Celebrations of Welcome and Belonging
The addition of a new member of the family is something to celebrate. At Southminster-Steinhauer United Church, we recognize the beautiful gift of welcoming new people among us, whether they’re individuals, couples, families, infants or seniors. We affirm that we all belong; There is a place for all of us.
Rituals of Welcoming:
Traditionally called Baptism, we celebrate the amazing gift of every human being and recognize all as a spark of divine light on this human and spiritual journey. We recognize and celebrate that every life is a sacred one that is shared with his/her family and friends, but is also supported and celebrated by a community of people that wish the best, healthiest and most authentic future for them.
Babies and Children:
Within an SSUC baptism, we share the joy in welcoming a new child into this world, and seek to infuse our prayers and intentions for him/her with all our hope, love and spiritual strength. As every parent makes commitments to live their spiritual values and pass them to their children, so does our community make commitments to be present to support and help nurture parents, children and community in their lifelong spiritual quests.
At SSUC, we celebrate families of all different kinds. As an affirming congregation, we celebrate same-gender, different-gender parents and single-parent families who wish to welcome and celebrate new members of their family; we facilitate and celebrate multi-faith ceremonies of welcome; and we welcome entire families that wish to participate in the ritual of welcome and baptism together.
Adults and all those new to spiritual community:
The people of SSUC come from many different paths – some have been life-long church attenders, some have never been a part of a spiritual community before, some have been hurt by their experiences with churches, and some come with a desire to celebrate the multiplicities of faith experiences in their lives. No matter where someone has come from, there is always room within the SSUC circle for each person, their history and their commitment to the journey before them.
We work with each individual to tailor a ritual that has meaning for their particular journey. The reasons for requesting a ritual are many and varied. Some wish to make a new start along life’s path, some find themselves able to celebrate a new existence as an “out” and valued part of the LGBTQ+ community, some desire a ritual that marks a new chapter and new trajectory. All these are possible and recognize the important spiritual elements in all of life’s changes and evolutions.
What a ritual of belonging might look like:
Although each person and each ritual is unique, there are some things that each has in common. There will be some way for us all to mark the intentions with which we want to aspire. Some of those might include:
- seeking to live with an open heart, open to the spirit of life that is within us, among us and between us;
- seeking to be open to the wounds and joys of creation and to the needs of the world.
- celebrating the sacredness of life, cultivating a spiritual life, living with respect in creation, seeking to love and serve others, seek justice and know goodness.
Also, we use the symbols of water and a candle flame to honour the importance of our spirituality, our entry/continuation into the journey of depth and meaning, the celebration of the teachings of the Jesus tradition among all of our sources of spiritual wisdom, and the importance of a caring and intentional spiritual community.
And finally, we invite all those whom we celebrate with a ritual of belonging to be surrounded by their family, their friends, and anyone who is important in their life so that we can celebrate this milestone together.
Rituals of Welcoming New Members
Approximately two times per year, we offer a two-session program that helps newcomers learn more about SSUC and to consider formalizing their commitment and relationship with our spiritual community. After these sessions, we celebrate that belonging with a ritual of welcome that affirms our common journey.
For more information or to express interest in a ritual of baptism or any of these rituals of welcome, please contact a member of the Ministry Team.