Rites of Passage

At points throughout our lives we ask the community to witness our growth and changes.  As we marry, welcome our children, transition from adolescence to adulthood, or say goodbye to those we love, First Parish is there with space and services for our members, pledging friends, and sometimes others—helping plan and celebrate the moments that matter.

Find out about how First Parish can work with you to mark these important events. Explore the links below for guidelines, instructions, budget, and contact information.


What a joyous celebration a wedding can be! We want to help make yours special, which is why we offer the information and assistance we can to help you take best advantage of our beautiful, antique church located on the Bedford Town Common. Thanks to its layout and design, which includes a relatively recent addition, we think you’ll find our building offers both flexibility and function indoors and out available in packages that can be tailored to meet your needs.
For more information review the general policies and guidelines included here, or call the church office (781-275-7994) to ask for a brochure.


Child Dedications

For infants, young adopted children, and young children whose families have joined our congregation we offer child dedication services. These celebrations occur regularly throughout the year as part of our weekly services and involve having the parents bring their children to the front of the sanctuary at an appointed time. Child dedication ceremonies include an announcement of the child’s given name and pledging by the parents and the congregation to lead and nurture the child’s spiritual life as they grow.  As a community event, child dedications offer families the opportunity to share themselves and their values with the gathered congregation, while allowing the people of the congregation to more deeply know and celebrate a new young life in their midst.

Neither adults nor children are required to become baptized when joining a Unitarian Universalist congregation – child dedication is a free act on the part of the family, and it is our congregation’s joy to support and celebrate this rite of passage with any family who chooses to participate.

To find out more and schedule a date for your child’s dedication ceremony, call the church office (781/275-7994) and talk with the Church Administrator.

For more information on joining the church as a teenager or adult, please see Joining Unitarian Universalism or the New Members section of this website.

Coming of Age

Unitarian Universalist teenagers have the opportunity to join their congregations as full members through  a special “Coming of Age” ceremony. Candidates for Coming of Age participate in a year-long curriculum designed to help them learn more about Unitarian Universalism and eventually articulate their own beliefs. The ceremony, part of a regularly scheduled worship service in the spring, usually features the youth sharing a statement of personal belief (called a Credo) to the congregation.

Adults in Unitarian Universalist congregations are not required to be or become baptized, or participate in any special ceremony when joining Unitarian Universalism. Neither is it necessary to convert or to revoke a previous faith, or to provide any credal confession or belief statement. Many congregations including ours instead hold new-member ceremonies, which are often preceded by newcomer’s information classes.  These are times of celebration and are generally linked, within a short time, to a newcomers’ luncheon at the church (known as “Quiche and Tell.”)

Funerals and Memorial Services

We believe that marking the passing of a loved one is an important and very personal event best developed by the family of the deceased in conjunction with a minister. Generally, services include members of the congregation coming forward to remember the life being celebrated, as well as readings, hymns and other music the family chooses. There is no single, standard Unitarian Universalist memorial service or funeral.  We will work with you to remember your loved one well.

New Member Ceremonies

Anyone 16 years or older who decides to join our congregation may make their decision public by signing our membership book. This may be done in private at their convenience, or during one of the new member ceremonies held throughout the year. Like child dedication ceremonies, new member ceremonies are held about twice a year as part of regular Sunday services.  The membership book you sign is an antique, holding entries dating as far back as 1893, when the book was used to record meeting minutes.  We reflect, in this faith, on our ‘living tradition,’ and the act of becoming a member, and adding your name to this historic book, is part of that living tradition.