Unitarian Universalists do not have a worship or prayer book that includes formulated ceremonies for child dedications, coming of age ceremonies, weddings and union services, or memorial services. Individuals, couples and families are encouraged to take an active role in formulating ceremonies that will be fitting for their faith and their relationship. The minister can guide the process, but the resulting ritual should be reflective of the person, couple or family at the center of the occasion.

  Unitarian Universalist Rituals

 

   Child Dedications and Coming of Age Ceremonies

 

Most Unitarian Universalist families choose to do child dedications in which the parents dedicate themselves to the rearing of the child and the child is blessed by those gathered. Ceremonies are usually held in congregational settings where the congregation pledges assist in raising the child in a community of caring and love.

 

We often use a blessing with water. Some churches use the water collected during their annual Water Communion service. This water over the years tends to be waters mixed from across the country and the world.

 

Coming of age ceremonies are generally done in groups following completion of a preparatory class (if available) at, approximately, age fourteen. Other arrangements can also be made.

 

   Weddings

Wedding ceremonies in the Unitarian Universalist tradition tend to be deeply personal, crafted in collaboration between the couple and the minister to reflect the couple's beliefs, hopes, and relationship.

 

Unitarian Universalist ministers are often in demand for weddings by couples who are not Unitarian Universalist. We are open to and encourage ceremonies inclusive of both traditions for couples coming from two different faiths.

 

Unitarian Universalists have celebrated the weddings of same-gender couples for decades. We are proud that marriage equality is now the law in Maryland.

 

Ceremonies are held at our church or other venues.

 

    Memorial Services

Memorial services are celebrations of the life of the deceased person. Each service is developed by the family of the deceased and the presiding minister to honor the memory of that person.

 

A table or other display area of pictures and mementos is encouraged. The body or ashes may not be present, and ceremonies may take place immediately after the death or some time later.

 

As well as planned words and music, those gathered are usually invited to share their own memories of the deceased as they feel led.