My Children Are, Like, So Dedicated

I know I have written before about our discovery of 2nd Unitarian Universalist Church here in Chicago. You know, the wonderful, social justice-minded community that has welcomed my atheist husband and myself with open arms.

Well, after an orientation meeting a couple weeks ago that left us feeling very comfortable with the whole thing, Matt and I took the plunge last week and became actual members. We did this just in the nick of time, because today was the semi-annual Child Dedication Ceremony at 2U. Unitarians don’t take part in baptism – there is no original sin in our babies! – but we do have a special ritual that brings new children into the community, celebrating them as individuals who contribute to the life of the church. On this Sunday, all children are invited to stay throughout the service; there is music and also stories that appeal to all ages, and no one minds the restless noise of the children. My dear friend Cara sang in the choir – and did a beautiful solo today, no less – and Matt’s parents joined us, making the morning all the more special. (Photos by Pops here.)

Along with two other families, we were called up partway through the service. Each of our children’s names were spoken and a blessing was bestowed upon them by our minister. They were each given a white rose, a symbol of their opening and unfolding lives. As parents, we were asked to share our wishes for the children. Matt and I decided to write a wish for both children, and Matt read it. Ours went like this:

Baxter and Lyle, our wish for you is that you will be curious and loving, and that you will always search for truth, say what you believe, and speak from the heart.

And really, what more could we ask for?


4 responses to “My Children Are, Like, So Dedicated

  1. This is wonderful! I have struggled a bit with the issue of religious, baptism, etc., since having children. C. is an atheist, I’m agnostic, but my father and sister are Lutheran (ELCA, the relatively liberal kind) pastors, and our best friends in town here belong to what sounds like a lovely, loving Lutheran church that invites interested new families to a picnic every fall. All our friends have baptized their babies, even those who don’t go to church regularly. We have not, but in some ways the ritual is such a nice idea. And yet, if you don’t (fully?) believe, how can and why would you baptize? I like this idea better. Maybe we should look into the Unitarian church here in town! (I am speaking only for myself here; C. has zero interest in church of any sort. And I have to admit, after 20 years of not getting dressed up early on Sunday a.m.’s to go anywhere, my lazy self is less than enthused about that piece of it…)

  2. Yes, it’s really nice to have the ritual without all that baggage! And I don’t know about the UU church in Northfield, but the one here is unbelievably casual – jeans and sweatshirts are fine – and although we go to the 10 AM service there’s one at 11:30, too…so it doesn’t make Sunday morning too stressful in the end! 😉

  3. Hi,

    I’m relatively new to reading your site … but you got me with the mention of UUism. My hubby and I are UUs, though, since having our twins we haven’t been much. I’ve been debating on doing the dedication. It seems like you felt it was worth it. I’m not that into our particular UU church, though, so I guess that is why I’m still not rushing to the minister to get this going. Anyway, congrats on the dedications. How old are you kiddos, by the way? Is there an age that you think it would be a good idea? So many questions … sorry. I’ll just read next time.

  4. Hi Shawn – welcome! I can see how if you aren’t currently too involved in your church you wouldn’t be in a hurry; that makes sense. The kids are 2.5 and 6.5. For us it made sense right now because we adults had just joined the church; I know it was more meaningful for my older son, he learned all about the ritual in Sunday School the week before and was really excited about doing it. But I think whenever it makes sense for you as a family is when it’s the time…spoken like a true Unitarian! 😉

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