Activity time: 15 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Copy of the liturgy for a child dedication service at your congregation
- Optional: Roses (plastic or real), bowls for water, chalice candles, or other items used in child dedication services at your congregation
- Baby dolls, one for each participant
Preparation for Activity
- Obtain from your director of religious education or your minister one or more versions of a child dedication service held at your congregation.
- Read the child dedication service liturgy.
- Place roses, bowls, chalice candles or other items that your congregation typically uses during child dedication services in an area you will use for role-playing.
- Collect baby dolls, both male and female and of multicultural heritage, and appropriate clothing. Place the baby dolls in the area you will use for role-playing.
Description of Activity
Explain to the children that in Unitarian Universalist congregations, many families like to hold a ceremony for each child. You may tell them, in your own words and as is appropriate for your congregation:
A child dedication ceremony gives the people in the congregation a chance to meet each child, learn the child's name, and promise that they will welcome the child into the faith community and help provide religious education for the child.
Ask if the children have seen a child dedication service at your congregation. Some may know about their own child dedication services, and some who were dedicated as older children may remember theirs. If you are aware of recent child dedications the children might know about, mention the names of the children and their families. Based on the child dedication liturgy you have read and your other experiences, describe what happens during a child dedication service and how these services fit into worship at your congregation.
Invite the children to choose baby dolls and role play that they are a baby's parents, holding a child dedication service. You may wish to assign baby dolls to pairs or triads of children, inviting one or two children to act as the child's parents and another to act as the minister. Talk with the children as they play. Encourage them to think about what kind of child dedication service they would like theirs to be. You can guide them to articulate how they might wish the faith community would welcome and care about the baby, as it grows up to be a child and then an adult.
Ask for some volunteers to role play a child dedication service at the labyrinth. Make sure you leave enough time for all the children who want to do so to role play the service.