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Information for Clergy and Ministers

Below you’ll find links to resources for practical mission, supporting legal documents and diocesan contacts to help you make the most of life events ministry in your parish.


For the latest national fees tables, visit the Church of England website.

Initiation services

Worship texts

Texts for Baptism, Confirmation, Affirmation and Reception can all be found in Common Worship. A hardback copy is available at Church House Publishing or can be viewed on the national Church of England website.

Electronic and printed versions of the services for Confirmation with Holy Communion, and Baptism with Holy Communion, as edited for use in the Diocese of Guildford, are available from the Bishop of Guildford's office.

It is important that the introduction to each service is read carefully, as these provide background and explanation of the services and the opportunities they offer. The Bishop's Chaplain is able to give guidance on practical matters.

There is a range of additional supportive services which recognises different stages of a person's spiritual journey leading up to adult Baptism and Confirmation. The service for Affirmation of Baptismal Faith, and one for Reception into the Communion of the Church of England are now clearly set out and can be included in a Confirmation service where appropriate.


“In baptism the Lord is adding to our number..”

Opportunities for mission

Baptism services are an incredible opportunity to make contact with new families and their guests, sharing the meaning of baptism and why it’s just the beginning of an amazing journey. 

Visit the Church of England’s Church Support Hub for a huge range of resources, research insights and practical ideas for offering a warm welcome to families and keeping in touch with them long after their service.

The importance of godparents

It cannot be overstated how important godparents are to families. On the Church Support Hub, you can read more about why they’re so important and how churches can involve godparents along the baptism-planning journey. You can also see tips on how to help them understand more about their role.

Guidance to help with pastoral issues around the choice of godparents

Guidance for churches when advising families on their choice of godparents, along with suggested solutions for increasingly common pastoral issues, can be found in the Guide to public worship document.

Thanksgivings – an option separate to a Baptism

There is some helpful thinking and research on the Church of England’s Church Support Hub about why the service of Thanksgiving for the Gift of a Child can support ministry with families on their journey of faith. 

The Guide to public worship offers more guidance about when and how Thanksgivings might be offered to families. 


The normal minimum age for confirmation candidates in the Diocese of Guildford is 12 years and our bishops ask to be consulted well in advance if a pastoral case is to be made for an exception to this general rule. 

View the list of this year’s confirmations

To receive the latest copy of the agreed confirmation order of service please contact the Bishop's Chaplain.


Mission opportunities

Weddings are one of the great opportunities to make lasting connections with new contacts. Use the Church of England’s Church Support Hub to discover the findings of independent research, access specially developed resources, share practical ideas and access webinars.

Marriage preparation materials

Books for Couples

Growing Together 
Andrew Body (Church House Publishing £6.99)

The Marriage Book 
Nicky and Sila Lee (Alpha International)

Group Work Courses

Growing Together 
Andrew Body - A flexible marriage courses including CD Rom (Church House Publishing £19.99)

Choosing Marriage 
Guildford Mother's Union (£6 plus booklets)

The Marriage Preparation Course 
(Alpha International £50 plus booklets)

Marriage Inventories

Prepare / Enrich UK 
SVS Kingsland Square, St Mary Street, Southampton SO14 1NW 
Tel: 023 8021 6003

For Clergy and Churches

Using Common Worship 
Stephen Lake (Church House Publishing £8.95)

Making the most of Weddings 
Andrew Body. A guide for Churches on making the most of opportunities that weddings offer. 
Accordion ends here

Church of England teaching on marriage

A teaching document from the House of Bishops of the Church of England (Church House Publishing)

The Book of Common Prayer 
Preface to the Marriage Service and the Declaration of Duties of husband and wife, with reference to the Epistle to the Ephesians Chapter 5, Colossians and 1 Peter

Common Worship 
Pastoral Services (The Marriage Service: Pastoral Introduction) (page 102), Preface (page 105); Alternative Preface (page 136)

Marriage after divorce

The Bishop's forms are under revision - please email, as per the information found in the section below.

Process for marriages of divorcees when a licence is required

With regard to marrying couples who have been previously married, the Archbishop of Canterbury has directed that his Faculty Office is required to be assured by the relevant Bishop that the Priest applying for special licences has duly followed the House of Bishops' Advice and has consulted with the Diocesan Bishop.

Clergy applying for a special licence must carefully follow 4.7 of the House of Bishops' Advice; i.e. consult the 'Marriage in Church after Divorce' form as issued by the national Church, to ensure they have considered the relevant issues in advance of deciding whether s/he is willing to conduct the marriage of the couple concerned.

For the sake of clarity and consistency, the Bishop of Guildford requires exactly the same procedure in relation to application to the Diocesan Registry for common licences. Having considered the request to marry, and the advice contained in the form (including having sight of the relevant decree absolute(s)), please email the bishop's chaplain, Jo Winn-Smith , regarding your discernment in the matter.

Bishop's Surrogates for Marriage Licences

Bishop's Surrogates are appointed by the Chancellor of the Diocese to assist couples who are to be married by common licence in the diocese. Common licences can also be arranged through the Diocesan Registry in Westminster.

Our Surrogates


The Church of England Church Support Hub offers a wealth of information, webinars, research, downloads and ideas for churches to help them support families through planning a church-led funeral and coping with bereavement.

There’s also excellent advice and resources for churches on the Loss and Hope website, which helps churches to become more ‘bereavement friendly’. Part of that support encourages churches to consider offering The Bereavement Journey to grieving people in their parish.

Another resource to encourage conversations about death and dying is the Church of England’s GraveTalk – it offers a facilitation guide to set up an event in your community which welcomes anyone, offering cake, tea and a way to encourage good conversation. Find out more and order resources from Church House Publishing.

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