Worship & Celebrations
This child’s dedication was celebrated during a regular Sunday morning service. It was adapted to honor and include the extended family, and also to include a tradition in this particular congregation in which each child receives a quilt made by women of the church.
Dedication for Jaida Rashelle
December 5, 2010
Unitarian Universalist Church of Greater Bridgeport
Rev. Julie-Ann Silberman-Bunn
Invite Immediate Family Forward:
When parents dedicate their children in the liberal church, they are neither seeking to cleanse them of some imaginary guilt nor attempting to make them a part of an elect and favored few. Rather, in dedicating a child, we are recognizing that child as an individual personality; we are acknowledging the sanctity of his or her own selfhood; and we are pledging that child our aid, that the high and noble hopes that lie in her or him may find their fulfillment.
We all have a part in this act, and a responsibility to all children. As we today with joy accept this child into our fellowship of loving care, may we rededicate ourselves to active concern for all who are helpless, to setting a good example for those whose ways and habits are yet to be established, and to creating a world, and here a family of faith, where children may grow into rich and full lives.
Dena and Dominic, your responsibility is first and greatest. Will you affirm that your child is and has been since the day of her birth a sacred trust? Will you dedicate yourselves anew to that way of life, which will fill her heart with memories of gladness and a sense of the holiness of love and mercy as you did on the day of her birth? (we will)
I charge you, to continue the work you have already begun, to prepare her to be an independent adult, aware of the world as it is and as it ought to be, aware of the tragedy and injustice which are a part of it, but aware as well of the power of love to redeem if that love has courage as well as affection.
At this time I invite Jaida’s Grandparents and Aunt and Uncle to join us.
Each child needs as much love and support as they can get, and as much as they will love their parents they will always need other adults in their lives. As grandparents, and siblings of their parents you have a unique perspective to offer on Jaida’s parents as they were growing up, and some of the stories that they will never tell Jaida themselves. As you have done for Dom and Dena, your job remains as it has always been to reinforce the importance of family for Jaida, but also to remind her that once her parents were children too. Jaida will need each of you for the special love that only you can share, she will need you for the stories that only you can tell. She will need you to tell her how much she is or isn’t like her mother or father depending on the situation, and we will count on you to know which is which.
In gratitude for all you have done so far to shape Dena and Dom, into wonderful and loving adults who can nurture and support their daughter we offer you these flowers. Flowers are symbolic in our faith as the Unitarian Bishop of Czechoslovakia once said a congregation is like the flowers along the road, when alone they are lovely and unique, together they create a grand bouquet. We honor that each of you is a unique flower and as Jaida’s family you create a beautiful bouquet as well.
Both Jaida and her parents are blessed to have extended family who love and care for them. Life is not always smooth and to have people who are available to love us unconditionally is a gift that you are able to provide to your family.
Congregation: Dominic and Dena have come this morning before this religious community to dedicate their daughter. They have pledged themselves to love and care for their child. But those who care must also be cared for. Those who give love need love in return. Therefore, I call upon you, the congregation, to pledge your support of Dena and Dominic as they engage in the sometimes joyful, sometimes agonizing, process of being a parent.
Please stand and join with me in responsive reading #714
Dena, has some words she would like to share with Jaida before this gathered community. Dena….
A name has power. It is the sign of the person. It will represent that person to us. Her life and character will be symbolized by her name. Dena and Dom, what name is your Daughter’s full name?
Jaida Rashelle, with this flower, symbol of hope and life, I welcome you into this community. May you become known to us and we to you. We offer you this quilt that you may always know the comfort and security of family and community even when we are not with you., it is a symbol of the warmth our community has for you, we hope you will accept this quilt that you may always have a tangible reminder of the loving and all encompassing embrace of our community.
Dena and Dominic, this is a certificate of dedication for your records. Jaida, Dena and Dom, we offer to each of you, ourselves, our faith, our hope, and our love and hope you will continue to choose to be part of this community over the years to come.
I close this dedication with these words of prayerful meditation: For the gift of childhood, whose innocence and laughter keep the world young, we all rejoice and give thanks. May this life, which we have welcomed into our community of ideals and friendship, receive abundantly the blessings of health, love, knowledge, and wisdom, and in turn give back richly to the common heritage which endures from generation to generation.
Let us say: So may it be! Amen