Marriage & Baptism


Marriage at Wesley Church

Congratulations on making this very important decision about your future life together!

In requesting to be married at Wesley Church, couples are not ‘booking a venue’, but rather seeking a wedding in the context of a Christian worship service. At Wesley we use the Uniting Church marriage rites.

Ministers

A minister associated with Wesley Church will be assigned to preside at your marriage service, according to the rites of the Uniting Church in Australia. Any requests for participation by a visiting Uniting Church minister will be at the discretion of the Ministers of Wesley Church, and dealt with on an individual basis. We respectfully advise that Ministers from other denominations will not be able to conduct weddings at Wesley Church, but may be able to participate in an aspect of the service in negotiation with the assigned Minister.

Making the Arrangements

To discuss having your marriage service at Wesley Church, please contact the Minister and the Church Office by emailing minister@wesleychurch.org.au and CC to our Secretary, churchoffice@wesleychurch.org.au  to check whether the date and time you want are available.

The Minister, will then make an appointment for you to meet with him. The date and time requested for the marriage service remain provisional until the Minister has met with you and a deposit of $200 is received.

Fees

The current cost of getting married at Wesley Church is $2,100.

The cost covers:

  • The Minister
  • The Organist
  • The Rehearsal
  • The Flowers
  • The Verger
  • Operating Cost and Cleaning
  • Office Administration

A deposit of $200 is required to confirm the date of the marriage service, usually collected after the first meeting with the Minister.  The balance payment is required one month before the service.

Meeting with the Minister

The Minister will want to meet with you three times, not including the day of the marriage service itself.

First meeting: take down details, discuss options, address initial questions, and sign the Notice of Intention if your documents are ready. When you sign the Federal Government’s ‘Notice of Intention’ between eighteen months and one month before the proposed day, the Minister will need to see:

  • a full Australian Birth Certificate (not an Extract) if you were born in Australia.
  • If you were born overseas and have become an Australian citizen, your birth certificate from that country.
  • If you were born overseas and are still a citizen of the country where you were born, your passport is sufficient evidence.
  • If you have been married before, a copy of the Decree of the Divorce or Dissolution of the Marriage; or the Death Certificate (as appropriate).

We will begin discussing the service itself.

Second meeting: Will focus on your hopes for your marriage. Wesley Church does not offer a full program of marriage guidance counselling. However, the Minister will want to discuss with you why you believe you are right for each other, and how you plan to address any likely challenges that may arise. We will also finalise the marriage service itself.

Third meeting: A rehearsal in the Church, involving all people with tasks if possible, in the last few days before the marriage service.

Music

Wesley has a long tradition of fine music for its services. The Director of Music, Mr Geoffrey Urquhart, is an excellent musician, a competent accompanist and can accommodate most music requests.

The music chosen for the marriage service should reflect both the joy of the occasion, its Christian meaning, and the venue in which it takes place. We can suggest suitable music, but are open to other suggestions that fit with the meaning of the marriage service.

The pipe organ and a grand piano are available for use during services. The organ dates from 1842. It is older than the Church building, which was opened in 1858.

When selecting music for your marriage service, please bear in mind the copyright laws.

Flowers and Confetti

The cost of flowers is included in the comprehensive fee. Flower arrangements are provided by Evan’s Florist on Exhibition Street.

Confetti should not be used inside or outside the Church. It is difficult to clear from the garden and not good for the environment. Rose petals are a much better choice.

Some Frequently Asked Questions:

Could our Minister from another church conduct the marriage service?

A minister associated with Wesley Church will be assigned to preside at your marriage service, according to the rites of the Uniting Church in Australia. Any requests for participation by a visiting Uniting Church minister will be at the discretion of the Ministers of Wesley Church, and dealt with on an individual basis. We respectfully advise that Ministers from other denominations will not be able to conduct weddings at Wesley Church, but may be able to participate in an aspect of the service in negotiation with the assigned Minister.

What is the minimum period of notice?

Generally at least three months. While the law requires at least one month’s notice, three months is the least to allow adequate time for the various arrangements and meetings that need to happen to make your marriage service a great occasion.

Could we have a marriage service on Sunday?

Generally no, because there are three services in the church every Sunday.

Could we be married in the Church if we are not baptised?

Yes, you can. The Uniting Church does not require baptism before a marriage service can happen in the Church.

Could we be married in the Church if we are divorced?

Yes, you can. The Minister will still want to discuss why you believe you are right with each other, as he would with any other couple.

How many people can the Church seat?

The downstairs seating capacity is about 250 people. If needed, there is more seating in the upstairs gallery.


Baptisms at Wesley Church

We are delighted that you are thinking about this important sacrament of the Christian faith. We encourage you, but we also want you to understand the meaning of this service before you proceed.

What is Baptism?

Baptism is a rite in which a person is washed with water in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. This practice was established by Jesus Christ. He was baptised by John the Baptist in the River Jordan. When Jesus was baptised, he accepted our sins as his own. Following his death for us, and his resurrection, Jesus gave this command to his disciples.

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you”.
Matthew 28:19

Baptism of a child,

Baptism as an adult or teenager.

Bringing a Child for Baptism

If you are seeking baptism for your child, it will indicate three things:

  • you are recognising Jesus Christ as the eternal Son of God who has become human to reconcile us to God, and you are accepting him as the centre of your family life and the life of your child.
  • you are seeking the help of the Holy Spirit, so that the life of your family will be one where Christ is loved; and
  • you will commit to teaching your child the way of Christ as he/she grows, both through your own example and by being part of the life of the Christian Church.

Baptism of a child and membership

Baptism is about becoming a member of the Christian Church. For that reason, it will always happen in a worship service, not at another time or place.

When a child is baptised in the Uniting Church, she/he is listed on the roll of baptised members, and a representative of the Church will visit your family from time to time. If you move somewhere else, we will send a transfer of membership to the Church in that place.

The Promises

In the baptism service, we ask the parents the following questions:

  • What do you ask of God’s Church for (name)?

We ask that he/she be baptised into the faith and family of Jesus Christ.

  • Will you provide for your child a Christian home of love and trust?

With God’s help we will.

  • Will you set before (name) the example of a Christian life, and will you pray that she/he will learn the way of Christ?

With God’s help we will.

  • Will you encourage your child to grow within the fellowship of the Church, and will you pray that he/she may come to faith in Christ?

With God’s help we will.

What baptism is not

Baptism is not just a social or family ceremony to celebrate the birth of a baby. Baptism is about entering the faith and family of Jesus Christ. It is about your decision to try to bring your child up as a Christian. If you simply want to celebrate and give thanks to God for the arrival of your child into the world we can certainly do that in another way.

Baptism is not the label a of a particular Church. People often say that they were baptised Anglican/Catholic/Lutheran, etc. But in fact there is only Christian baptism. The baptism certificate is a joint certificate issued by eight major churches, and says that we all accept each other’s baptism rites.

Baptism is not needed for a child to attend Sunday School or Church.

How do I arrange for my child’s baptism?

Please contact the Church Office by emailing wesleychurchoffice@vt.uniting.org to arrange to speak with the Minister.

You will be asked to come to a Sunday worship service (11.00 am or 6.00 pm), after which the Minister or another church leader will discuss the meaning and commitment of baptism with you, as explained on this webpage.

If you understand and accept the meaning and obligations of baptism, your request will be taken to the Church Council for approval.

The Minister will then visit you in your home to explain the baptism service. You will also meet with an Elder who will have a role in the service.

Baptism as an adult or teenager

Wesley Church will normally only agree to baptise adults or teenagers who habitually worship at Wesley Church. There needs to be a commitment to take up a Christian life, including the worship of the Church as an integral part of your life-style.

People seeking baptism will be asked to attend a series of classes, which will explain and discuss the major beliefs and practices of the Christian faith, and the life of the Church. Such classes are run each year.

Adult baptism includes confirmation (laying-on of hands with prayer invoking the Holy Spirit). The person affirms their faith in Christ, and commits themselves to a life lived in the teachings and community of the christian faith.

The vows taken in an adult baptism are:

  • Do you promise to follow Christ in your daily life?

With God’s help,I will seek to love and obey Christ, and grow in my relationship with God through prayer and study of the Bible.

  • Do you promise to be a faithful member of the Christian community?

With God’s help, I will share in the worship of the church and support its work with my time, talents and money.

  • Do you promise to participate in God’s mission to the world?

With God’s help, I will witness to Christ in word and deed, and look for the coming of the kingdom.

Baptism happens once. The Church cannot consider a second baptism for someone who has been baptised as a child. Instead it offers confirmation and other ways for the person to rejoice that they have been baptised, and to affirm the promises made for them at their baptism.

Further Information

For further enquiries, please contact the Minister’s Secretary by emailing wesleychurchoffice@vt.uniting.au