Matchings and Despatchings
Earlier last week with a great flurry on the BBC Breakfast programme, the CofE announced that it was going to put up the costs of weddings and funerals held in their – sorry, in God’s – churches by as much as 50%. This would bring the cost of a church wedding up to £425. The cost of a funeral would rise from £102 to £150.
The reason for this is, apparently, that the church want to standardise the fees and get rid of what has been described as a ‘Ryanair’ charging system.
‘Hidden’ extras at weddings can include £100 for the Verger (even though under CofE rules this expense is supposed to be included in the basic fee), £100 for a choir, £100 for bellringers, £150 for an organist and even £70 to thank parishioners for arranging the flowers!
Administrative fees and charges for costs such as heating are also officially forbidden, but sometimes asked for. In all, these charges can mean a couple face a bill of close to £1,000 for the church.
Now bringing this all down to a standard all inclusive fee would, on the face of it, seem to be a sensible move, but the Synod has rejected the plan on the basis that it would penalise poorer families – although it was proposed that there would be exceptions made for the less well off. Whether it would have been practical for the church to means test families is another issue…
So at the end of the day the plan was rejected.
This decision, of course, has nothing to do with the fact that the cash strapped church makes £35 million a year from matchings and despatchings…
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