Cork Unitarian Church is happy to provide Services to mark Rites of Passage at life’s milestones. The birth or adoption of a child is a unique event in family life. The miracle of birth calls us to wonder and to give thanks for the gift of a new life. This service is to give thanks for the birth or adoption of a child and to welcome the child into the family and the wider human Community. The service of welcome is a religious service and we ask those attending to respect our sacred space. All family and guests should be advised that the minister will be ready to start your service punctually and may be forced, at their discretion, to cancel the service if families and guests are not ready to start at the appointed time. 

What we are not doing

The Service is not to wash away sin; Original Sin or any other Sin. The Service is not to initiate the child as a member of the Unitarian Church.

What form does the Service take?

Each service is unique and is designed in consultation with the family. Services are held by appointment. We welcome input from the parents and active participation by the parents and extended family. We encourage the family to be proactive in welcoming the new family member. Some features of the service are similar to traditional Christian Baptism.

As part of the service we pour water over the baby’s head. We use water as a symbol of Life; all life needs water to survive and flourish.

We appoint Mentors/God Parents or to use the beautiful Irish term Anam Cáirde (Soul Friends). The parents decide the number and gender of the Mentors/God Parents/Anam Cáirde.


Parents make the promise that “to the best of your ability by your example, your precept and your love to lead your child in the way of righteousness of beauty and of peace”

Mentors/God Parents/Anam Cáirde promise the “parents their love and support in their task of being parents”.

Other Elements the Service may contain:

  • We present the baby with the flower. The beauty of the flower symbolises the beauty of the life we wish for the child.
  • We anoint the baby with perfumed oil; this is a symbol of the sacredness of the physical body.
  • We present the child with a miniature earth as a symbol that the earth is the child’s inheritance; we adults do not have the right to destroy their inheritance.
  • We use readings/poems/music and other symbols chosen by the family to welcome and give thanks for the gift of a new life.
  • Anything else the parents may wish to incorporate into the service.


Our service may not recognised by other churches as a valid baptism. This may have implications for your child when it comes to attending some schools.