A couple who were surprised to find they can get married in church, are going to continue going because of the welcome they’ve received.
After getting divorced in 2001, Keith and Tracy Brook are getting remarried on 9 May at St Giles’, Bramhope, near Leeds. Keith says, “As we presumed we couldn’t marry in church, we were just hoping for a blessing at the hotel, but we were delighted when the vicar said she’d marry us in St Giles, which is opposite the hote. And having started going, we’ve been blown away by the friendliness - it’s more than a church, it’s a community, and we’ll continue going afterwards, even though we live a good drive away.”
Vicar of St Giles’, the Revd Janice Smith, says, “I’ve developed a good relationship with the hotel after taking a stall there during a wedding fayre, so they’ll often tell couples about my availability for blessings. But many also don’t know about the change of regulations which means you simply have to attend a church for six months in order to marry there.
“I’m delighted that Keith and Tracy have decided to keep coming after their wedding. We've made welcome our top priority (and all the congregation’s responsibility) and it has a big impact. Without pouncing on people, we make sure newcomers are talked to and shown the ropes if they’re unfamiliar with church.”
Keith adds, “St Giles seems to offer something for everyone. We go to the family service because it’s lively, very child-friendly and we like the upbeat music. Often there’s standing room only. It’s completely changed my perception as I thought church had to be very serious and sombre, and it’s lovely the way people come over and chat and make a point of getting to know you.”
Keith and Tracy are also grateful that Janice has let them choose music and readings that are particularly meaningful to them. Keith says, “She naturally asked us to include some Christian hymns and readings, but we were thrilled that we can also illustrate the importance Greece has played in our lives – we’ve had many holidays, including our first honeymoon, there. So we’ve got a reading from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin and we’re going out to Zorba the Greek. I never imagined we’d be allowed to do that!”