Spiritual Humanist Officiant

pastor-dave.org
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Tie the Knot

with

Pastor Dave

(425) 954-KNOT (5668)
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This is also a time surround a new family member with the love of your family's support group.  It is a time for grandparents, aunts and uncles, siblings, cousins, family friends and neighbors,  to directly pledge to be there for your child in times of both trouble and joy.  It is also a time to name guardians, guideparents, or mentors who will be there to care for your child if you are unable to do so.

Pastor Dave's fees are the same for Child Naming ceremonies as for weddings.  Just replace the phrase "Tie the Knot" with "Name the Tot".  All of the services are still available including "Personalized Ceremony", "Full Rehearsal", and "Cindy's Simple Snapshots".  Of course some services aren't necessary such as "Witnesses for your Wedding" at this time we are including "Custom Ceremony" at no additional charge.
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Here are a few alternatives for a child naming ceremony.  Others are available if you would like more choices.  They can be used as they are, cut and pasted together, or used as a springboard for entirely new ideas.  A ceremony of this type can have many titles such as Baby Blessing, Baby Naming, Baby Welcoming, Child Naming, or Glistening.  While most standard ceremonies suggest a single child with a husband and wife as Parent1 and Parent2, these ceremonies can be easily adapted for multiple children, single parents, and same sex couples.  In most ceremonies one or more adults may be asked to be willing to stand in should the child’s parents not be able to parent the child.  Alternative titles for these adults include guideparents, mentors, and guardians.  Just choose the combination that you like the best.

Suggested structure for your ceremony.  There is no right or wrong way, or specific order in which you have to do things, but here is one way your ceremony could be organized –

1)    Opening words and greetings to those assembled.
2)    Acknowledge those who could not be with us.
3)    A reading about Humanity or a story about the importance of names.
4)    Welcome the child.
5)    Meaning of the chosen name.
6)    Name the child.
7)    Parents list their commitments to the child.
8)    Supporting Adults make their commitments.
9)    Grandparents, siblings or other relatives make their commitments.
10)    Water glistening or flower ritual.
11)    Presentation of gifts to the child.
12)    Statement about the future.
13)    Closing and thanks.


Pastor Dave works with families to put together a ceremony that they like.  One option available to families is the "Personalized Ceremony" ($100).  As with wedding ceremonies, Pastor Dave will sit down with you and spend time with you laying out your ceremony, and then really getting to know you and your family, about your relationship, your parenting plans, your extended family and support network, so that your ceremony can be truly personalized and unique.

Here are a few sample ceremonies:  (note ceremonies usually progress at about 100 words per minute)

Ceremony 1

Opening Words
"Welcome family and friends, today we are here to welcome CHILD NAME. There are many names given to the celebration of a child's birth. Yet all of them acknowledge the great gift that a child is to HIS/HER parents, to HIS/HER family, and to the world. Today's ceremony is not designed to ward off evil spirits or cleanse away original sin, but rather to celebrate HIM/HER as a new life. Today we are here to acknowledge that children are the greatest gift and most wondrous responsibility bestowed upon a family. A spirituality is something that cannot be chosen for a child. We cannot dedicate a child to particular path, because we each have our own path in life. There are cultures that believe every human being is born with the seed of who we are supposed to become deep within us. It is a parent's great obligation to nurture that seed and to accept that there will be a time to let go, understanding that the child is the only one with the ability to realize their own dreams. The desire to give a child the firmest foundation that we can is universal as is the awe and wonder that a couple feels as they see their child for the first time. Today we celebrate all these things and more, beginning with a prayer of gratitude and hope.

This family has blossomed with a new life,
May the gift of CHILD NAME’s presence bring joy and gladness to the hearts of all who love HIM/HER.
May HE/SHE be given wisdom and inspiration through all that the years will bring.
May HE/SHE find goodness in the simple pleasures of life and be rewarded with a life that is rich and full, in both the physical and spiritual context of its beauty
May CHILD NAME be prosperous in all ways.
May HE/SHE love well and be well loved through each passage and season,
May HE/SHE always be surrounded by the warmth of family and friends.
And may HIS/HER days be forever filled with love and happiness."

Naming
Names have always been a powerful part of our identity. They signify acceptance and belonging to a group or a family. PARENT1 and PARENT2 chose the name CHILD NAME because it was unique and beautiful. They also liked that it represents DESCRIBE MEANING AND/OR SIGNIFICANCE OF NAME.  And of course CHILD FAMILY NAME,  the family name that HE/SHE will share with HIS/HER parents.

The Parent's Vows
PARENT1 and PARENT2, the journey of parenthood is one of amazing beauty, this is clear just to look at you both. The love that radiates from and around you and your SON/DAUGHTER today shall change over the years. We gather here because it is our wish that CHILD NAME grow to be a PERSON who truly loves life. You most of all will be her guide on this journey. It is important to provide not only food and clothing to a child but also time and love and respect. So it is only right that this ceremony should include your promise to nurture your SON/DAUGHTER in all ways as HE/SHE grows. Therefore as a promise to HIM/HER and a reminder to yourselves as the years pass, I now ask you: Do you promise to keep the bonds between you strong, thereby providing CHILD NAME with a stable and loving home, giving HIM/HER a firm foundation, and a good example of what it means to be committed to one another in love and joy, through difficult and wonderful times as husband and wife, parents, partners, teachers and friends?"

Parents: "Yes."

Gift Ceremony
CHILD NAME comes from a wonderful family, with a rich and diverse heritage. Traditionally a child is given a gift at their blessing. It can be a Humanist Pendant, and Christian Cross, a Star of David, a Peace Symbol, a Compass, or anything to symbolize the spiritual journey. PARENT1 and PARENT2 thought that the Symbol of Infinity would be perfect for CHILD NAME. The infinity symbol not only represents HIS/HER parents unconditional, endless love for HIM/HER, but it is also to remind HIM/HER of the infinite, endless, possibilities that life will hold for HIM/HER. There is nothing out of HIS/HER reach, no dream to big. There are many paths to becoming a good person, with a strong internal moral compass and a joy of living. It is such an exciting time we live in where CHILD NAME is free to learn from and embrace all the spiritual principles that will help HIM/HER to someday become a strong, loving and compassionate and happy person. This is a journey that everyone of us is still on. But what a beautiful and life affirming message the Symbol of Infinity sends when it is given as a symbol of unconditional love and support. PARENT1 and PARENT2 will you place the pendant on your SON/DAUGHTER with love?

Parents place the necklace on CHILD NAME and kiss HIM/HER

To all assembled, PARENT1 and PARENT2 are proud to present CHILD FULL NAME.  Thank you all for coming, and your love and support.  Find the joy in life, and go in peace.

(adapted from the Church of Spiritual Humanism) (approx 700 words)

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Ceremony 2

Opening Words
I would like to welcome you to this special occasion, where we gather to celebrate the naming of this child, and to welcome this new person into our midst. We are here to give thanks for the gift of this healthy and happy human life, a miracle of love. We also gather here to honor the parents of this child, PARENT1 and PARENT2, and to witness their commitment to raising this special little person in a loving and nurturing home.

Greeting to Other Children
We are also here to honor this young person’s BROTHER/SISTER, SIBLING NAME, because for you, having a new BROTHER/SISTER in your life is not as easy as it seems, and sometimes it may seem like he/she comes first. We want you to know that you are very much loved by everyone here, and that we are all very proud of you for who you are.

We are all here because of our relationship with this family and with each other, for we are a community unto ourselves. We are the ones with whom they celebrate their momentous occasions in life, and who will be there for them when they are in need. We are their extended family and friends, and we honor their commitment to this new little life, a unique person who has changed, and will continue to change all of our lives forever.

Commitment of the Parents
When you become a parent, you are forced to leave your childhood behind. As parents, we look at our children and see ourselves. We see their potential, we feel their pain and we revel in their successes. It is our job as parents to allow our children the room to grow into the unique individuals that they are destined to be. This we can do, if we love them not for who we want them to be, but who they are.

Being a parent is a tremendous responsibility. It is through their relationship with you that our children will first learn about themselves. The interactions between a mother and a father, a husband and a wife provide the framework our children use to relate to the world.  It is through watching us that they will learn about men and women, communication, caring, respect, feelings, conflict resolution, and love.

The greatest act of love parents have to give their children is the love they express for one another.

Commitment of the Guideparents
Will MENTOR1 and MENTOR2 step forward? (Guide parents optional)

Do you accept the role of guide parents for this child? “We do”

To you, the Guideparents falls a very special charge. Will you help to nurture and support this child by providing love, guidance, respect for HIS/HER choices, friendship when in need, an ear for HIS/HER problems, and praise for HIS/HER achievements? “We do”

Commitment of the Parents
Will the parents of CHILD NAME step forward?

Will you promise to teach this child about life and love, to share with HIM/HER your thoughts and dreams? Will you raise HIM/HER with an unprejudiced view of life in all of its wonderful diversity? Do you promise to raise this child to the best of your abilities and instill in HIM/HER your strong sense of right and wrong, honor and respect for all life on this earth, and to foster patience and understanding and tolerance for others whose views might be different than your own? Will you promise to teach this child the value of caring for those weaker and less fortunate than yourselves, and a belief in the power of love and truth, integrity and fairness? “We will”

Today we bring before the universe a family greater in number by one, and friends and family who are united in your greatest gift; the gift of love. Love is the thread that unites this string of pearls that we call humanity, and we are grateful.
We are grateful for this happy and loving family who come here today to celebrate the birth of their SON/DAUGHTER, CHILD NAME, and to celebrate their commitment to raising HIM/HER in a loving and nurturing home. We celebrate the love and support that this family brings to THIS CHILD/THESE CHILDREN, and ask that your love guide them all in their journey ahead. Amen.

Naming of the Child
Will the parents please tell us, by what name this child will be known? Parents:”HE/SHE is to named CHILD FULL NAME.”

Having chosen the name of CHILD NAME, this name now goes along with this new person in HIS/HER new life story. It is our hope, CHILD NAME, that you will wear this name and live this story in honor, peace and with courage and that all who hear this name will look upon you as blessed. May the name CHILD NAME unite this child with all of his family roots, the triumphs of the past and the promises of the future.

Then with the blessing of the parents, and in the presence of all gathered here today, it is my honor to announce that this child is formally named CHILD FULL NAME.

CHILD NAME, I now present to you your father and your mother who are standing here before you, and to the world a new and larger loving family on this earth, and to unite you all as one enduring and extended family.

(adapted from The Church of Spiritual Humanism)(approx. 800 words)

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Ceremony 3

Establishment of Ceremony Space
A table is set up with a small bowl of water with rose petals in it, is sitting in the center. Six white candles are placed on the table. One represents the baby, 2 represent the parents, 2 represent the guideparents (or grandparents whatever tradition you have chosen). A source candle that represents Humanity , this candle is for members to light the ceremony candles from. You may choose to include other mementos on the table such as family photos, flowers, anything of special meaning to the family. Soft music in background may be played while guests arrive.

Opening Words
Welcome friends and family!  Today is a very special day for all of us. It is a day in which we celebrate the birth of this child CHILD NAME.

What you are all about to witness here today is truly a celebration of love, and of life! As CHILD NAME is here today, HE/SHE is new and perfect, with no need of fixing nor cleansing. HE/SHE is a gift. HIS/HER smile, HIS/HER laughter, and HIS/HER presence enrich the lives of all who know HIM/HER. Only __ months old, and already HE/SHE has made the world a better place.

This child is our future and represents the light of the world. PARENT1 and PARENT2 have honored all of you today by inviting you to not only witness this beautiful welcoming ceremony, but most importantly, to participate in the naming of this child.

Moment of Remembrance
This event is shared, if in a different way, by those who have passed beyond this life. Their roles in the lives of _____ and _____ are gratefully remembered. They acknowledge and honor the bloodlines, the history and the people who have all gone into the creation of CHILD NAME. They remember what it felt to be with these loved ones, and that through shared memories CHILD NAME may come to know HIS/HER ancestors and the lineage that is HIS/HER birthright.

Dedication of Name
In every birth, great is the wonder.
In every creation, we honor the new beginning.
In every child, is the joy of life.
In every hope, present is the potential.
In every transition, a new step into the future.
In every existence, unlimited are the possibilities.
In every love, there are also the tears.
In every life, there is a beginning of love.
There are three names by which a person is called:
One which her father and mother call her,
And one which people call her,
And one which she earns for herself.
The best one of these is the one that she earns for herself.

Naming of the Child
Names have always been a powerful part of our identity. They can represent the family to which we belong, or the part of the world from which we come and even some part of our personality.

As CHILD NAME grows HE/SHE will indeed claim HIS/HER own titles and names, yet PARENT1 and PARENT2 have given HIM/HER a name to begin her journey.”

What name have you chosen for your child?

Father:  “We have chosen the name ___” (You may want to say meaning of name)

Mother: “We have also chosen the name _____", (You may want to say meaning of name)

I congratulate you on the birth of your SON/DAUGHTER CHILD FULL NAME
Today we simply give thanks and celebrate all the many wonders CHILD NAME brings and do our best to remember, and be thankful for, the very special role that we all have in HIS/HER life.

Charge to Parents
CHILD NAME has honored you by choosing you as HIS/HER parents. Therefore, honor HIM/HER and remember that CHILD NAME is HIS/HER own being with HIS/HER own thoughts and feelings. HE/SHE is a child of the universe and has been given many gifts so that HE/SHE can light the way for the future. Therefore, it is important for you to support HIM/HER and protect HIM/HER, so that HIS/HER gifts may blossom and HE/SHE can make this world better than it was before.

Parental Promise
PARENT1 and PARENT2 will you promise to love, nurture, and support CHILD NAME, and to create a healthy environment so that HE/SHE may grow on HIS/HER specific path? If so, please answer “We will.”

Parents: We will

Do you promise to teach CHILD NAME not who or what, but how to love, to trust, to respect, and to dream so that HE/SHE may truly participate in the remarkable journey that is life?
 
Parents: Yes.
 
That you will value HIS/HER hopes and dreams and let HIM/HER know that HE/SHE will always be welcomed, accepted and loved for who HE/SHE is and for who HE/SHE is not?”
 
Parents: Yes.
 
To expose HIM/HER to a variety of experiences, showing HIM/HER the beginnings of many a wondrous journey, instilling in HIM/HER a sense of wonder and passion, and the knowledge that HE/SHE alone has the power to complete HIMSELF/HERSELF?

Parents: Yes.

To teach CHILD NAME right from wrong, to enable HIM/HER to make HIS/HER place in society as a kind and caring person?

Parents: Yes.

To teach CHILD NAME to celebrate diversity, never ever being aware of prejudice. Knowing no boundaries, to be loving of all that surrounds HIM/HER in HIS/HER life, and celebrate the similarities and differences in our world?
 
Parents: Yes.

To hold HIM/HER close in your hearts always, yet still encourage HIM/HER to stand on HIS/HER own when the time comes so that HE/SHE may discover HIS/HER own true self?

Parents: Yes.

Charge to Guideparents
A wonderful tradition in our culture on these occasions is the responsibility accepted by Guideparents.

Guideparents are those who promise they will be there to help the child grow spiritually. Theirs is a place in CHILD NAME's life almost like a personal protector. The promise is one of a physical presence in HIS/HER life as someone who HE/SHE knows will always be standing quietly behind HIM/HER, encouraging HIM/HER to make good choices, and sharing with HIM/HER the lessons they themselves have learned along the way.

Today MENTOR1 and MENTOR2  have agreed to become involved in CHILD NAME’s life by promising to be there for HIM/HER should HE/SHE need support, wisdom, comfort and guidance.

They have been chosen by PARENT1 and PARENT2 because of their connection with them, and the family. The fact that they have been chosen by PARENT1 and PARENT2, is an indicator of their position of trust, and respect within this family.

Guideparents Vows
While you are not CHILD NAME’s parents the place that you have both taken in HIS/HER life is an important one. PARENT1 and PARENT2 trust your motivations and your judgment completely and they take comfort in knowing that although there will be times when CHILD NAME cannot come to them, that HE/SHE will always be able to come to you for guidance and support. By accepting the role of Guideparent you say to CHILD NAME and the world. I promise, I will be there for you as you grow into adulthood. With this in mind I now ask you...

Will you as best as you can, help take care of CHILD NAME?

To protect HIM/HER at all times from harm?

To encourage, guide and support HIM/HER in all HIS/HER endeavors,
Help HIM/HER recognize the beauty within HIM/HERself and all things,
And to become someday not the person we wish for HIM/HER but the realization of HIS/HER own hopes, dreams and the fulfillment of HIS/HER life?”

Guideparents: “We will.”

May you always know how special you are to PARENT1 and PARENT2 that they would ask you to tend to the most precious thing that they have in this world.

Acknowledgement of Grandparents (This is Optional)
There is no other bond quite like that of a grandparent and their grandchild. Grandparents are a family’s greatest treasure, the founders of a loving legacy, the greatest storytellers, and the keepers of traditions that linger on in cherished memory. Grandparents are the family’s strong foundation. They have a special love that sets them apart from anyone else. They are always there to love you unconditionally, to listen when you feel like you’re not being heard, and to give advice that is always wise and pure of heart.

CHILD NAME is honored to have HIS/HER grandparents (say all grandparents names) here today.

PARENT1 and PARENT2 are grateful to have you in their child’s life. May you always be aware of how special the extraordinary relationship of trust and mutual enjoyment between child and grandparent is.

The Glistening of the Child

Water is the source of life…. Water is in and around all of us, and is also a symbol of the human spirit--- always in motion, never ceasing, only taking new forms…..Every living creaturet needs water to grow and thrive, to even survive. The trees and flowers, the fish and the birds, and all of us…….. Water nourishes us, cleanses us, comforts us, and renews us.

This ceremony is to celebrate CHILD NAME’s life, and to signify our intentions to nourish HIS/HER heart, HIS/HER  mind, HIS/HER body, and HIS/HER spirit…. to allow HIS/HER life to flow in the direction HE/SHE chooses each day, with the love and guidance of family and friends to help HIM/HER find HIS/HER way.
 
CHILD NAME, our wish for you is that the love that surrounds you today will wash over you like rain every day of your life, just as this water rains on you now…

Officiant rubs the water on the top of HIS/HER head and says:

I name you CHILD NAME as a child of the Earth, as a child of Light, and as a child of Humanity.

You are connected, protected, loved, and blessed.

Officiant rubs the water on HIS/HER forehead and says:

All your senses are exalted, protected, and awakened.

Officiant rubs the water over her heart and says:

Your heart is awakened so that you may feel compassion for yourself and others.

Officiant rubs the water on both her hands and says:

Your hands are cherished so that you may reach out to the world.

Officiant rubs the water on both her feet and says:

Your feet are celebrated so that you may connect with the earth, be grounded, and stand your ground in this world.

Know that your spirit is strong and it will guide you through this life. Know that you are deeply loved and that your presence brings overwhelming joy.

Candle Lighting
The lighting of candles has many spiritual meanings. The light of candle represents the light of a person’s life. The flame represents the eternal power of the sun. The light shining forth represents truth shining forth upon the world. For members of a family to collectively light a candle, represents the sharing and fellowship of love and support.

 I ask each Guideparent and each parent to take one of the candles and light it from the burning candle that represents Humanity. Then, together, light the center candle for CHILD NAME, as the light of HIS/HER life.

I ask that at the conclusion of this service, each of you keep your candle for this reason:

Should there be a time in CHILD NAME’s future for which HE/SHE faces difficult times of trial, or be called upon to make grave decisions – of hardship or joy, or become lost in spirit – you should, as the duty and obligation you have assumed today – find a quiet place alone to yourself. Light this candle or another as a symbol of welcome to come to you for guidance and support, and to light HIS/HER way through darkness and confusion.

Closing Words
PARENT1 and PARENT2, I say on behalf of all of us, go in peace and build a strong and beautiful family life.  Your wishes are rooted in truth, for we have joined our hearts with yours.  Your goals are our goals, that you might have a home that is full of love and happiness for you and your child.  May HE/SHE grow up to reflect the best in both of you, and extend unto the world he touches, the love HE/SHE receives from HIS/HER mother and father.

CHILD NAME, you have been brought into a family of love and joy.  With abiding confidence and affection, we send you forth on your journey of life. May you be filled with thanks and wonder, humor and fun, hope and perseverance so that you may grow in wisdom and grace.

To all gathered here today, thank you for coming and for your love, caring, and dedication to just be there for CHILD NAME and PARENT1 and PARENT2.  Your love and generosity of spirit are noted and appreciated.  Go forth into this wondrous and amazing world.  And always, find the joy in life. Go in peace.

(adapted from New Jersey Baby Blessing)(approx. 2100 words)

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Optional Readings and Ceremony Activities

Readings
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"What is a Family?"
Author Unknown

"A family is .....
The sweetest feelings
The warmest hugs
Trust and togetherness
Unconditional love
The stories of our lives written on the same page
The nicest memories anyone has ever made
Treasured photos
Thankful tears
Hearts overflowing with all the years
Being there for one another
Supporting and caring
Understanding, Helping, Sharing
Walking life's path together
And making the journey more beautiful because .....
We are a family.....And a family
is Love."

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"Declaration of Principles" from the book of G'Kar

The universe speaks in many languages but only one voice.
The language is not White or Black or Yellow or Brown or Red, Gay or Straight.
It speaks in the language of hope.
It speaks in the language of trust.
It speaks in the language of strength and the language of compassion.
It is the language of the heart and the language of the soul.
But always it is the same voice.
It is the voice of our ancestors speaking through us. And the voice of our inheritors waiting to be born.
It is the small, still voice that says: "We are one." No matter the blood.
No matter the skin, No matter the world, No matter the star. We are one. No matter the pain, No matter the darkness, No matter the loss,
No matter the fear. We are one.
Here, gathered together in common cause, we agree to recognize this singular truth and this singular rule:
That we must be kind to one another.
Because each voice enriches us and ennobles us,
and each voice lost, diminishes us.
We are the voice of the universe, the soul of creation, the fire that will light the way to a better future.
We are one.
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Activities
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Rose Petal Shower

PARENT1 and PARENT2 have chosen to conclude CHILD NAME's ceremony with the Blessing of the Roses.

As the petals of the white rose symbolize, may your ideals and your heart remain untarnished and ever pure, with the wonders of childhood's innocence forever your companion.

May the petals of the yellow rose foreshadow the friends and the friendships, steadfast and unwavering, that will bless you in the years ahead.

The pink rose and her petals speak of the tender love and compassion your spirit shall know. The love that knows no bounds both in this life, and that which shall follow.

And as always, may the passion of the red rose forever kindle the fire in your heart for life itself and for all the passions you find there in.

PARENT1 May you know blessings in your life, that your FATHER/MOTHER and I have had in ours."

PARENT2: "Dear friends and family,
Our daughter CHILD FULL NAME!"

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Envelope of Good Fortune

At the entrance to the room have a small pad of paper and a pen.  As each person enters ask them to PRINT a few words of advice or life wishes for the child, and to place the notes in the Envelope of Good Fortune.  Friends and family who cannot attend can mail their contributions in advance.  The Officiant will then read them during the ceremony.

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Child Naming Ceremonies

All cultures have a ceremony to welcome a new member into a family.  The most common ceremony is the official naming of a new child.  Some cultures use such ceremonies to make a child a part of a tribe, or to clearly establish official paternity and lines of inheritance.  Such ceremonies are not just for newborns.  If an existing family changes faiths they may wish to ceremonially remove the child from the old religion and enter the child into the new belief system (or lack thereof!).  Children, or even adults, who are newly adopted or added to a family can celebrate their new family name with a ceremony.
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