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Liturgy: Naming, Dedication, Birth

Service of Naming

The Naming and Dedication of ***

A candle, flowers in water and flowers in soil are positioned at the front.

When one baby is born it is the symbol of all birth and life, and therefore all people must rejoice and smile, and all people must lose their hearts to a child.

(Kenneth L. Patton)

Life is a gift to us and through us;
Let us be open to its flow.
Let us be open to sharing our special life-gift with others.
We meet in celebration of the life that is given to and through us.

We affirm the unfailing renewal of life.
Rising from the earth and reaching for the sun, all living creatures shall fulfil themselves.
We affirm the steady growth of human fellowship.
Rising from the ancient cradles and reaching for the stars, people the world over shall seek the ways of understanding.
We affirm a continuing hope, that out of every event the spirit of humanity shall rise to build a better world.


Let us pray:

Spirit of love, whom we have come to know through the affections we have for each other, we give thanks this day for the love of parents.

Over the years they have fed and sheltered our bodies, and encouraged us in our schooling and our games. They have often understood us when we were hurt or afraid, and at times been angry or displeased when we did what they thought was wrong for they too were capable of being hurt in their feelings, and yet they never ceased to care for us. For our parents we give thanks.

We, who are mothers and fathers, would learn to distinguish between loving and possessing. May we free our children to live their own lives, and not burden them with living our lives. May we provide them with opportunities for fresh explorations, as well as giving them havens of security. May we understand their sensitivities and fears, and not laugh at them. May we allow them to discover and to hold their own values, and not expect them to adopt ours. For our children we give thanks.

Then as our children step out to meet life with confidence and joy and excitement, may we all know the true bond of mutual love and a mutual caring. For each other we give thanks.

Derek Smith, Prayer for Parents in Reflections

The Ritual of Naming and Dedication.

What shall we give our children
Girl and boy?
A world of welcoming and caring
Each free to grow and be
No pink or blue type cast
To dye their children's pattern
Where angels fear to tread.

Keith Gilley, 'Occasions: A Dedication', in Reflections

Would the parents with the mother holding the child come forward, with the Godparents standing around to either side.

This is a service of thanksgiving, of recognition and dedication. We give thanks for the gift of this child and for all the divine possibilities of each new birth. We recognise his membership of the human family and welcome him into the fellowship of faith, trusting that with it he may ever find inspiration, love, joy and peace. And so we pray that he may prove worthy of his origin and heritage and be faithful to all the tasks of his life that he will be called to fulfil.

You, the parent/s, (*** and ***), dedicate yourself/ves to the care of the child in all his needs. It is a serious and solemn responsibility, which may sometimes cause anxiety and demand sacrifices, but also bring the deepest joy; and we join with you in your prayer for the wisdom, patience and understanding whereby you may aid this little one, committed for a time to your care, to learn the love and service of humanity.

Will you (both), therefore, teach him by precept and example to walk in the way of truth, righteousness and love?

We will.

And you, who have consented to be Godparents, ***, also have undertaken a serious responsibility. May the influence that you will exercise be filled with sympathy and understanding and love, so that the child may the more willingly listen to your words of advice. Remember, however, that, as with the parents, what you are is of far greater importance than what you may say. Strive, therefore, to show at all times a life aiming to be just, pure, lovely and of good report.

Using water only, gesturing to the font:

From the Goddess of streams and lakes
And of water pure and sweet,
We seek the blessings of water
For we are all its children.
We wish to be closer
To the pure and free world of nature.
Banish guilt forever;
Find new paths of understanding;
Enter into the world of of mystery, wonderment and beauty.
Blessed be!

May this water, clear and fresh,
Cleanse the soul and spirit
As in symbol,
It can cleanse the hands.

Turning to the mother. Would you give me the child?

Holding the baby say:

Name this child.

Water may be put on the child's forehead and the baby returned.

You are consecrated and dedicated to God, the highest ideals of human living, and your place within the human family.

Light the candle. Gesturing to the it, the water and the soil, say...

May the power of water bring you life and sustenance, and the courage to feel through your way,
May the power of fire bring you strength and passion to go along your way,
May the power of earth bring you grounding in a strong body, to be centred in your way,
May the power of air bring you a clear mind to see your way.

Ann Arthur, With Hands Together.

So let us pray.

We lift our hearts in thanksgiving for the place of this child in the human family, praying that he shall increase in stature and grow in wisdom and in love. And let us think of those who have care of him, that upheld by the faith and values of the past and a noble vision of the future they may guide him in the paths of righteousness and peace. So may he be to them, in prosperity and adversity, in happiness and sorrow, a source of comfort and joy. Let us pray for the parents and the sacred task committed to them that they look to the highest ideals and express the depth of their love and their enlightenment for the benefit of their child and family. Amen.

And now may the holiness of peace rest within us from henceforth and abide in us forever.

The parents and Godparents sit down and the service ends here.


From the Guru Granth Sahib 65

God has blessed me with a son [child]:
May he live long and maintain the relationship.
The child when conceived brought great joy to the mother's heart.
The son would be a devotee of God.
He has manifested the ordinance of the Lord. (Pause)
After ten months, by Divine Will, he [she] was born,
And all my sorrow was removed and joy prevailed.

My friends sang songs of thanks-giving to the Lord,
Which were much appreciated by the Lord.
My lineage has been fruitful, and the family will grow.
The Lord has strengthened the forces of righteousness.
My Lord has fulfilled my desire.
And thus getting care-free, I become attuned to the Lord.
As the child has great trust in his father, So I speak as is the Lord´s Will. It is not a matter of secret:
Nanak says, 'The Lord is pleased with me and blessed me with this gift (son)'.

Mansukhani, G. S. (1994), Hymns from the Guru Granth Sahib, New Delhi: Hemkunt Press, 151 and 153.