As Unitarian Universalists, we believe that every child has inherent worth and dignity. We, therefore, offer a special rite of passage for children called Baby Dedications - an alternative to traditional baby naming, christening, or brit milah ceremonies. Here's a sample order of service for a Baby Dedication:
- Blessing the Water: After opening music and words of welcome, the ceremony begins by asking the gathered community to offer a hope, wish or prayer they have for the child as a bowl of water is passed in a circle.
- Letters of Love: The parents then read a letter to their child, which includes expressions of gratitude for the gathered family and friends (optional).
- Rose of Life: Family members are invited to participate in dedicating the child. They begin by placing the petals of a rose into the water - the thornless rose being a symbol of all of life's beauty without any suffering. After dipping it into the water they place the rose on the child's feet for all the places the child will go; the hands for all the child will do; the head for all the child will imagine; the ears for all the child may hear; the eyes for all the child will see; the lips for all the child will speak; and finally the parents dedicate the heart for all the child will feel.
- Community's Response: Together the gathered community dedicate their minds and hearts to the wellbeing of the child and the child's parents. They read aloud words that reflect their beliefs. For instance they may say, "We strive to love our family in times of struggle and gladdness and create for them, and for all those yet to be born, a beloved community." Together they may say, "May our family be surround by beauty, embraced by love, and cradled in the arms of peace."
- Closing Words: After a closing song (optional) closing words are offered to celebrate this beautiful occasion. Here's an example from Nancy Wood, entitled, "What to Leave Behind."
The only gift to leave children is example.
The only road to show is awareness.
The only blessing to give is responsibility.
The only memory to take is one of love.
If you and your family are interested in holding a baby dedication, please contact Rev. Nate for details.