In every human life there come one-time-only, unique moments that mark a transition into a new phase of life: birth, coming of age, making a life partnership, aging, dying. It is our view that such liminal moments deserve to be honored by a religious ritual.
At First Church, we mark some occasions within our congregational community in Sunday worship. We welcome and name the children of church members in Baby Dedication Services held twice a year, winter and spring. The young people of the church are celebrated as they pass into young adulthood in our annual Coming of Age service. We welcome those who join their lives to ours in New Member services held several times a year.
Couples joining their lives together in covenant work with our minister to create a wedding ceremony that lifts up their relationship within the context of their families and communities and includes elements of the couple’s personal religious beliefs, as traditional or as personalized as the couple may want. As part of our commitment to being a Welcoming Congregation, same-sex couples are welcomed along with female-male couples to work with our minister to plan a Holy Union ceremony that is meaningful and joyful for them and their families.
Unitarian Universalist Memorial services are a complex mixture of grief and celebration. The person who has died is remembered in their wholeness and complexity as a human being. Families and friends are offered opportunities to mourn as well as to laugh as they remember the life of the one they love. Oftentimes, families find the prepatory meeting with the minister to plan the service to be a healing ritual as well. Our minister will preside at memorials at the church, at a local funeral home, and/or at graveside.
Other rites of passage are more personal and private and may be held outside of the church building – Christening or Dedication services for children of non-members, Adoption ceremonies, Coming of Age rituals for young people not connected to the Sunday School, House Blessings for new homes or for homes being renewed after Katrina, Divorce rituals, services to note a diagnosis of serious or chronic illness, rituals for entering the “wise elder” stage of life, vigils for the dying. Our minister is honored to work with individuals and families to ensure that the occasion is marked by readings that reflect the theology and spirituality of the people involved, and preserve the sacredness of the life transition.
Honoraria for non-members are reasonable, and adjustable for those in financial hardship. Please contact our minister to talk about a meaningful ritual for your life passages.