How to register a building for worship and for marriage
Registering as a Place of Worship
Under the provision of the Places of Worship Registration Act 1855, a congregation may apply for a certified building of worship, by applying to the Superintendent Registrar in the district where the venue is situated. This excludes churches or chapels of the Church of England, unless it shares a church building with another religious denomination.
The person who acts as 'minister', 'proprietor' or 'trustee' at the place of worship has to complete two copies (photocopies are not accepted) of Form 76 (Form for certifying a place of meeting for religious worship under the Places of Worship Registration Act 1855).
If the building is in Manchester, the completed forms should be sent to the Manchester Register Office with a sketch of the floor plan identifying which rooms will be used for worship, an average weekly timetable of how the building will be used, and a cheque or postal order, made payable to Manchester City Council, covering the statutory fee of £29.
Registering as a Place of Marriage
If the congregation decides that it wishes the place of worship to become a place where marriages can take place, it needs to complete two copies (photocopies not accepted) of Form 78 (Certificate and application for the registration of a place of religious worship for the solemnization of marriages under sec. 41 of the Marriage Act 1949). This should be dealt with, if possible, together with the original application for a place of worship. However, it can only be requested after the date of certification of the building as a place of worship.
Form 78 requires signatures of 20 separate householders who say that the building is their usual place of worship and that they desire it to be registered for the solemnization of marriages. A statutory fee of £123 is payable, by cheque or postal order made payable to Manchester City Council.
Once the information is received at the Manchester Register Office, the information is sent to the General Register Office (GRO) for authorisation. When the General Register Office has certified a building for worship and marriage, the Register Office is required to advertise the new place of worship in the local newspaper. A certificate is sent to the applicant as soon as the building is registered.
If the certified building is no longer used for religious worship, Form 77 (Notice of disuse of a certified place of meeting for religious worship to be given to the Registrar General, pursuant to the Places of Worship Registration Act 1855) needs to be completed.
To later re-instate the building as a place of worship, the process outlined above for registering a place of worship would have to be conducted again. Re-registration is not normally required if the building is demolished and a building of the same denomination is rebuilt on the same foundations, providing the new building is finished within a year of the demolition.
How to obtain copies of the forms
Copies of the forms and guidance notes can be downloaded from the Gov.uk website
Alternatively, to obtain copies of the form(s) you require, you can contact:
The Superintendent Registrar
Manchester Register Office
47 Lloyd Street
Tel: 0161 234 5005