Weddings & Rites of Passage

At First Unitarian, we are honored to join with you as you celebrate and mark the moments of your life. Whether you are looking to be married, dedicate or name your child, or celebrate the life and mourn the death of someone you have lost, we are here to help.

Working closely with you, we strive to create a personal ceremony that speaks to your values and beliefs. We welcome the opportunity to get to know you as an individual and we serve a congregation and a community that represents the full spectrum of diversity. We often work with families and couples who come from different backgrounds or believe different things, and together we craft a ceremony that reflects your hopes and wishes. We believe that life’s important moments must be marked, that in the company of family and friends we might take in and lean in to the changes that are afoot, welcoming the holy however it arrives.

For more information about any of these select from the menu at right. To inquire about a wedding or memorial service, please contact our church office at office@rochesterunitarian.org, 585-271-9070.

“In a house which becomes a home, one hands down and another takes up the heritage of mind and heart, laughter and tears, musings and deeds. Love, like a carefully loaded ship, crosses the gulf between the generations. Therefore we do not neglect the ceremonies of our passage: when we wed, when we die, and when we are blessed with a child…We live, not by things, but by the meanings of things.” – Antoine de St. Exupéry

 

Weddings

Congratulations! If you are thinking about getting married great things have already happened for you. We are excited for you and for the love that is expanding in your life. Our ministers are available to officiate at weddings for church members, for opposite-sex couples and same-sex couples, and we strive to create personal ceremonies that reflect your individual values and beliefs. We are especially proud and grateful that we can celebrate with all couples now as New York has passed legislation for equal marriage!

If you are a church member or pledging friend, our ministers will gladly officiate at your wedding and provide pre-marital counseling for you if you choose at no cost. You’ve already paid for our services with your church pledge.

If you aren’t a member of our church community – check us out – we will be happy to officiate at your wedding for a fee of $400 if our schedules allow.

We also offer recommitment and blessing ceremonies for couples who are married but not had a marriage license signed. Our ministers are glad to design this ritual with you, officiate and sign your marriage license. The fee ranges from $100-250 depending on the complexity of the service.

To learn more or to reserve a date, please contact Rev. Tina Simson (585-330-9177 | email).

Again, congratulations, and we’re looking forward to hearing from you!

Child Dedication & Naming Ceremonies

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

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 make the life of the child sacred; we believe that life is sacred inherently. 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.

Ceremonies of Dedication and Naming take many forms, reflecting each individual family’s beliefs and wishes. Most ceremonies, however, include:

  • The honoring of parents and family members, including godparents or special guides if you wish,
  • Formal naming of the child,
  • A gift – perhaps of a rose to symbolize beauty or a book to symbolize learning,
  • A blessing by the minister

We encourage church members to participate in Child Dedication ceremonies with the larger church community on special Sundays throughout the year. On these special Sundays the church welcomes and celebrates each new life and covenants to walk together with the family in protecting, raising, and nurturing each child. On occasion, we also offer private ceremonies of dedication and naming outside of Sunday morning worship services. These can take place at church or in your home.

Memorial Service

So long as we live, they too shall live, for they are now a part of us, as we remember them.
– Roland Gittlesohn

In times of grief and loss, we come together to share stories, offer comfort, and celebrate the wonders of an individual life. Unitarian Universalist memorial services reflect the values and beliefs of each family and individual, and services take on a personal and intimate feeling, no matter what their size. The minister works closely with the family and friends of the one we have lost to craft a service of words and music and memory. Together we mark the meaning of this life and are reminded of the place of gratitude, kindness, service and authenticity in living.

If the one we have lost is a church member, the Caring Community Group would be honored to host a simple but elegant reception following the memorial service. The Memorial Garden is also available for the scattering of ashes for church members.

For more information about memorial services at First Unitarian, please contact Rev. Tina Simson (585-330-9177 | email).