Depending on personal preference, Unitarians have many different names for the celebration of new life - baptism, child dedication, or naming and blessing. Whatever the ceremony is called, it is a service of welcome to the new life, celebrating the continuing miracle and wonder of life, dedicating the parents (and godparents, if applicable) to the spiritual nurture of their child, and introducing the child to the wider community. Parents are not expected to make theological declarations, or to commit their child to a particular system of belief. Such services are usually conducted either as an integral part of a Sunday service, or at another time, according to the wishes of the parents and the minister.
All five Kent Unitarian churches and Meeting Houses are registered for the celebration of marriages. Apart from the inclusion of the two legal requirements, Unitarian weddings are designed to suit the circumstances of the couple, who are invited to be as involved as they wish in the design of their service so that their wedding accurately and honestly reflects their theological beliefs, personal circumstances and aspirations for marriage. Unitarians do not discriminate against people who are divorced, of different faith or none. Nor for any other reason.
Same Sex Marriages and Blessings
Unitarians, with the Liberal Jews and the Quakers, were at the forefront of the successful campaign to all same-sex marriage. All five of our Kent churches are currently planning to register for same-sex weddings; Chatham, Maidstone and Sevenoaks are already registered, and work is in hand at Tenterden and Dover. Same-sex couples are also welcome to celebrate their civil union with a religious blessing in any of the Kent Unitarian Meeting Houses or Churches.
Our Ministers are pleased to offer funerals and memorial services for those who want a dignified ceremony which does not impose or assume any particular theological position on the part of the deceased. Services are appreciations of the life of the deceased, and an acknowledgement of the human experience of loss and bereavement. Services can be held in any of the Kent Unitarian churches or Meeting Houses, a local crematorium or cemetery, or other agreed location.