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Celebrations and Rites of Passage

Adults cheer for the newly-bridged young adults.

Every Unitarian Universalist congregation has its own ways of celebrating life and marking life transitions. We share our joys and sorrows, supporting one another through difficulty and success. From birth to death, our congregations help us live with deeper gratitude, greater connection, and more reverence for life.

Our custom-made weddings and memorial services honor the people involved by reflecting their unique personalities and values. Unitarian Universalist clergy work closely with couples and loved ones to design these very special events. 

Congregation-Wide Celebrations and Passages

Child Dedication Ceremonies

Many Unitarian Universalist congregations have child dedication ceremonies for infants and children. Depending on the congregation, these can be custom-made for individual children or conducted for groups of children. Learn More.

Coming of Age Ceremonies

Unitarian Universalist congregations may hold a special Coming of Age ceremony after their youth complete a year-long period of learning and exploration. The most common ages for Coming of Age programs are 13-15. These ceremonies can include the following elements:

  • Youth reading statements of their personal values and beliefs
  • A time for reflections from parents, youth advisors, mentors, ministers, or religious educators
  • The presentation of small gifts to the youth, acknowleding their passage from childhood to middle adolescence.

Bridging Ceremonies

Congregations that have high school-aged youth, seniors or 17-18 year-olds, may conduct a bridging ceremony to mark their transition to adulthood. These ceremonies can include the following elements:

  • Workshops or meetings for youth to prepare them for bridging
  • Gifts given in the ceremony to the bridging youth
  • A time for reflections from the youth, their family, youth advisors, ministers, or religious educators

Coming of Age Handbook for Congregations

By Sarah Gibb Millspaugh

From inSpirit: The UU Book and Gift Shop

Comprehensive guidebook for religious educators of adolescents...

Buy This Book

A baby holding a white rose is surrounded by smiling adults at a UU child dedication.

Our Child Dedication Ceremonies celebrate new life.

A Unitarian Universalist minister shares a laugh with a couple during their wedding ceremony.

Our custom-made weddings are for people of all sexual orientations.

A group of mourners walks across a cemetery green.

Our memorial services and funerals reflect the unique personality of the deceased.