Churches celebrate love on Valentine’s Day

Churches in the Church of England are holding special services to celebrate love and marriage on Valentine’s Day today.

The Church of England’s new liturgical resources for the day have been downloaded more than 2,000 times. It encourages congregations to give gifts like flowers or cards during service and re-affirm marriage vows.

Recommended Scripture readings for the day include wedding favourite 1 Corinthians 13 – “the greatest of these is love” – and John 15 – “Greater love has no one than this”.

In Ely Diocese, the Rev Rhiannon Jones of St Vigor’s Church, Fulbourn, has invited couples married in the church in the last 20 years to come to service today.

“Everyone who comes will have a chance to give thanks for their marriage in a specially themed service. We’ll sing wedding favourites and have cake and champagne. What could be more special than to return to the church where you got married for a service to celebrate your marriage?” said Rev Jones.

All Saints church in Ripley, North Yorkshire, is using the liturgy for its annual Couples Sunday. Fifteen engaged couples are taking part in the service, which will be followed by a faith lunch and two-hour group session of wedding preparation at popular local wedding venue, Ripley Castle.

The liturgy was compiled at the request of the Rev Adrian Miller of Tas Valley Team Ministry in Saxlingham Nethergate, in the Diocese of Norwich. His church will have bells, a wedding dress display, flowers, champagne and fruitcake, and give couples the opportunity to renew their vows.

“In our special service we have one couple coming who married there 29 years ago, and another who married over 40 years ago,” he said.

While most churches offer food and drinks after the service, many churches are getting into the spirit of Valentine’s Day by offering wedding cake, champagne and chocolates to the congregation alongside the usual tea and biscuits.