A blessing with water, given to babies, children, and adults is a religious ritual shared by almost every faith tradition going back as long as recorded human history. Some traditions call this a baptism, christening, or naming ceremony. In Unitarian Universalist congregations, this blessing is most commonly known as a “child dedication.”

A child dedication is meant to be a community celebration of the arrival of a new life into the world. During this ritual, we celebrate the baby or child’s name, declare our support for the parents, and affirm our commitment to help raise each child in our midst with mindful attention, compassion, and love.

We dedicate babies because we believe that every new child deserves to be officially welcomed to this life. Theologically, we believe that each person is born whole and beloved, with the world of possibilities open before them.

Follen’s minister, Rev. Claire Feingold Thoryn, creates child dedications with an eye to the family’s theological and religious beliefs, keeping in mind the values, principles, and covenants that Unitarian Universalists share. This ritual is generally reserved for Follen members and friends because it receives its meaning and significance from the religious community that is dedicating itself to the child’s spiritual upbringing. The congregation is called to promise that we will do our part in supporting the child’s life and learning, and we will support the parents in their efforts to bring the child up according to their own deepest beliefs and values.

Child dedications are usually done near the beginning of a regular, Sunday morning church service.

If you are interested in having your child be dedicated or baptized, please contact Rev. Claire at minister@follen.org.