Ministry Today – Serving and empowering church leaders

Two-for-One Deal

Most pastors in America realize the problem of cohabitation among unwed parents has become a cultural norm—one that's often just as common in the church as outside it. But across the Pond, the moral dilemma is being addressed by the Church of England with what one bishop calls a "nutty" solution.

Beginning this week, Anglican leaders can now officiate a "hatch-and-match" service—for the equivalent of $450 per ceremony—that both marries unwed couples and baptizes their children. Responding to recent reports that show almost 44 percent of children in England are born to unwed mothers, the Church says it aims to reconcile families "living in sin" while offering services that are more relevant to the average British family.

“I suspect a lot of clergy have done services like this already," said Michael Scott-Joynt, bishop of Winchester. "This will help clergy who might not otherwise feel competent when asked to do this.”

As expected, however, not every church leader thinks this is a good idea. "It is a pity they have not put in a funeral for grandma as well," joked Fulham Bishop John Broadhurst. "What are they playing at? It seems trendy, and it reveals a complete lack of awareness of the reality of what goes on in parishes.”

Other critics offered harsher opinions, specifically concerning the misunderstanding this could create on the Church's stance on marriage and its "lax" treatment of baptism. Yet representatives from the Church of England say it's merely a case of adjusting to contemporary culture.

“This does not mean the Church is changing its teaching," said Stephen Platten, bishop of Wakefield and chairman of the group that created the two-in-one liturgy. "This is a way for the Church to reinforce its commitment to marriage. The Church has always attempted to meet people where they are. But it has also tried to teach something of what it believes the Christian faith to be.” [, 7/23/09]

Ministry Today Subscription Special - Subscribe to Ministry Today magazine today and get 12 issues (2 full years) plus Amplified Leadership, a free leadership book for only $24.

Order Life in the Spirit to actively grow your ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit. Your congregation will stay saturated in God's Word, learn to hear His voice, understand their purpose and calling and move into an active role in your ministry.

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
  • Jentezen Franklin encourages church leaders to encourage their flocks to vote their values.

    Why We Must Count the Cost—and Vote

    There is a propaganda war that is raging in this country, and it is full of manipulation, lies, ...

  • Why did you choose the church you attend?

    7 Key Reasons People Choose a Church

    The real issue is not the intrigue of this research; it is what you and your church will do about ...

  • Have you ever had a cringe moment during your church announcements?

    The 7 Deadly Sins of Church Announcements

    Sometimes they just miss the mark, albeit unintentionally.

  • Many of these issues are self-inflicted.

    10 Poisons That Will Kill Any Church

    Here is why the churches that die from them do so by their own hand.

  • The Key to True Power

    The Key to True Power

    Jesus overturned every worldly idea about power when He introduced the concept of servant leadership.

  • Graveyard

    An Autopsy of a Deceased Pastor

    There are eight common patterns to look for.

  • Some of these reasons for leaving the church are simply not plausible.

    7 Reasons People Leave Their Church During Crisis Times

    Some of the excuses are pretty extreme and, quite frankly, lazy.

  • Praying for leaders

    Failing to Do This Can Spell Disaster for the Church

    And it has the potential to destroy many lives.

  • Do yourself and her a favor. Take the target off your pastor's wife's back.

    Why Pastors' Wives Have a Target on Their Back

    Here are three instances of what we are doing to the wives of God's servants sent to ...

Use Desktop Layout
Ministry Today Magazine — Serving and empowering church leaders