Baptism (or Christening) is the formal beginning to Christian life and, for 2,000 years, has been the way that people become members of Christ's church, held in the love of God and prayed for by the local christian community. It can happen at any age, and we are as happy to talk about the possiblity of baptism for adults exploring the journey of faith as we are to explore baptism for new-borns or older children as the celebration of new life and of the love which surrounds us from the start of our lives.
Bringing children to church for baptism is a traditional part of celebrating new life for the parents, friends and family of the child and also gives the wider community an opportunity to welcome and celebrate the joy of a birth and to commit themselves to the love and support each child will need as he or she grows.
Anyone who lives in our parish can have their child baptised at any of the churches in the Halas Team, sometimes as part of a main Sunday Morning Communion Service or more often at a separate service for the baptism of children, usually in the late morning or early afternoon. The first step would be to visit to the Parish Office at 32, High Street Halesowen, next to the gates of St John's Halesowen by the war memorial, on a Thursday evening between 6pm and 7pm to book a provisional date. You'll be invited to a baptism preparation session for parents (and Godparents, should they wish to come) before we finalise arrangements, and those sessions are held monthly on Monday evenings at St Peter's Cradley.
In the meantime, you'll always be welcome at one of our Sunday services in any of the churches: full details are on the "Weekly Services" page.
The Church of England has further information on baptisms which you can find by clicking here.
Christian Funerals, whether in Church, or at a crematorium or cemetery, are not just for churchgoers, and it has always been the case that people who have little or no day to day contact with the Church will ask us for help in preparing a funeral. It is our privilege to respond to those requests, whoever they come from, and the clergy and ministers of the Halas Team are here for everyone who lives in this parish.
Funerals are normally arranged through a Funeral Director/Undertaker with the Parish Office, and when people are looking to arrange a Church of England Funeral (whether in church or at the crematorium) it is usually the last parish where the person who has died lived that will be asked to help. The service is the same whether in the Church building, or at the crematorium or cemetery, though it is worth remembering that a church funeral, though it will involve a journey to the place of burial or cremation afterwards, may be able to offer more time if you had hoped to extend the service. Similarly, although St Kenelm's Church seats only just over 100 people, our other four churches can accomodate much larger numbers if needed.
In addition to the funeral service, the church is also often asked to provide ministers for the interment or scattering of ashes, or for memorial services. Where prayer or pastoral support or a listening ear might help, you should always feel free to ask and we will do everything we can to offer you our support. No-one gets through bereavement alone.
Many of our churchyards are now closed, but we continue to administer permissions for monuments, which always need prior consent which is obtained through our parish office in accordance with the regulations
Further information on Christian funerals can be found by clicking here.
Church weddings follow a slightly different format from those in register offices or hotels, but although the form of words is set, using texts which echo those used in England for over a thousand years, there is plenty of opportunity to make the service personal to each couple, not least with choices of readings and music. We have mucisians and flower arrangers who can discuss your requests, choirs, a ring of bells in two of our churches, and even catering facilities at St Peter's Lapal. The clergy and the parish office can help you to put together a service to suit your needs.
We offer Marriage Preparation to each couple, and if either of you lives in the parish or has a strong historic connection here which complies with national legislation, you can marry in any one of our five churches. Each has something different to offer, and it's worth taking a closer look.
The first step would be to visit to the Parish Office at 32, High Street Halesowen, next to the gates of St John's Halesowen by the war memorial, on a Thursday evening between 6pm and 7pm to book a provisional date, or to use the contact details on this site to contact the office by email or telephone for general enquiries.
Equally, any husband and wife seeking a wedding blessing after a civil wedding or a wedding overseas can arrange a service in any of the Halas churches on a Thursday evening at the office.
Where there has been a divorce in the past, booking a wedding is a little more complicated. We'll arrange an extra interview with one of the clergy so that we can get to know you and your situation a bit better. Occasionally, that may raise issues which we need to discuss further, but we'll always explain both the rules and any concerns with you openly and confidentially, and do everything we can to help and support you within the national framework set by the Church of England.
Where the couple seeking marriage are both of the same sex, legislation does not enable us to conduct a legal wedding in the Church of England, and you would need to arrange for the marriage to be solemnised elsewhere. If you had particularly hoped for the support of the local church's prayers at this time, then do please get in touch and we can talk with you about possibilities.
Sometimes couples who have been married a while ask for a service to renew their vows, often at a significant anniversary or occasionally after a period of estrangement or difficulty. Again, please get in touch with the office.
Further information from the Church of England can be found by clicking here.