The Unitarian way of marking the chapters of our lives
Welcoming a Birth
In the lives of all human beings there are important events which call for a celebration. Since the earliest days of human communities the birth of children has been celebrated by parents, families and friends. In religious communities this has usually taken the form of a ceremony that bestows a name upon the child and that also recognises that child's place in the community. Unitarians are not bound by religious rules and customs. We can devise a ceremony to suit the individual needs and wishes of the parents and family of the child. Parents are welcome to help in planning it. The ceremony may be called a Naming Service or a Welcoming although other names may be used such as a Dedication, Blessing, Thanksgiving or Baptism. Whichever name is chosen, what is important for Unitarians is the commitment by the community as well as the parents – to offer the child love and support. To find out more, please Contact Us.
Honouring Marriage and Civil Partnership
Lewisham Unitarians is licensed to conduct weddings, including same sex weddings, and Civil Partnership ceremonies. Unitarians emphasise that marriage is a freely chosen act by two individuals in relation to their communities and their own ideas about spiritual meaning, rather than an act of conformity to religious codes.
Recent years have seen an explosion in the popularity of weddings that don’t follow the old choice between registry office or parish church. It is now possible to be married in a number of sites, including stately homes and castles. But many people feel that a secular service in one of the new sites lacks a spiritual dimension, while the ancient rites of many mainstream churches are too restrictive and not reflective of the personally held beliefs of the participants. That’s why a Unitarian service is becoming such a popular way to celebrate this important act.
The worship leader will assist in constructing a meaningful form for the ceremony, encouraging the participants to choose their own music, readings and vows. These may come from many religious traditions or from none. Readings from Walt Whitman or Kahlil Gibran might replace verses from the Bible or the Koran. There are two short phrases which the state requires to be used in each ceremony, but all other elements are open to discussion. If the couple wish, suggestions and guidance from the worship leader are available. To find out more, please Contact Us.
Celebrating a life
Marking the end of a life is an important ritual and our minister can help plan service which commemorates and celebrate's the life of your loved one. Unitarian funeral and memorial services allow the bereaved family to choose elements that are most appropriate, including readings and music that reflect the person’s life and interests. Most Unitarian officiants will fit in with the wishes of the deceased and may exclude what many see as traditional religious language, if this is appropriate. We start where people are and try to reflect the person’s life rather than speculating on any unknown future. To find out more, please Contact Us.