Child Dedications/Baptisms

Unitarian Universalists believe that every child brings new life and hope into the world. We set aside a special time, called simply the Ceremony of Dedication, for the community to bless the child and celebrate the blessing of this gift of life. When we dedicate a child we acknowledge the truth that each child's life is sacred and hold that truth in the light of our faith. We offer a child dedication service approximately three times a year, during the Sunday morning worship service, for members of the congregation.

We are delighted that you want to honor this rite-of-passage in your child's life!  For non-members who have no previous relationship or family relationship with West Shore Church, the ministers will offer private naming and blessing ceremonies, both on-site and in a private home. The child is welcomed into the world, whether by birth or adoption, called by his/her name, blessed by the symbols of rose and water, and is blessed by the gathered community. An honorarium is requested from those who are not members of the church. There may be an additional charge for child dedication/naming ceremonies held off church premises.

For non-members who have a family history or previous relationship with West Shore Church, a conversation with one of the ministers is requested to determine the best context for participation in a ceremony of child dedication. Generally, the Sunday morning dedication service is reserved for current members of West Shore. Because the ceremony in a sanctuary worship service reflects an assumption of family participation in the life of the congregation and a congregational commitment to the child being dedicated, we want to understand better your relationship with the church. 

Because Unitarian Universalists do not believe in original sin, we do not offer the Christian rite of Baptism. For those who are Christian Unitarian Universalists, the Rite of Baptism is reserved for those who intend to raise their children as Christian Unitarian Universalists. This rite if often done in the home or immediately following the church service, but has been offered in the church service as well.


What about grandparents or god parents in the ceremony?

Grandparents. What a great gift it is to become a grandparent!  Grandparents are recognized as part of the liturgy in the service.  The minister will ask the grandparents to rise as able and will be asked if they will support the child's parents in their unique role as grandparents.

God parents.  The role of godparents in the rite of baptism used to be a serious and arduous undertaking!   In the event that both parents were to die, the godparents were to take responsibility for the child.  Later, it became understood as a family friend or relative who would serve as the child's sponsor in a confirmation process.  The godparent would take classes in spiritual development and/or meet with the minister or priest.  The Unitarian Universalist tradition welcomes family members or friends to be sponsors and supporters for a child, but we don't call such persons "godparents."  Anyone who wishes to be in a special, life-long relationship with a child is welcomed in the service and acknowledged as playing an important role. 

When are Child Dedications held?

Child Dedications for the children of church members are held approximately three times a year, in the Sunday morning service; once in the Fall, Winter and Spring.  Watch for an announcement about those dates in the church newsletter, Shorelines, the RE-Flections (e-news for Religious Education families), the e-news (weekly news update) and announcements in the order of service.