Ministry to Families with New Children

Our congregation welcomes your children when they join your family—and ours.  We are here to support you through the challenges and celebrate the joys of this special time in the life of your family.

Blessingways / Parent Blessings.

Many cultures have ceremonies to mark the imminent arrival of a child, focusing on childbirth’s power as a rite of passage.  The Navajo tradition calls it a Blessingway; another name is a Mother Blessing or Parent Blessing.  Typically, the Parent Blessings we celebrate are private rituals, created for the parent(s) and a small circle of family and friends, and celebrated either in a room of the church or in the family’s home.

At them, we invite words of wisdom and small symbolic gifts to welcome the child, wish for an easy birth, and recognize the magnitude and joy of the occasion.

When you let the ministers know that you are expecting a child, please tell us if you are interested in a Parent Blessing.  We will work with you to plan a ritual that honors this transition in the way that fits your beliefs and hopes.

Baby Café

When you have a new member of your family, the daily routine can become a serious challenge!  Our Caring Network organizes a “Baby Café” for any family in our midst who has a child.  Members of the congregation bring dinner to your home for three weeks, and can also contribute daily chores such as child care, shopping, and cleaning, to ease your transition to life with a new child.  A conversation with a minister or an email to the Caring Network will give us a heads-up.  The coordinator will contact you to find out your needs and arrange a schedule that will be best for you. 

Child Dedications

We celebrate most dedications on Easter Sunday and the Sunday closest to the Winter Solstice.  Usually a few children are welcomed and blessed at the same service, creating one of the most joyful festivities of our church year.  Dedications are different than baptisms, because in the Unitarian Universalist tradition, a child does not need to be purified of original sin.  Instead, they are brief rituals of welcome and celebration during which the parents give the child his or her name.  The congregation dedicates itself to supporting the family in raising their child to know love, wonder, and ethical principles. 

We remind families of the upcoming dedication ceremonies via the Bulletin, order of service, and “Announce” e-list several weeks before each of these services.  If you would like your child to be included, please contact one of the ministers. 

Here is one recent dedication

Adoption Rituals

Many children also come into the life of our congregation by fostering and adoption.  We celebrate their arrival with child dedications and Baby Café, just as with birth children.  We can also create a ritual specially suited to the adoption of a child—as with a Blessingway, we will create it together with you to express your hopes at this special time.

Pastoral Care

Finally, we recognize that changes in one’s family can be difficult as well as joyous and longed-for.  Fertility and family planning issues, miscarriage, stillbirth, and parenting questions are all good things to talk about with your ministers.  We hope you’ll reach out to us if you are facing any of these challenges.

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