Sample Child Dedication Service

Opening Words

Holy and beautiful is the occasion which brings us together today in the presence of Love. We gather to dedicate this child, Margot Jandilee Ramos-Richards, into this faith we hold so dear, and to the ideals of truth, beauty, and goodness.

Unitarian Universalists believe that every child brings new life and hope into the world. We set aside a special time, called simply the Ceremony of Dedication, for the community to bless the child and celebrate the blessing of this gift of life. The ceremony does not wash away sins; we believe that life is inherently sacred and that it begins in innocence. When we dedicate a child we acknowledge the truth that each child’s life is sacred and hold that truth in the light of our faith.


Singing the Living Tradition #446, “To the Four Directions”


Morning Has Broken



This celebration also is an occasion when Noni and Michael want to make themselves aware of their properrole as parents. This, they feel, is expressed well in the words of the prophet, Kahlil Gibran.

… And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, speak to us of Children. And he said: Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you. And though they are with you yet they belong not to you. You may give them your love but not your thoughts, for they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit not even in your dreams. You are simply the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.


We hold today the universal hope that every child will receive love and affection, guidance and nurture, and that each may grow into the fullness of the promise of life. Yet on this occasion we also lift up our particular hope for this child’s well being, for Margot’s growing in life and strength of faith, which she will discover herself and with our guidance.

Rev. Linda Peebles once wrote that “Mindful that such love is an honor and a responsibility, in a UU ceremony of dedication,

we give witness to our values and our commitment to be a religious community that stands on the side of love for all creation,

we form a covenant with the family to support them and to honor and recognize the preciousness of the child as the gift of life, entrusted to the care of both family and community,

we affirm the dignity and individuality of the child, as we proclaim the child’s unique place in the community of humankind.”

We therefore gather this afternoon to welcome in love Margot Jandilee Ramos-Richards to this fellowship of life that we share.  As we work to create a world filled increasingly with love, freedom, and truth, in this rite of Dedication we include the hope that Margot’s thoughts and actions in life will pass on to the future our heritage of freedom, service, and love, which the child receives from us.

Together we will bless Margo today,

this new life that has become part of our world.

We gather today to name this child.

To call a thing by name is to give it power, and so today we shall give this child a gift.

We will welcome her into our hearts and lives and bless her with a name of her own.

A name is very important:

– it is our first inkling of difference and identity

– it is the first gift that parents give their child

– while others may share a name, it is the individual that shapes it to reflect their emerging character.

Noni and Michael have been very intentional about the name they chose for their daughter. They told me that names become a powerful part of who we are, and in the name Margot they hear the qualities of humility, assertiveness, power and independence. In the name Jandilee they found a unique middle name, something “off the beaten path, and something that connects Margot with an important part of her culture. If Margo is to be a claim of empowerment, Jandilee is her poet’s name.

As the poet Walt Whitman said, ” It is not to diffuse you that you were born of your mother and father, it is to identify you. It is not that you should be undecided, but that you should be Decided, Something long preparing and formless is arrived and form’d In you. You are henceforth secure, whatever comes or goes.”

And in the words of our own prophet Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margo, “Let thy soul be open and thine eyes will reveal to thee beauty Everywhere.”

The Parents’ Oath

This is Noni’s and Michael’s chance to dedicate themselves and bind themselves to their child, and swear an oath to the new baby. It is their opportunity to tell the child that they will protect her, love her, honor her, and raise her to the best of their abilities.

To be a parent is to love and nurture,

to lead a child to be a good person.

It is to guide them along the right path and to both teach them and learn from them.

It is to rein them in, and to give them wings.

It is to smile at their joy, and weep at their pain.

It is to walk beside them, and then one day allow them to walk alone.

To be a parent is a great gift we have given ourselves.

and the greatest responsibility we shall ever have.

Michael and Noni, as parents of this child, do you promise to offer to Margot your understanding of the knowledge, reverence, and love of  creation, and your understanding of God, which will guide hers? Will you teach her to live for others and not for herself alone; to do good to all, to abhor every form of falsehood, and to love what is just and honest, pure and true?  If so, say “we will.”

(The parents reply: We will.)

Sibling’s Oath   

Kelsey and Seth, you have an opportunity this afternoon to affirm you commitment to be good role models for your sister Margo. In your lives you have the unique opportunity to help shape and guide her, to be the kind of people who she can look up to. So I ask you both, are you willing to teach Margot what you know of the world, to keep her from harm as you are able, and, perhaps most importantly, to play with her and to share your joy of the world with her?

Presentation of the Godparents

Melissa and Christian, you stand beside Noni and Michael, for the love of this child, Margo, and have been chosen as her godparents.

As godparents your chosen task is to love and nurture,

to show guidance and counsel to Margot.

You are a connection for her to community

It is to help the child make choices

should she need assistance.

It is to be a second mother and father

and to be there when called upon.

Do you choose these responsibilities with all your heart and soul?

Community Blessing of the child

“There are two lasting bequests we can give our children: one is roots, the other, wings.”  As members of our community, will you now pledge to encourage this child to play on the earth with joy and walk gently on this land of ours, well-rooted in herself, in her family, in her church, and in her community?  And will you give her the freedom and support she needs to let her  imaginations and dreams fly, so that she may create works of art and a future of peace and justice?  If so, please answer:  We will.

(The Congregation replies: We will)

Child Dedication

Unitarian Universalist dedications are a little different than baptisms. We dedicate our children to their own religious and spiritual lives, guided and guarded by ours, and to their Unitarian Universalist church community in which we hope they will grow and develop.  We dedicate them to the stream of life and acknowledge their presence by speaking their name and praying over their young lives.

This ceremony is unique to, and is unique as, the child we celebrate today—and so we offer this ritual of fire, air, earth and water to symbolize the connections to creation with which Margot enters this world, a connection that will be shaped and guided by her parents, godparents, family and community.

[Minister takes the child if able.]

Margot Jandilee,  I dedicate you into the community of Unitarian Universalism, as inspired by the teachings of great prophets and the world’s wisdom traditions, and I dedicate you to the service of truth and the love of God.

I dedicate you with fire, that the passion of your soul be a warmth to others and that your actions with guided with the fire of commitment.

I dedicated you with air, so that the spirit that guides our hearts be with you throughout your life.

I dedicate you with earth, represented by this flower, that you always be grounded in your connection with creation and this bluegreen earth that is our home.

I dedicate you with water, which represents your innocence, and I pray that your purity will mature into delight, curiosity, and strength as you grow.

Margot Jandilee, by this name you have been called and to it you have responded.  It is our hope that you will wear your name in honor and in peace and in courage throughout your life, and that all others will come to look upon your name and find it blessed.  May your life unfold in beauty, as the bud holds the promise of full and fragrant bloom.


Receive, O Mystery, the words of our heart:

Let Life always be kind to this child.

But when it is not,

May her knowledge of sorrow be tempered with joy.

May her fear be well-balanced by courage and strength.

May the sight of injustice spur her to just actions.

May her failures be teachers, that her spirit may grow,

May she be joyful and gentle and kind–   Then her life will be full, and life will be good.

Each night a child is born is a holy night— 
A time for singing 
A time for wondering, 
A time for worshipping. 
—Sophia Lyon Fahs

So may it be, amen.

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