Members, with the approval of their incumbent, take on a befriending role to support couples preparing to get married in their church throughout the period before their wedding, and sometimes beyond.
The aim is to help couples feel welcomed as they attend church services before the marriage, particularly if the couple are new to the church, or not living in the same area as the church in which they will marry.
Members might be there for the reading of the banns, sitting with the couple during a service, and helping them to become familiar with what may be a relatively new situation for them.
The befriender often attends the marriage too, providing a continued link with parishioners. If for any reason this is not possible a greeting from the parish is sent to the newly married couple. A member involved in this ministry explains: “This service is not in any way intended to be a source of ‘marriage preparation’, but rather a means of providing a link for the couples with the church community”
(This initiative is also part of the Cana Ministry run by Mothers’ Union in the Diocese of Hereford).