Why have a ceremony for your child?
A Unitarian child-naming ceremony gives parents the opportunity to create a way of welcoming their new child into their family and community. At Brighton Unitarian Church we work with parents to create a child-naming that is beautiful and meaningful.
Unitarians are not bound by religious dogma, and this means we can create celebrations and rites for a wide range of families. Our celebrant will work with parents to put together a rite that celebrates the birth of a child or an adoption.
We do not generally call our ceremonies ‘christenings’ but this does not make them any less sacred or significant. What is important for Unitarians is the commitment of parents to their child, and the love they bring to this.
Who can have such a ceremony?
Anyone is welcome to request a Unitarian child naming. We do not ask parents to affirm anything they do not believe and we do not expect parents to justify their lifestyle or home life to us. Modern families take many forms and everyone is welcome.
Who performs the ceremony?
We have a team of celebrants who are used to leading services and other rites of passage in our Church.
What age should the child be?
Usually the child will be a few months old but this does not have to be so. A child may be brought for a celebration of birth or adoption at any age.
We are happy to design ceremonies to welcome adopted children into their new families. We can do the same for older children –who can be involved in creating their own ceremony.
Are godparents required?
Godparents are not required as part of our child-naming ceremonies but may be included. Some parents choose to call godparents sponsors or supporters. All those in attendance have a role to play in that they represent the wider support of the community.
What happens in the ceremony?
This depends on the parents or guardians and our celebrant. The result will be a ceremony drawing on the parents’ values and their sense of what is sacred to them. Readings, prayers and music can be drawn from a range of sources and many ceremonies will include candle lighting. Most parents want the ceremony to represent their hopes and dreams for their child.
For parents who belong to different religious traditions, readings from each of their faiths can be integrated.