You are here

May 2019 Family Ministry by Kathy E. Smith

Blog category: 

What is a Child Dedication?

Words to Live By

Each night a child is born is a holy night.
A time for singing, a time for wondering,
a time for worshipping.

Each night a child is born is a holy night.
words from UU religious educator Sophia Lyon Fahs,
set to music in hymn #1051 in Singing the Journey

The UUA offers a whole pamphlet devoted to answering this question!  But the brief answer is this: Our child dedication ceremonies are one of the ways we as a church formalize our commitment to our families.  We offer them when babies are born and when children are adopted. We also include families with older children who want to ceremonially declare their commitment to raising their children in this Unitarian Universalist community. 

A Unitarian Universalist child dedication is not about the child or the child’s beliefs, nor is it to make the child or their life “sacred”. We believe that every life is inherently sacred, and nothing we do (or do not do) will make it less so. Our ceremonies are about our commitment to these children, and all children, to create a world of justice and beauty for them to grow up in.

Perhaps the easiest way to explain child dedications are these simple statements I use to teach children. I tell them, Unitarian Universalists believe that every child brings new life and hope into the world. We believe every child is unique and worthy. We believe children’s questions are good. We have faith that, with guidance and support, children will find answers that are meaningful to them. We believe parents are their children’s first teachers about right and wrong and what is important in life. We commit our churches to support parents in teaching their children. We believe that our churches are places where families of all shapes and sizes are welcome and we learn to take care of each other. We say to children and to adults:

You are loved for who you are.

You are not alone.

You are powerful and you are holy.

We do our child dedication ceremonies in May and December.  If you have questions about raising children in this Unitarian Universalist community, please reach out to me or to one of our ministers. We are here for you – and we are glad you’re here!