The birth of a child is one of life’s defining milestones. This miracle of new life calls us to wonder and to thanksgiving. Inspired by, but different from, Christian baptism, this Service is one of thanksgiving for the gift of a child and an opportunity for family and friends to welcome the child to their family and the wider world.
What we are not doing
The service is not to wash away sin; original sin or any other sin. The service is not to initiate the child as a member of the Unitarian Church. The Dublin Unitarian Church does not believe in original sin. Our baptism ceremony is not about ‘washing away sin’ but a service of welcome and thanksgiving. In addition, the service does not initiate the child as a member of the Unitarian Church. We add the name of the child into our Baptism Register which has been in use since 1767.
What form does the Service take?
Services are by appointment. Each service is unique and we welcome input from the parents and encourage active participation by the parents and extended family. We encourage the family to be proactive in welcoming the new family member. Some features of the service are similar to Christian Baptism.
As part of the service, we pour water over the baby’s head. We use water as a symbol of life; all life needs water to survive and flourish.
We appoint Mentors/Godparents or to use the beautiful Irish term Anam Cáirde (Soul Friends). The parents decide the number and gender of the Mentors/Godparents/Anam Cáirde.
The Minister asks the parents to make the promise that “to the best of your ability, by your example, your precept and your love, to lead your child in the way of righteousness, of justice and of peace”
Mentors/Godparents/Anam Cáirde promise the “parents their love and support in their task of being parents”.
Other elements the service may contain:-
- We present the baby with a flower. The beauty of the flower symbolises the beauty of the life we wish for the child.
- We present the child with a miniature earth as a symbol that the earth is the child’s inheritance; we adults do not have the right to destroy their inheritance.
- We use readings, poems, music and other symbols chosen by the family to welcome and give thanks for the gift of a new life.
- Anything else the parents may wish to incorporate into the service.
Please be aware that our service is not recognised by other churches as a Baptism. This may have implications for your child when it comes to attending some schools.
The cost of the service is €300. In cases of genuine need, this is of course open to negotiation.
For further Information please contact the Vestry: (01) 478 0638 or e-mail the minister at firstname.lastname@example.org