The Reverend Julie-Ann Silberman-Bunn

Worship & Celebrations

When Civil Unions became legal in Connecticut I officiated at a Civil Union for a couple who were members of the church, immediately following the civil union their twins were dedicated. The civil union and the dedication took place in the context of a Sunday morning service with the entire congregation as witnesses. The couple and I had agreed not to make a public announcement of what was planned in advance. When I announced that the couple would be having their Civil Union during the service that morning the couple received a standing ovation. It was one of the moments in which I was most proud to be a Unitarian Universalist minister. Three years later on Christmas eve I officiated at the couples now legal marriage in front of a very small group of family and friends. Below you will find the texts of all three services.

Ceremony of Civil Union between Jamie and Virginia


Performed by Rev. Julie-Ann Silberman-Bunn

Today we celebrate the union of Jamie and Virginia. We acknowledge the decision of these two people to share their lives. This sharing is not at the expense of each partner's individuality, but rather the individuality is what makes the strength of the common bond. This celebration is the outward token of a sacred and inward union of hearts, which was made long before this moment. Today they have invited you to witness the affirmation of their commitment.

As two separate beings they have created one home in which each, in her own way, has become more complete because of the other. From joys and sorrows shared they shall grow in love and loyalty; from any pain given and forgiven they shall grow in mutual understanding.

Grant that the love, which unites this couple, may grow in abiding happiness. May there be peace in their home, quietness and confidence in their hearts. May they be sustained by finding their place in the midst of all people, and by the hope of peace and justice for humanity.

Civil Union just like marriage involves at once the highest privileges and the greatest responsibilities of life. Its happiness and success are dependent upon mutual love, unfailing patience, and fidelity of one to the other. Henceforth you, Virginia and Jamie, will continue to live a life of mutual devotion, each seeking and promoting the joy, the comfort, the health, and the enrichment of the other, in all of which, you will share your sorrows and multiply your joys.

If you have carefully considered the sacredness of the obligation assumed when lives are formally united, and are well assured that you are prepared to enter into this covenant, joining yourselves each to the other in holy union, will you please join hands.

The couple has decided to share personal readings instead of vows.

(1.  Virginia
2.  Jamie)

Unity Candle
The lighting of the unity candle symbolizes the coming together of two separate and lives into one life shared and enriched by the two lives from which the one was created.

A Civil Union joins two people's love. Patience, trust and understanding are its foundations. May your years be healthful, prosperous and full of love, and may you have many years to enjoy together. May you always be each other's best friend. On behalf of all those present, I declare that you are now legally united.

May the Spirit bless you and keep you. May the Spirit be gracious unto you. May grace shine upon you and give you peace.

(we will kiss or hug as the spirit moves)

Having joined Jamie and Virginia, let us now welcome the babies . . . . (now for the baby dedication).

 

Dedication for Paula Dorothea and Nathaniel Lee

When parents dedicate their children in the liberal church, they are neither seeking to cleanse them of some imaginary guilt nor attempting to make them a part of an elect and favored few. Rather, in dedicating a child, we are recognizing that child as an individual personality; we are acknowledging the sanctity of his or her own selfhood; and we are pledging that child our aid, that the high and noble hopes that lie in her or him may find their fulfillment.

We all have a part in this act, and a responsibility to all children. As we today with joy accept these children into our fellowship of loving care, may we rededicate ourselves to active concern for all who are helpless, to setting a good example for those whose ways and habits are yet to be established, and to creating a world, and here a family of faith, where children may grow into rich and full lives.

Parents, your responsibility is first and greatest. Will you affirm that your children are a sacred trust? Will you dedicate yourselves anew to that way of life which will fill their hearts with memories of gladness and a sense of the holiness of love and mercy? (we will)

I charge you to prepare them to be independent adults, aware of the world as it is and as it ought to be, aware of the tragedy and injustice which are a part of it, but aware as well of the power of love to redeem if that love has courage as well as affection.

The parents have come this morning before this religious community to dedicate their children. They have pledged themselves to love and care for their children. But those who care must also be cared for. Those who give love need love in return. Therefore, I call upon you, the congregation, to pledge your support of the parents as they engage in the sometimes joyful, sometimes agonizing, process of being a parent.

Please stand and join with me in responsive reading #714

A name has power. It is the sign of the person. It will represent that person to us. Her/his life and character will be symbolized by her/his name.   Mommies, by what names are your children known? (Child/childrens full name[s])

Paula Dorothea, with this flower, symbol of hope and life, I welcome you into this community. May you become known to us and we to you.

Nathaniel Lee, with this flower, symbol of hope and life, I welcome you into this community. May you become known to us and we to you.

We welcome these children into the community and to the world of which we are a part. we offer ourselves, our faith, our hope, and our love.

Let us pray: For the gift of childhood, whose innocence and laughter keep the world young, we all rejoice and give thanks. May this life, which we have welcomed into our community of ideals and friendship, receive abundantly the blessings of health, love, knowledge, and wisdom, and in turn give back richly to the common heritage which endures from generation to generation.

Amen-----

 

Marriage Ceremony between Jamie and Virginia

 

It is with great joy that this late winter afternoon we celebrate the marriage, the really legal here in Connecticut marriage of Jamie and Virginia. We acknowledge that these two wonderful women have committed to sharing their lives with one another, we recognize that this is both a legal ceremony, and a religious ceremony in recognition of the deep and abiding love that Jamie and Virginia have for one another, and the life they have diligently crafted for themselves as a couple and for the last three years with Nate and Thea.

The decision of these two people to share their lives is not at the expense of each partner's individuality, but rather their unique qualities and gifts are what make the their union, their marriage strong. This celebration is the outward token of a sacred and inward union of hearts, which was made long before this moment, which was recognized in their civil union as well. Today they have invited you to witness the affirmation of their commitment, and to celebrate with them that this day is possible and truly significant in their lives..

As two separate people they have created one home in which each, in her own way, has become more complete because of the other. From joys and sorrows, choices and challenges shared your love and commitment has deepened; from any pain given and forgiven you shall grow in the never ending journey of mutual understanding.

Marriage involves at once the highest privileges and the greatest responsibilities of life. Its happiness and success are dependent upon mutual love, unfailing patience, and fidelity of one to the other. As you have before and from this point forward you, Virginia and Jamie, you will live a life of mutual devotion, each seeking and promoting the joy, the comfort, the health, and the enrichment of the other and your family, in all of which, you will share your sorrows and multiply your joys.

If you have carefully considered the sacredness of the obligation assumed when lives are wed, and are well assured that you are prepared to enter into this covenant, joining yourselves each to the other in holy wedlock, will you please join hands?

Please repeat after me:

I Jamie, take you, Virginia, to be no other than yourself, loving you today from all of our yesterdays and through all of our tomorrows. 

I, Virginia, take you, Jamie, to be no other than yourself, loving you today from all of our yesterdays and through all of our tomorrows. 

A Marriage joins two people's love. Patience, trust and understanding are its foundations. May your years be continue to be healthful, prosperous and full of love, and may you have many years to enjoy together. May you always be each other's best friend. It is both my honor and privilege to announce that on behalf of the UU Church and the State of Connecticut, and all those present, that you are now legally married.

May the Spirit bless you and keep you. May the Spirit be gracious unto you. May grace shine upon you and give you peace all the days of your lives…..you may now kiss!

Sermons

Each of these sermons was written to be preached, rather than read. Imagine the sound of the voice and where it might linger, or pause rather than reading these as traditionally written texts.

Receiving check for Library at Main Line UU
There are many ways to successfully demonstrate and live our UU faith publicly one many congregations have adopted is the shared plate or Outreach offering here is Rev. Julie-Ann helping to present a community organization that promotes reading with a check.

Writings for Worship

This collection of opening words chalice lightings, prayers, meditations and closing words were written by Reverend Julie-Ann to be used in worship services.

Rev. Julie-Ann at table

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