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Peasenhall couple to tie the knot in tiny Sutton church

PUBLISHED: 20:35 23 September 2016

Father Stephen Weston is priest of the tiny St Fursey's Church in Sutton, which is based in a shed built in his back garden. His congregation is growing so he now wants to build a new parish church.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Father Stephen Weston is priest of the tiny St Fursey's Church in Sutton, which is based in a shed built in his back garden. His congregation is growing so he now wants to build a new parish church. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2012

One of Britain's smallest churches is set to host its first wedding - and it's going to be a squeeze.

Some 25 guests will attempt to gather at St Fursey’s in Sutton, near Stalham, which measures just 18ft by 13ft.

Tying the knot will be David Boddy and Alice Boddy-Photini, who were married in a register office 15 years ago but wanted to seal their union with something more spiritual.

The couple from Peasenhall, near Saxmundham, are the first to say their vows at the tiny Orthodox chapel, established by Father Stephen Weston in his back garden in 1998.

And while the bride and groom might be suffering from a few pre-wedding nerves it is also a testing time for Father Stephen presiding over the intricate ceremony for the first time.

He said it was a milestone for his little church, one of 20 Antiochian Orthodox Christian parishes in England, which now sees congregations of up to 19 on a Saturday, triggering a search for new premises.

At the centre of the ceremony, which differs from the conventional wedding service, will be two beautiful crowns sent especially from Bucharest.

Father Stephen, 68, said Orthodox weddings were “special and exciting” occasions and also “very moving”.

“It’s a new thing for me,” he said. “I have only ever attended one. They do not happen ever so often so to have one in our little church is remarkable.”

The service, he said, was in two parts featuring first a betrothal and then a crowning ceremony.

But with at least 25 guests coming to wish the couple well, it was expected many would be spilling out into the garden and peeping round the doorway to see.

Mr Boddy, 58 will marry Alice, 65, at 2.30pm on Saturday. The couple met when he was a Church of England priest and she was his Reader. Mr Boddy’s final parish before retirement was in Somerleyton although he hails from Sunderland.

Between them they have four children and six grandchildren.

Father Stephen was ordained in 2011, even though it was not usual because his wife has not joined the church.

The following Saturday – October 1 – will see more excitement when Bishop Silouan, the first Bishop of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of the British Isles and Ireland, visits the tiny chapel from London.

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