We hold the understanding of two people to be recognized as a couple to be a serious endeavour.
We are inclusive, rather than exclusive. Our ceremonies range from the Humanistic to the Spiritual, according to the beliefs and desires of the participants, and are free of all religious dogma.
A Unitarian marriage ceremony, based as it is upon the personal beliefs of the participants rather than on institutional forms, provides a suitable meeting place for people coming from different religious, ethnic and cultural traditions.
Chaplain Betty Marsh
|As a Unitarian Lay Chaplain, my goal is to co-create ceremonies which express the deepest intentions of the people involved.|
It is important for us to reflect the highest values which the participants hold.Our ceremonies are individually designed and include marriages, commitment ceremonies for gays and lesbians, baby naming, funerals and memorials. We have also designed ceremonies for other important life events, such as adoptions, coming of age, and divorce.
Though in this age of mobility, families are far more scattered than once was the case, whenever possible it is desirable that a couple exchange their vows in the presence of family and friends. We provide materials from which the couple may select, adapt and construct a mutually meaningful service.
Unitarian Services of Union
With the same commitment and dedication as the marriage services described above, Services of Union are designed for same sex couples who wish to make a public declaration of their wish to be recognized and live as a couple.
Unitarian Child / Infant Naming or Dedication
Foremost a joyful recognition and welcoming of a new individual into the human community, free of any religious restrictions, we also recognize that as adults in a child's life, we bear great responsibility to that child. A Unitarian dedication ceremony speaks to the dedication of the adults in a child's life and is a public expression of that commitment. In creating a dedication ceremony the Lay Chaplain works with the parents and often includes recognition of other important adults in the child's life.
Unitarian Memorial and Funeral Services
A memorial or funeral service in the Unitarian tradition is a celebration of the life that has ended. There is a profound recognition of the solemnity of the occasion and the need for the grief to be expressed. We consider it important that the family, friends and loved ones of a deceased person have an opportunity to recognize the gift that this person was to them. The Lay Chaplain will meet with the family and create a ceremony which incorporates readings, music and ritual that are relevant to the wishes of the deceased and the family.
Other Rites of Passage
Many people these days want to include some kind of ceremony in their significant life passages. A Lay Chaplain is willing to work with individuals to create a memorable service for events, such as adoption, reaffirming vows, dissolution of a relationship, coming of age, graduation or retirement.
People need not be members of our Unitarian Fellowship, nor Unitarians, to arrange for any of the above services. They also need not abandon their personal faith. While these rites of passage are free for members of our Unitarian Fellowship, there is a fee for non-members.
A Unitarian Lay Chaplain is a layperson recognized by the governing Canadian Unitarian Council and by his or her congregation as an officiate for Rites of Passage. A Lay Chaplain receives training from the Canadian Unitarian Council and within the congregation. Unitarian Lay Chaplains are licensed by the Province of British Columbia to perform marriages.
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