I welcome you to this most important occasion, the blessing and naming of __________and ___________ daughter/son.
I’m Rev. Edward Searl, minister of the Unitarian Church of Hinsdale. We Unitarians have a most optimistic faith in the human condition. We believe that with the right nurture,--that is love and care, education and encouragement, support and adult example,--the child will grow into the balanced individual that Creation has intended--confident in Self, joined to a larger humanity, and loving of LIFE. Toward fulfillment of these glorious possibilities we will use two elements in this service: a budded rose to symbolize the child’s inherent beauty and future blooming and the more traditional symbol of water. For us water consecrates the child to all that we know to be beautiful, true, and good.
The parents have invited you, their dearest family and friends, to join with them in proclaiming the miracle of this precious, new life. For __________ and __________, their daughter/son is, indeed, a miracle.
Today you are reenacting what you’ve already done with your love. You’ve taken this child into your two families and into the larger society of which we’re all a part. In a way we’re introducing you to her/him, too. You are a significant part of her/his world. Who s/he will become will significantly depend on what you will give. On her/his behalf I thank you.
I want to thank the godparents, _________ and_________ in particular for the promises they are making now. You are special emissaries--emissaries from the very heart of Creation. You must provide the very best example to this tender child. Let her/him learn through your words and deeds to be full of respect and love, for all others as well for herself. Let her/him be confident in you. You will love, her/him of course. But spoil her/him some, too, so s/he will know how special s/he is.
__________ and __________, your hearts are overflowing with this gift of life that has been given to you in this child. Be in awe and have a strong understanding of what s/he represents: the coming together of two families, a rich humanity, and the love of Creation. S/he is your fulfillment and your hope.
Love her/him both fiercely yet gently, so your love will let her/him grow, and s/he will become the unique and full individual s/he may become.
Never be reluctant or hesitant to call upon us when you need support and counsel. You will be better parents with the help of your family and friends. And it is truly my hope that the miracle of this child shall make you each more loving and respectful of the other than you were before her/his birth.
At this time we are mindful of the succession of generations and the passage of time. We remember those who are in our hearts but who have died.
Candle Lighting (by family elders)
Let these flames be to us a symbol of the consecration we now seek:
Their brightness dispelling gloom, lighting a path to faith and hope.
Their glow reminding us of the sacred bond that link us to all people.
Their radiance calling us to cast the light of freedom, justice, and peace upon the entire world, reminding us the place to begin is here and the time is now.
There is a Mysterious Power that animates every living thing,
a mysterious power that sustains what we call Life.
We do not know from where it comes when we are born.
We do not now where it goes when we die.
We only know its wonderfulness, all around us and within us,
in this moment and in this place.
Some of us call this Mysterious Power, God.
Some of prefer another name: Eternal Being, Creative Force,
or perhaps Spirit of Life and Love.
Some of us do not know what to call this Mysterious Power,
because all names seem inadequate.
Yet we all feel this Mysterious Power at the core of our unique
We experience it through he transformation of our individual
We sense it at work in the being and transformation of every living
Like a flame passing from candle to candle,
so this Mysterious Power passes from being to being
and from generation to generation.
This Mysterious Power is the unity of the whole of creation:
past, present, and future.
There is a Mysterious Power that animates every living thing,
a Mysterious Power that sustains what we call Life.
And we are glad to the heart of our being.
In this ceremony of dedication, we celebrate a new life while dedicating ourselves to that child’s nurture and possibilities. We have three dedications to make: by the family and friends or community, by the godparents (or sponsors), and by the parents.
As we make these dedications it is my hope that we may we build for this dear child and for every child a world in which the horizons continually expand and soar. May we offer to her/him the nurture, support, and community that create the bonds of love and true human society, so s/he shall always be at home wherever s/he goes, confident in her/his own abilities, yet compassionate of her/his companions.
Family/Community Responsive Dedication
In the house which becomes a home, one hands down and another takes up the
heritage of mind and heart, laughter and tears, musings and deeds.
LOVE, LIKE A CAREFULLY LOADED SHIP,
CROSSES THE GULF BETWEEN THE GENERATIONS.
Therefore we do not neglect the ceremonies of our passage:
When we wed, when we die, and when we are blessed with a child;
WHEN WE DEPART AND WHEN WE RETURN;
WHEN WE PLANT AND WHEN WE HARVEST.
Let us bring up our children. It is not the place of some official to hand to them their heritage.
WE SHALL IMPART TO CHILDREN OUR KNOWLEDGE
AND OUR IDEALS. AND THROUGH THEIR LIVES ALL THAT
WE LOVE AS BEAUTIFUL, TRUE, AND VIRTUOUS SHALL
BE PASSED THROUGH THE GENERATIONS.
Let us build memories in our children, lest they drag out joyless lives, lest they allow treasures to be lost because they have not been given the keys.
WE LIVE, NOT BY THINGS, BUT BY THE MEANING
OF THINGS. IT IS GOOD TO TRANSMIT THE
PASSWORDS FROM GENERATION TO GENERATION.
--Antoine de St. Exupery (adapted)
Godparents’ (Sponsors) Dedication: Do you, ___________ and ___________, promise that you will take this child into your heart and through the years you will be there for her/him -- providing support where appropriate, as well as your continuing care and counsel? (I do.)
Parents’ Dedication: do you, ________ and __________, do you promise to love and provide for your daughter/son, nurturing and guiding her/him so that she/he will grow self-assured and strong: independent yet connected to family and community, at home in the world, compassionate, and reverent? (We do.)
Ritual of Dedication
With a touch of water, an ancient symbol of consecration, as well as of freshness and purity, I imitate the consecration that has already been granted to you in your birth--the vastness, wonderfulness, and holiness of Life.
I touch you on the eyes that you may be clear of vision.
I touch you on the lips that you may be pure of speech.
I touch you on the brow that you may be pure of thought.
And I touch you on the heart that you may be rich in love.
And with this budded rose, beautiful in its own right, yet with the promise of a continuing and more mature beauty, I welcome you to the larger human family.
Whether a flower is beautiful or not; whether it comes into full bloom or not--depends upon the nurture it receives. No flower grows alone, apart from the sunshine and the rain, apart from the soil in which it lives it lives. So, too, no child grows alone.
May this budded rose, be a reminder to us all of the potential beauty of fulfillment--of the reward which comes from love and understanding, from teaching and example in which each of us plays a part.
Dear child, we welcome you in love, a new member of the human family. Forevermore you name will be __________ __________ ___________.
By this name you will be known. You will answer to this name. Your deeds will reflect upon it.
It is our prayer that you will make it a name of honor and respect, a name that evokes confidence, trust, and love in whomsoever hears it. May your name be blessed by the deeds you do.
As we contemplate the miracle of birth and new becoming,
As we renew in our hearts the sense of wonder and joy,
As we dedicate this child and rededicate ourselves to all that is
Beautiful, True, and Good,
May we be stirred to a fresh and enduring sense of Life’s
sacredness, as well as the promise of our children.
May we pass to this child and to all our children courage and
compassion, and most of all a questing spirit.
May that light burn more brightly in our children than it has in us.
In the Name of all we hold sacred, we ask these things,
And end this ceremony of dedication in peace and joy.