In Church today the Rector had to read out so many Banns of Marriage that he sounded like he was reciting from the middle section of the Births, Marriages and Deaths column in the local newspaper.
Honestly, there were so many of them that I completely lost count. There were couples who were “both of this parish” and therefore entitled to marry in this, the Parish
Church; there were couples where one was “of this parish” with his / her intended from another parish; there were couples where neither were “of this parish” but wanted to marry in our Church because of some unspecified connection;
there were couples who were “of this parish” but who were planning to marry somewhere else altogether. Some were for the first time of asking, some for the second time of asking, others for the third time of asking. It really was very, very
After struggling through all the names, parishes and intentions, the stand-in Rector (our former Rector having retired quite recently, waltzing off to
a happy retirement in a nearby village where he has presumably found himself “of another parish” after 28 years ) intoned those well-known words about anyone knowing any reason why these persons should not be joined in holy matrimony please
declaring it. As always, there was just the slightest hush of anticipation – but, of course, nobody stood up and declared anything. Such a shame.
if any of you remember that fabulous scene in The Vicar of Dibley in which Hugo and the Gormless Alice are standing at the altar where the Rev. Geraldine (Dawn French, wearing a blonde wig for reasons I have forgotten) is intoning: “Does anyone know
any just cause or impediment....?” At this point a woman in a rather large hat storms into the Church and does just that, declaring that the groom is already married and waving papers to prove it. As Hugo turns slowly to face his accuser, she turns
pale and stutters: “Ooh, sorry – wrong church!” It’s my second favourite moment in this classic episode – my favourite being the first sight of the bridesmaids dressed as the four Teletubbies. I remember that I watched this
episode all on my own and howled with laughter all the way through. I just watched it again on YouTube to refresh my memory (never let it be said that I don’t take seriously the responsibility of properly researching the content of the Daily Blog.) It
still made me laugh.
Through the mists of time, I seem to remember that I fainted when our Banns were called at St Michael’s Church in Sittingbourne, forty-eight
years ago, more or less today. I always was a drama queen. One couldn’t have blamed Mr B for deciding this unwarranted display of dramatics was tantamount to a just cause or impediment and declaring it for all the world (or at least all the congregation)
to hear. Fortunately for us both – and for our unborn children and grandchildren) – he didn’t.
It would actually have been rather interesting
at Church this morning if someone had raised an objection. I mean, how would anyone have been able to work out which couple was being objected to? The whole service would have had to be brought to a halt while the acting Rector tried to establish if
it was a couple of our parish, or not of our parish, or with intentions of marrying in our church, or with intentions of marrying in someone else’s church, or not having any intentions at all for that matter. The mind boggles. It would almost be
worth raising an objection, just to see what would happen. I wouldn’t, of course – far too law-abiding, I am.
Everything was in order. Nobody
raised anything, not even a laugh. All these marriages will take place, all these happy couples will tie the knot, sometime this summer, either in our Church or another. I feel quite misty-eyed thinking about them.
As Shakespeare memorably said: “Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediment...”
in our parish, anyway.