Weddings, Baptisms, Funerals

Weddings

At St Mark’s we are very happy to assist couples prepare for the life-long commitment of marriage. We will seek to do all we can to make your Marriage Service a meaningful and happy occasion. To do this, we meet with couples on at 5 occasions prior to their wedding. This gives us the opportunity to work through material that will help you prepare for your marriage and the wedding service itself. This includes covering the “Prepare” marriage course. The course has these goals:

1. To explore relationship strengths and growth areas
2. To learn assertiveness and active listening skills
3. To learn how to resolve conflict
4. To help the couple discuss their family-of-origin
5. To help the couple cope better with stressors
6. To focus on personal, couple and family goals

We would also like to you consider regular attendance with us at one of our meetings on Sundays.

We can conduct weddings at either St Mark’s Malabar or the Nurse’s War Memorial Chapel at Little Bay (the Little Bay chapel is independent of St Mark’s Malabar and is managed by the Prince Henry Hospital Trained Nurses Association–bookings for the chapel itself are arranged by emailing phhtnachapelbookings@gmail.com).

You should contact one of our ministry staff either at church one Sunday morning or via the phone to organize an initial meeting about a marriage service. He will discuss with you, wedding times and other arrangements. We wish you God’s richest blessing in your future together.

Baptisms

We are delighted to hear of the birth of your child. It is a great responsibility that God has given you, and it is also a great privilege and joy to bring a child into the world. We are especially glad that you want to mark this occasion with a church ceremony.

Having an infant baptised is a serious commitment on behalf of the parents and godparents of the child. It involves making promises to God and the church that should not be entered into lightly. For this reason, we will only set a date for the baptism of an infant after we have given the parents the opportunity to consider carefully the promises they will be making. All parents who bring their infant children for baptism are required to attend a five session course named Christianity Explained which gives them an opportunity to consider what is involved in baptism.

At St Mark’s Anglican Church Malabar we offer an alternative service for parents called A Service of Thanksgiving to God. This is a type of naming service where parents can have their child appropriately named, with prayers offered to God, and asking for God’s blessing, in the presence of their friends and family. This ceremony (like a baptism) takes place in one of our regular Sunday church services. This Service is offered to anyone who would like to have an association with our church, and would like to mark their child’s birth by giving thanks to God for such a wonderful gift.

Some people ask what is the difference between a Thanksgiving Service and a Baptism. The main difference between the two is that the Thanksgiving Service enables parents to thank God for the birth of their child, without obligation. Baptism, on the other hand, is a sign of membership in God’s church and signifies a commitment to raise a child as an active member of the church. It is a ceremony that symbolises Jesus’ death and our commitment to follow him, and therefore carries with it various responsibilities. Baptism is a sign of discipleship which, for Jesus’ followers, involves a complete change of lifestyle, including a commitment to meet together with God’s people and to live according to the Bible’s teaching. Baptism involves the use the sign of water, while a Thanksgiving Services does not.

Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any questions or to arrange an appointment to discuss the various options. You will find more information on baptism in this document.

Funerals

If you have recently suffered the death of a loved one, may we express our deepest sympathies at your loss. We hope that there is some way we may be able to assist you at this time.

Jesus says in the Gospel of John:

‘Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’

Our hope for you at this time is that through Jesus you will indeed be comforted and your hearts will not be troubled.

Every funeral or memorial service is an important occasion. The service provides the opportunity for people to express their grief and to extend sympathy to the bereaved, to honour the person who has died and to proclaim the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. The various elements of the gathering need to be given careful thought and detailed planning. Using the framework of the Funeral Service in the Prayer Book (The Book of Common Prayer or An Australian Prayer Book) there is flexibility and scope for shaping the occasion around the desires of the family and friends involved. At the same time there are guidelines as to what we are able to provide and achieve within the confines of the church service. It may be possible and appropriate to give opportunities for other activities beyond this service.

We conduct funeral services at St Mark’s Anglican Church Malabar, Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park (Matraville), or the Nurse’s War Memorial Chapel at Little Bay (the Little Bay chapel is independent of St Mark’s Malabar and is managed by the Prince Henry Hospital Trained Nurses Association–bookings for the chapel itself are arranged by emailing phhtnachapelbookings@gmail.com). Either your funeral director will contact us, or please feel free to contact us directly about conducting funeral services.