Child Namings and Blessings - When you are blessed with the birth of a child you may want to do something to mark the occasion. It can be very special to gather close family and friends to name, bless and honor your child. This is not a baptism (which is a sacrament within a local church), but a way to celebrate the birth and welcome your child into your extended community. It is a time to express your hopes and dreams for them and give thanks to God. It is a time to acknowledge the change your family will undergo and the ways your child will teach you about love and self-sacrifice. I would be honored to help you plan a service to bless your child.
Child Adoptions - Child adoptions often come at the end of a long, complicated process with many setbacks and disappointments along the way. Yet when the adoption comes through, your life undergoes a seismic shift from one day to the next. Overnight, you become a family. A Child Adoption Ritual provides an opportunity for you to gather close family and friends to give thanks for the child and welcome them into your extended family and community. We can plan a ritual that honors your journey and gives voice to your hopes and dreams for your beloved child and the kind of family you want to create.
Coming of Age Celebrations - Some cultures have wonderful celebrations to mark the transition from childhood to young adulthood but many of us struggle with how to recognize these significant changes and give importance to them. If you want to mark your son’s or daughter’s transition out of childhood, I can help you plan a celebration that will honor their new maturity. This might be a simple family service or a community ritual followed by a party. This could be a weekend event for women to welcome your daughter to womanhood. This could be a weekend event for men to welcome your son to manhood. I can help you think through the creative possibilities to mark this important transition for your child.
Croning/Elderhood Celebrations - In this culture where youth is worshipped, we often think of aging as a terrible downhill slide. Yet through the ages, many cultures revered the elderly for their wisdom and truth telling. The transition into “elderhood” is every bit as fraught with challenge and ripe with opportunity as the transition into “adulthood”. There are many gifts in aging if we embrace this time of life with open hearts and minds. Croning/Elderhood Celebrations offer an opportunity to gather close friends and family to celebrate all you have learned and will come to know in the future. It is a chance to be intentional about this phase of your life. I can help you plan a meaningful celebration to mark this significant life transition.
An End of Relationship or Divorce Ritual - More than 50% of marriages end in divorce. Even when a relationship hasn’t led to marriage, its ending can be terribly painful. We have many ways to mark the beginning of a relationship, but very few ways to acknowledge its ending. Ritual is a way to honor what has been, grieve what is lost and prepare for life without the person who has been so significant in your past. I can help you give voice to some of the conflicting emotions you may be feeling. A Relationship Ending Ritual might be done one-on-one (with you and me), with both persons who are ending the relationship, or with a gathered community of close friends and family. It is a public acknowledgement and witnessing that what was joined has been unjoined. Something has been lost, but hope and renewal remain.
Retirement Celebrations - Our identity is often linked to what we do so that when the time comes that we don’t do that anymore, we don’t know who or what is left. Even when the person retiring has a sense of excitement about the end of their working life, it is a significant life change. A Retirement Celebration Ritual gives voice and meaning to this important transition. I can help you plan a ritual that will celebrate the person’s work contributions but also the person, that will look back, but also forward to a life of new opportunities, growth and service to the world.
Blessing of a Home - Home evokes so much meaning--it is the place we go for rest and renewal, safety and comfort, family and nurturing--it is the place where we can be ourselves. A Blessing of the Home Ritual expresses all of that and more. There are many reasons you may want to bless your home--you may be moving into a new home, you may be newly married or partnered and want to bless the home you will create together, or you may want to re-claim your home as a blessed and safe space after a trauma. I can work with you to create a meaningful ritual that will bless the place you call home.
Blessing of Animals - The animals in our lives often become significant members of our family. Often they are more reliably “there for us” than the people we know. There might be many reasons that you want to have a Blessing of the Animals service at your home. Perhaps a pet is sick or has recently died. Maybe you have welcomed a new animal into your life. I can help you plan a ritual that blesses the animals you care for and honors the ways they bless you. At Duke Chapel, I planned the annual Blessing of the Animals services for seven years and know first hand how meaningful it can be to bless the animals in our lives.
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