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Rites of Passage

People seek community during times of transition. One of the important roles of religious community is to mark the transitions in our lives with ritual and rites of passage.

I have been honored to memorialize the lives of people across the lifespan who have died, from a young mother to an elder. At this tender time, I am honored to work with loved ones to craft a celebration of life that can include meaningful rituals like candle lighting and sharing memories. The story of a life can be told through music, poetry, readings, photos, and art. Each celebration is as individual as the person who has died. A memorial service offers those who are living the opportunity to celebrate the life of a loved one, grieve their loss and all the losses we have experienced, and reflect on the meaning of our own lives.

I have dedicated children as part of a worship service and in a private ceremony, welcoming them in to the world and in to our community. When I served, the UU Fellowship of McMinnville, lay leaders and I created a multi-generational Mother’s Day service that included the dedication of five young ones. This was a lively, joyful and beautiful service that celebrated connection across the generations.

I have helped craft a Coming of Age service with youth at First Unitarian and a bridging ritual at Winter Eliot, a UU family camp in the Seattle area. The youth and I worked together to honoring this important transition as a celebration for them and for our faith community.

I have officiated at a number of weddings and I really enjoy the creative process of crafting a service that is meaningful for a couple and their families. Typical ceremonies include meaningful music, poems or readings, and intentions and promises shared by the couple and sometimes by those gathered. I have been honored to help create services that help bridge the cultural divides of religion, politics, class, and ethnicity.

A spiritual community also marks the passage of time and the transitions of seasons; a Fall in-gathering ritual like Water Communion, Solstice services, Christmas Eve services, Easter, Flower Communion. Whatever the rituals and traditions of a congregation are, it is important that we mark them. It helps us to slow down, notice the passing of time, and acknowledge the big questions of life that transitions bring.

Flower Communion at First Unitarian-Portland.
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