The Chapel is the heart of the Christian community at Worcester, and has helped many current and old members to mark important life events. Each year, adults and children receive the sacrament of baptism (sometimes called christening) which makes them members of the Christian Church, and others are confirmed in their faith. The College is available to a number of couples each year for marriage. From time to time there are also funerals and memorial services.
Please read on to discover more, or contact us to make an enquiry about a special service.
Worcester College, with its beautiful gardens and lake, eighteenth-century Hall and William Burges Chapel, make it one of the most attractive and memorable locations in Oxford in which to get married.
The College warmly welcomes former and current members to create their perfect wedding day in this magical place, and we look forward to helping you make your marriage service in the Chapel an intimate and joyous occasion. However, places are limited each year, and available only to current members, alumni, and staff of the College. Under special circumstances children and grandchildren of former members may seek authorization from the College authorities to have their wedding at Worcester College but permission is not normally given. Wedding services usually take place on Saturdays during University vacations.
In order to be married in the Chapel the couple require a Special Licence from the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury, which will be applied for as part of the process in consultation with the Chaplain. Couples who have been married in a civil ceremony may have a service of blessing in the Chapel according to the rites of the Church of England. Permission to have a service or minister of other Christian denominations must be sought from the Chaplain and College authorities. There will be charges, including a minimum donation to the Chapel.
Musical arrangements can be made with the Director of Chapel Music. Arrangements for flowers, decorations, and photography must be made in conjunction with the Chaplain.
Baptism and Confirmation
The Chapel is only available for Baptism to current members of the College and its staff. Central to the baptism service is that a child or adult is baptised into their Christian community. For former members of the College this will be their local parish church or worshipping community whilst for current members and staff the Chapel is the focus of that community within the College. Although it is recognised that the services available in the Chapel may not be felt to be suitable for babies and very small children, those seeking baptism in the Chapel will be encouraged to fulfill their baptismal obligations to their child in a more suitable context.
Baptism services usually take place on a Sunday either during the vacation or in term time.
Individuals of other Christian denominations may use the Chapel for a service of baptism but the permission of the Chaplain and College authorities must be sought first.
The sacrament of Confirmation is also available to current members and staff of the College who are part of the regular worshipping community.
Funerals and Memorial Services
Permission to use the Chapel is considered on a case-by-case basis; however, it is usually only given for funerals of current members and staff of the College, and memorial services for former or current Fellows. In any request consideration must be given to the size of the Chapel. With a capacity of only 100, funerals and memorial services for the College, by necessity, usually take place in the local parish church of St Barnabas or the University Church of St Mary the Virgin.
The Chapel is available for a funeral or memorial service to individuals of other Christian denominations, other faiths and none within the criteria above, following permission from the Chaplain and the College authorities.