Rites of Passage
Nurture each other in our spiritual jouneys...
The dedication of babies and children, performed by the minister, usually takes place during a Sunday family service. The ceremony includes a promise from the congregation to the child(ren) and parents, a promise from the children of the congregation and a promise from the parents and others.
Coming of Age
This program is for ninth graders enrolled in the Religious Education program. The main goal is to expose the youth to elements of worship and spirituality, to encourage them to get to know an adult member of the congregation, to help them learn about our UU faith, and to recognize the beginning of the transition to adulthood. The culmination of the program is a special service where students share personal credos (or faith statements) as prepared individually, and supported by mentors and staff.
The Bridging Ceremony celebrates the transition of our youth from their high school experience into young adulthood. The bridge has two sides: one of childhood and adolescence; one of the adult frontier full of boundless opportunities and new challenges. The adult members stand and welcome the youth with open arms, open minds prepared to mentor and learn from the youth, and open hearts prepared to share life together.
UU ceremonies for these rites of passage are sacred but not tied necessarily to any particular religious tradition. The couple being joined together chooses the readings and the forms of the vows and rituals involved. Often, particulary in a mixed union, the couple can each incorporate elements of their own ethnic or religious tradition to create a service that is personally significant for them. Community Unitarian Church supports same sex marriage, now legal in New York.
We cannot know what begins when a person’s physical life ends – we are not meant to know whether the afterlife is simply a recycling of elements, whether there is a haven for the soul, whether life goes on in reincarnation – the world of religion and the world of the imagination have given us as many images as there are people to hold opinions on the matter. But Unitarian Universalists can all agree on one aspect of on-going life, of life everlasting, and that is the idea that family and friends contribute to the everlasting life of a beloved soul by carrying memories with us into the future. We can all participate in the on-going life of a loved one by making ourselves more aware of the ways that he or she is with us still in our thoughts, in our ideas and in our actions.
Our memorial services are truly dedicated to the memory of the one who has died. The services contain poetry and music and time for meditation or prayer. We encourage the family and friends to speak if they wish, and a display of pictures is often present in the sanctuary.
This is a formal process culminating in a ceremony conducted for the purpose of formally welcoming a candidate for ministry into service as a minister.