Church offers combo ceremony that incorporates wedding with baptism of couple’s children

LONDON — The Church of England is offering couples a two-for-one service — marriage for them and baptisms for their children.

The church is recognizing the changing reality of British families, it said Thursday. Statistics show that 44% of children in Britain are born to unmarried women, and the church’s own research found that one in five couples seeking a church wedding already had children either together or from a previous relationship.

New guidelines sent to the Church of England’s 16,000 parish churches encourage services that combine a wedding with a christening or a service of thanksgiving for the birth of a child.

Some clergy welcomed the latest move, but others argued it undermined Anglican teaching about the sanctity of marriage.

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