figures compare to a national increase in weddings of 4%.
The announcement comes ahead of National Marriage Week, which takes place from February 7th-14th.
The increases are being put down to three factors. Firstly there has been the impact of the changes to the qualifying rules. Secondly, the Weddings Project, a national drive to promote and support church weddings has seen increased numbers showing an interest. Finally, we have had a strong presence at wedding fairs across the region.
Linda Jones, Head of Church Growth at St James House said “these are another encouraging set of figures for our diocese. Weddings are a real opportunity to connect with families at a moment of great joy and we’re delighted to see signs of growth in this area.”
The well received Wedding Project training encouraged clergy and parishes to look at couple’s experiences of weddings and what we can do to make that a positive and sustainable relationship. Supported by high quality material on the website www.yourchurchwedding.org,
it gives churches a highly professional approach to use for weddings in an area where we are in direct competition with secular providers.
“The Wedding project inspired a number of vicars to rethink and refresh their approach to marriages” explains Linda “and our attendance at wedding fairs gives opportunities to dispel myths amongst some couples about what a church wedding entails.
“These figures, alongside those relating to general church attendance, indicate that concentrating our efforts on particular areas of our ministry can bring results. But we want to do more. We believe that God gives us plenty of opportunities to connect through the sacrament of marriage and this year we will be looking at how we can build on what seems to be working”.