Child Blessing and Dedication Ceremony
THE NAMING OF THE CHILD:
From the beginning of time, men and women have brought their children before their communities and families to dedicate and bless their new lives. We too, come out of such a tradition. From time to time we conduct a wondrous ritual we call a child dedication ceremony. This ceremony is similar and yet dissimilar to other naming rites. It is a sacrament, which means it is an outward, visible sign of an inward spiritual grace.
We come here out of a reverence for life that we have seen in the miracle of birth. We acknowledge that power and we are humbled before it. This ceremony will recognize the child’s worth and potential to change the world. It will bind all of us, family and congregation into a covenant of love and caring. It will acknowledge the mystery of this gift we call life. In short, our ceremony does not change the child, it changes us.
Will you tell us the name of this child, and any significance it has to you and for her?
THE COVENANTS OF CHILDREARING
In this ceremony of dedication, we as parents, friends and members of this congregation pledge ourselves to the growth and spiritual nurturing of this child.
, in bringing your child to be celebrated and welcomed into this congregation, you acknowledge that she is more than your own creation and your private concern. That she needs your loving care, and your determination to guide her with understanding and commitment. Your affection and devotion will support her for many years. Do you promise, to the best of your ability, by your example, your love, and your wisdom, to lead this child in the way of goodness, beauty, justice and truth?
Parents: We do.
, you are now a big brother, and your little sister will look up to you in special ways as you grow up together. Will you play with her, have fun with her, help her and love her?
Will you, Grandparents, please step forward.
As Grandparents you play a very important role in this child’s life.
You have a special quality, sensitivity, compassion and understanding to share with this child. Do you promise to support in raising; showering her with your love, wisdom and affection; leading her, by your example, in the way of goodness, beauty, justice and truth?
Grandparents: We do.
Will the children of the congregation please rise.
By presenting their child to this congregation, these parents acknowledge that she is more than a private possession, but is a new being in whom we all have a responsibility, and who we all welcome.
Children and youth of this congregation, have brought to be dedicated here today. As she begins her life, and grows among us, she soon will take her place with you in the activities of this congregation. Will you welcome her and help her to find her way? Will you do your best to help her understand that, like you, she is a precious person of inherent worth and dignity?
If so, say “We will.”
Children: We will.
Will the entire congregation now rise.
Will you, members and friends, rejoice with these parents in the birth of their child? By recognizing this child, you acknowledge that you are willing to care for and respect her, just as you try to love and celebrate all children. Will you share with this family and the larger community the responsibility and joy of providing a safe, nurturing and challenging place for her to grow?
Congregation: We will.
By greeting this child, you let her and her family know that they will always be welcome here. Will you say “Welcome” along with me?
ACT OF DEDICATION BY THE MINISTER:
To dedicate this child we make use of two elements: the budding flower, symbol of the unfolding life before us, and water, symbol of purity and freshness, the source from which all life springs, reminding us that while we today embrace this child within our community she is already part of the wholeness of the world.
And now, may I hold ?
, with a flower and water, ancient symbols of purity and beauty, I touch your brow, your lips and your hands, to dedicate your thoughts, your speech and your deeds to that which is noble and beautiful and true.
May your heart always know love, your mind search for Truth and Beauty, your eyes always seek justice; May your hands find labor which fulfills you, your body carry you far, and your spirit forever seek the mountain top.
PRESENTATION OF FLOWER:
The gardens of the world are full of many flowers, each different, each beautiful, each unique. May this flower remind us all that our children are like those flowers. Each is different, each is beautiful, each is unique.
Today we give a rose. It is a symbol of the beauty of her living. It has a closed bud for now, and as it unfolds in natural beauty, so too may her life unfold.
The thorns have been removed in symbolism of our dedication to protect her and support her as she grows into her own.
Give parents the rose.
Sacred Source of all life and source of this new life in our midst, we are in wonder at the miracle of birth and we are overjoyed with gratitude for the precious life of this child. Grant to these parents, and to all those who surround this family, the wisdom and courage and strength to lead this child in the journey of her life. May this congregation be for her a firm root, a circle of love, and a source of vision. Blessed Be.
*Congregational Hymn: Peace My Child
While the family walks down each aisle