Rites of Passage
Rites of passage mark significant transitions in our lives. They give us space to feel the breadth and depth of emotion during times of great change. In our congregation there are certain rites of passage we honor in our worship services. Congregational support and participation during these times give a sense of support to our children and youth and remind them that they are not alone, but are ever supported by our Unitarian Universalist community.
Child Dedication Ceremonies
Child dedications are typically for infants and toddlers, though some families may wish to have a dedication for a child of any age to mark the transition of the family joining the Unitarian Universalist faith.
Our child dedications are conducted during our Sunday morning worship services. We encourage parents to invite god-parents and other family members to this significant moment in their child’s religious life.
If you are interested in a child dedication please speak to Starr or Rev. Jude.
While a questioning spirit is part of our faith, our children need to learn who Unitarian Universalists are, what we believe, and how we act on our faith. Growing UUP teaches the history of our chalice, guides children through their own examination of our principles, and shares information about how the Fellowship works. What IS a minister? Why do we light prayer candles? Why do we covenant?
Growing UUp is taught by a team of volunteer RE leaders as well as our Director of Religious Education.
We offer this course each year for 2nd graders and sometimes allow for older children who have not already completed the course to join in.
Coming of Age Ceremonies
After completion of the Coming of Age program there is a ceremony and worship services to welcome these young people into their first steps toward young adulthood. It is a significant moment for our young people to separate from childhood and be viewed as a young adult by the congregation. It is also a significant moment for parents who often have a mix of emotions regarding this transition for their youth.
The most common ages for Coming of Age programs are 13-15. These ceremonies can often 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, acknowledging their passage from childhood to middle adolescence.
Another big milestone is the graduation of our high school seniors. The bridging program is individually tailored for each youth. We encourage youth to reach out to the Director of Religious Education as early as sophomore year but no later than January of their graduating year. Our program guides youth in creating meaningful ways to live their UU life of faith both within the congregation and in the wider world. The program includes areas for leadership development, worship, community service, and social justice. Bridgers meet regularly with an assigned mentor to discuss their projects as well as the spiritual and emotional challenges of bridging into adulthood.
We conduct a bridging ceremony to mark their transition to adulthood.These ceremonies can include the following elements:
- Workshops or meetings 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