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Certification of religious buildings

The certification of buildings for worship and registration for marriage is carried out by the Registrar General, who keeps an official register of all such buildings.

There is no legal requirement for a building to be certified with the Registrar General as a place of worship. However, if the owners/trustees of the building wish to have marriages conducted there, then the building must first be certified for worship.

How to certify a building for worship

Under the provision of the Places of Worship Registration Act 1855, a congregation may apply to have its place of worship certified by the Registrar General.

First of all, contact your local register office for advice. They will send you two copies of Form 76, which, when completed and signed by the trustees/proprietors, should be returned to the Superintendent Registrar. Both forms must be originals.

Your application must include the following:

  • A floor plan of the building – this does not need to be professionally drawn but must show all floors and indicate the usage of all rooms

  • Timetable of events – an average weekly timetable of all activities taking place in the building, both religious and secular

  • The statutory fee – please ask the Superintendent Registrar for details.

For new and lesser known denominations you should also include some details of beliefs.

How to register a religious building as a place of marriage

Under Section 41 of the Marriage Act 1949 the proprietor or trustees of a religious place of worship may apply to the Registrar General to have the building registered for marriages. However, it must first be certified by the Registrar General as a place of worship. If it is not already certified as such the two applications can be made at the same time.

First of all, contact the register office of your local Superintendent Registrar for advice. They will send you two copies of Form 78, which, when completed and signed by the trustees/proprietors, should be returned to the Superintendent Registrar. Both forms must be originals.

Each form should be signed by twenty householders who regard the building as their usual place of worship.  A householder is any person who resides at an address and has either joint or sole responsibility for that household.

Your application must include the following:

  • Order of service – to ensure that the statutory words of Declaration and Contract have been incorporated into the marriage service

  • Confirmation that doors will be open to the public

  • The statutory fee – please ask the Superintendent Registrar for details.

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