Activity time: 15 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Photos and memorabilia from child dedications in your congregation
Preparation for Activity
- Invite one or two families to tell the group about their child dedications. If inviting two families, one should have dedicated an older child and/or represent another diversity; seek out families with two moms, two dads, a single parent, or grandparents or other relatives raising children; families with multicultural ethnicities; and/or families whose dedication happened at another congregation, even in another faith.
- Offer visiting families these questions to help them prepare a five-minute or shorter presentation:
- Why did they decide to have a child dedicated?
- How old was the child? Was the child involved in the decision or the planning?
- Did the family help shape the ritual or did they follow a traditional or suggested ritual?
- Who was present? Who had a part in the ritual?
- What part did the congregation play? Refer to the Order of Service, if appropriate.
- Can they describe to what or whom they wished to dedicate their child?
- Did they and/or others, perhaps the congregation, dedicate themselves to the child? In what way?
- What did this ritual mean to them as UUs? As a family?
- Confirm the families' attendance during the the workshop.
- Gather items from child dedications to show the children: photos, an Order of Service, a Child Dedication certificate, or flowers or a chalice such as those used in child dedication ceremonies in your congregation. Include items the visiting families wish to bring, but, it is fine to have items from other families' child dedications; these are just examples.
Description of Activity
Participants learn how families in the congregation have honored new life and new beginnings with a child dedication ceremony.
Say, in these words or your own:
Our group has talked about how we use rituals as signs of our faith. In our UU worship services, we have rituals to symbolize the opening and closings of our special worship time and space, rituals that show we support each other in good times and bad, and rituals that celebrate our common human experiences. Some rituals are associated with holidays. Others mark important changes, like birth, death, and becoming an adult.
Starting a new life is an important transition. As UUs, we sometimes use a ritual to honor new life and new beginnings, such as births and adoptions. A UU child dedication ritual is a sign of our reverence for life, our welcome of a new person, and our hope for the future of the world.
Some of you may have been dedicated in this UU congregation or in another one; some of you may not. It is not required in our faith that children be dedicated. It a choice some families make as a sign of their UU faith. As you already know, one way to show faith is not better than another.
Introduce the guest families. Facilitate five-minute or shorter presentations, which may include passing around or showing the group items you and the families have brought. Before guests speak, let children know they may raise a hand to ask a question during the presentation-or, instruct them to remember their questions for after each speaker has finished.
Facilitate questions and answers and make sure the children have a chance to examine the mementoes families have brought.
Thank the guests and congratulate the children on giving a warm reception.