We are often asked if we hold weddings, christenings and funerals in the Cathedral, and the short answer is that we do. We are bound by various rules and restrictions so this page explains what we can offer and what you need to do if you wish to hold one of these services here.
We are delighted to offer Christenings (Baptisms) at Liverpool Cathedral to both children and adults. We believe this an important, wonderful moment for the individual and their family and for us as a Christian community. So we are delighted to arrange baptisms here for anyone who is a member of the Cathedral company- that is a member of staff; a volunteer; a regular worshipper, or occasionally someone with a connection to one of our associated military regiments.
We normally carry out the baptism of infants and children in the Lady Chapel at a time to suit the family concerned. However, we encourage those who are regular members of one of our congregations to consider having their baptism as part of the service when that congregation meets. If this is not practical we encourage the newly baptised to be formally welcomed at that service as soon after the baptism as possible.
We expect parents of infants and children to undergo some preparation before baptism, often through our ‘Alpha’ course. Adults seeking baptism will normally attend an Alpha course, to explore the Christian faith before making a final decision to be baptised. Adults are often baptised and confirmed at the same service. We often administered baptism by full immersion, but this is not a requirement.
Normally baptisms are conducted by one of our Residentiary Canons or the Dean. Licensed clergy in good standing with the Diocese of Liverpool and clergy from other Christian churches may sometimes be invited to assist. We don't charge a fee but donations are gratefully received.
A wedding is one of life's great moments, a time of solemn commitment as well as good wishes, feasting and joy. St John’s Gospel tells us how Jesus shared in such an occasion at Cana, and gave there a sign of God’s blessing as he turned water into wine.
Marriage is intended by God to be a creative relationship, as his blessing enables husband and wife to love and support each other in good times and in bad, and to share in the care and upbringing of children. For Christians, marriage is also an invitation to share life together in the spirit of Jesus Christ. It is based upon a solemn, public and life-long covenant between a man and a woman, declared and celebrated in the presence of God and before witnesses.
On their wedding day, the bride and bridegroom face each other, make their promises and receive God's blessing, surrounded by their family and friends who are witnesses of the marriage, and express their support by their presence and their prayers.
At Liverpool Cathedral we uphold the traditional teaching of the Church about marriage, that it is a gift of God in creation and a means of grace and that it should always be undertaken as a lifelong commitment. We are delighted to marry all couples who come to us requesting a marriage service providing that they are eligible to be married here. Church of England marriage laws impose clear eligibility criteria that define who is permitted to marry in cathedrals. Every couple wishing to have their marriage solemnized here must obtain a Special Licence from the Archbishop of Canterbury. These are issued on his behalf by the Registrar of the Court of Faculties in London.
The Registrar will only issue a Special Licence if the couple has what is referred to in law as a “present and demonstrable connection” with the cathedral in question – in practical terms, this normally means either coming to services at the cathedral on a regular basis over several months, or being one of the cathedral’s current employees. What the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Registrar will be looking for is convincing evidence that the couple has a genuine and substantial, personal and on-going, connection with the cathedral in question, which is so strong that it therefore makes this cathedral the most obvious church in which their marriage service should be held.
Normally weddings will be conducted by one of our Residentiary Canons, the Dean or a member of the Cathedral clergy. Licensed clergy in good standing with the Diocese of Liverpool and clergy from other Christian churches may sometimes be invited to assist. You will have to pay fees which are mainly set by the Church of England and over which the Cathedral has only limited discretion.
Marriage of those who have been divorced
In exceptional circumstances we are prepared to perform a marriage service for a couple when one or both of them are divorced, providing they are able to show a “present and demonstrable connection” with the Cathedral (as referred to above) and providing that we receive assurance that the new relationship did not begin before any previous marriage ended, both parties understand divorce is a breach of God’s will for marriage and both parties are determined to make the new marriage a lifelong, faithful partnership. However, some couples find the formal process of enquiry which is necessary under these circumstances to be quite intrusive. A member of the Cathedral clergy will be happy to talk through with you the pastoral implications of this.
You will have to pay fees which are mainly set by the Church of England and over which the Cathedral has only limited discretion.
Prayer and Pastoral Care for same-sex couples
At Liverpool Cathedral (in common with every Church of England Cathedral and parish church), we are not legally permitted to offer a civil partnership or same-sex marriage ceremony. However, the most recent statement on the subject of same-sex marriage by the Church of England House of Bishops' states that, 'Where clergy are approached by people asking for prayer in relation to entering into a civil partnership they should respond pastorally and sensitively in the light of the circumstances of each case.' (2017 statement, para 18) At Liverpool Cathedral, the clergy will do so.
We have set our faces against homophobia in all its forms and will seek to challenge it when we encounter it, whether within our own community or outside it. Same-sex couples who approach our clergy for guidance and prayer can be confident that they will receive a warm welcome. We will be pleased to explore these important matters with you in a way that is sensitive and serious.
After an initial conversation, couples may wish to find an opportunity to seek the wisdom and strength of the Holy Spirit and to dedicate themselves afresh to God’s service. By negotiation, this can be arranged to take place either during one of our scheduled services or on a separate occasion, with or without family members and friends in attendance. Depending on the choices a couple makes, a fee may or may not be payable.
In the first instance, you are invited to make an appointment to speak to the Dean or to one of the residentiary canons. Meanwhile, the Cathedral Chapter (in keeping with the Church of England generally) is seeking to attend to the experience of LGBT people and how that experience relates to the Bible and the teachings of the church.
We do not charge a fee but will always welcome donations
(statement agreed by Chapter, March 2017)
The Cathedral hosts funeral or memorial services for members of the congregation, for those who have a connection with the Cathedral, and also for those whose civil roles or public life have so touched the community that the service is likely to be attended by large numbers of people and a bigger venue is needed.
Normally funerals will be conducted by one of the Residentiary Canons, the Dean or a member of the Cathedral clergy. Licensed clergy in good standing with the Diocese of Liverpool and clergy from other Christian churches may sometimes be invited to assist.
Fees are payable over which the Cathedral has only limited discretion.
To discuss your query further please contact Jayne Bainbridge