Rites of Passage

Rites of passage are ceremonies that mark an important time or transformation in life. The most commonly observed ones by Unitarian Universalists and in our particular congregation are found below.

Child Dedication - The community joins with parents to welcome a young life into the world and into the congregation. Parents pledge to raise their children with several important aspirations in mind, while the congregation pledges to help nurture the child spiritually. The child’s given name is lifted up during the ceremony. This rite is not a private one, as it takes some of its meaning from the context of the religious community of which the child and their family will be a part.

Coming of Age - After exploring their own beliefs and spiritual experiences and developing a relationship with a congregational mentor, our middle school children are recognized in a service as “coming of age.”

Bridging – When a youth has finished high school and our programs for young people, the congregation “bridges” them into the larger world. This might represent sending them off to college or a job or a more independent life. It also means they are moving into the realm of “Young Adult” in UU congregations.

Marriage – As with other faith traditions, we celebrate the commitments of a marriage, whether in a traditional wedding or a private ceremony. There is much freedom to work with a minister to create the kind of service that is meaningful to you.

Memorial Services and Funerals – Most Unitarian Universalist services are memorial services rather than funerals, with the body present, but both are possible within our tradition. Regardless, the focus of our memorial services is celebrating the life of the person who has died. The service usually includes readings, music, remembrances by some of those who knew the person well, and an official eulogy, with the minister conducting the overall service.