Welcoming the Ancestors

a pair of hands, palms facing out, as if raised in praise or invocation

The ritual of welcoming and honoring ancestors is an ancient spiritual practice found in many cultures and traditions. Thus we begin this ceremony with paying tribute and expressing gratitude to our ancestors.

From our histories our ancestors call to us, asking “whence we come, and how and whither?” We are grateful for their gifts, their lessons, and their challenge; calling us into accountability and responsibility to fulfill their hopes and aspirations, for “What they dreamed be ours to do.”

We call on and invoke our parents, grandparents, aunties and uncles, our siblings, from across time and place, to be here with us.

We call on the early Unitarians and Universalists, lay people and ordained ministers, who brought our faith tradition to [State] and [Region].

We call on ancestors of [Congregation's Name] who built, grew, and dreamed this church and this community into being.

We call on those who represent peoples of [City]: those who strove to build beloved community, representing diverse cultures and traditions, including the indigenous peoples of different tribes.

We call upon our activist ancestors – those who struggled for justice, freedom and liberation of all people – who challenge us to “honor the fullness of each and every human being.”
We especially lift up those who battled the racism and oppression right here in [City],
which is still alive today; they ask us to join the on-going struggle to make this city whole.

We call upon and honor the beauty of the earth, this particular part of creation that this church ministers in: the [local mountains, river, or geographical features],
our interconnectedness to nature and to the history of the land itself.

Now we ask you to call to your mind own particular ancestors – family roots, spiritual mentors and guides. Each one of us brings into the room our own network of people and places.

We have welcomed this great cloud of witnesses to join us for the Installation of Rev. [Name] – can you feel them?

May our ancestors guide us on our way.
May they bless this space and time, and the work we are about to do.
Please everyone join us in saying, “Ancestors, be with us.”

Ancestors, be with us.