UUA Green Sanctuary UUA Welcoming Congregation

Weddings, Unions, Child Dedications and Memorial Services

Ephraim & Joel

Wedding services are a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the love of two individuals who have chosen to come together in marriage.

Because of our strong respect for each person's beliefs and values, each wedding is custom-crafted with a couple to reflect their personalities and relationship. This respect and our flexibility enable Unitarian Universalist ministers to be skilled officiants for interfaith weddings, atheist weddings, and weddings for those with Unitarian Universalism's diverse beliefs.

In addition to blessing heterosexual unions, Unitarian Universalist congregations and ministers joyfully bless same-sex marriages. Unitarian Universalists affirm the inherent worth and dignity of all people and have a long history of promoting equal rights of people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ).

Rather than holding Christian-style baptisms or christenings, most Unitarian Universalist congregations have child dedication ceremonies for infants and children.

In the Unitarian Universalist tradition, children are usually formally named and welcomed into the religious community in a ceremony known as a "child dedication." The child dedication comes primarily from our Universalist heritage; as early as 1770, Universalist John Murray saw no justification for baptising babies, and instead chose to create a naming ceremony in which the congregation dedicated children to the highest ideals. By the 19th C., midwestern Unitarians were combining flower ceremonies with what they called "christenings"; although some Unitarians were also saying they "dedicated" children. In the late 20th C., the Unitarians and Universalists joined forces, and many Unitarian Universalists felt no need to mention God in their naming ceremonies.

Child dedications have now taken on several interrelated meanings:

  • We welcome children into the world, and into the religious community, by formally giving them their name
  • We dedicate children to the highest ideals of life
  • The congregation dedicates itself to supporting the parents/guardians and the child/ren, as the child/ren grows up
  • We rededicate ourselves to creating a more sane and just world, a world in which all children are wlecomed and may thrive.

Child dedication ceremonies are usually crafted by the parents, the congregation's minister, and religious educator working closely together. Many will include the following elements:

  • A blessing for the new life of the child
  • An expression of the parent or parents' hopes for the child
  • A promise by the congregation to support and nurture the child
Memorial Service

Services to honor loved ones who have passed on are often very personal occasions. In Unitarian Universalist congregations, these services are developed by the family of the deceased and the presiding minister to specially honor the memory of that individual. The service might include the following elements:

  • A eulogy
  • Poems and other readings
  • Prayer or meditation
  • A time to remember the deceased with stories and memories
  • Hymn singing or other music
  • A time for personal reflection

The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Clinton is available for special ceremonies marking life's milestones such as weddings, same-sex marriages in accordance with Iowa law, civil unions, child dedications and memorial services. Many people are looking for a service that is spiritual, but one that is not bound to traditional church doctrine. You are free to provide your own musicians or music, including use of our piano and sound system. You are welcome to use a minister of your choice or our officiate. The church office keeps a list of community ministers who would be happy to work with families to help celebrate or commemorate major life passages.

When you are ready for a tour of the building and would like to discuss your plans, contact Linda Foster at 563-259-1359. Please refer to Renting the Church Building for more information.