Ceremonies of Rites of Passage

For countless generations, ritual and ceremony have been used to mark significant life passages.

Unitarian Universalists believe that all lives are sacred, that everyone deserves a rite of passage that is meaningful to, and respectful of, the person or persons involved, conducted by a professionally-trained person, with the blessing of a spiritual community. All have a right to care and compassion in marking both the happy and the sorrowful passages that are an inevitable part of life — a birth, a coming-of-age, a coming-out, a house blessing, a marriage, a death, or other significant event. We perform weddings for same-sex couples, couples with no faith backgrounds, and couples with interfaith backgrounds.

There is no creedal or other religious test to be eligible for our services. Ceremonies are available to all persons of good will, whether they are religious or not, whether they are members or friends of the church or not.


A personalized ceremony

We affirm the inherent worth and dignity of every person, whatever their religious or ethnic background, whatever their gender or sexual orientation. Our minister or one of our lay chaplains will work closely with you to co-create a service that is personalized and meaningful for you, your family, friends and loved ones, and that expresses the faith and spirit of those involved. Ceremonies can range from the more traditional to the very un-traditional and creative.

Respecting your beliefs and traditions

For an interfaith or intercultural ceremony, we seek to honour the traditions and cultures that are brought together in such a ceremony. Unitarian Universalists believe all religious traditions have wisdom and meaning. We have experience weaving together language and ritual from multiple traditions into a ceremony that is moving and touches all participants.

For those with no religious affiliation, this, too, is respected, and a moving ceremony created using words, music, or ritual that is appropriate for you.

Licensed officiants

Our officiants include several lay chaplains who are members of our congregation, specially trained by the Canadian Unitarian Council, and, along with our minister, licensed by the Province of Québec, to officiate at weddings and other rites of passage. Our officiants are available to all, and will ensure that all legal requirements are observed, so that, for example, your wedding is officially recorded and recognized by the Province of Québec and the Government of Canada..

Where can your ceremony be held?

We can conduct the ceremony at the venue that you choose. At our church in North Hatley, we have a beautiful, wood-paneled, 114 year-old, 100-seat sanctuary, plus Avery Booth fellowship hall, with its simple elegance, and the less formal Stoddard Hall. (See pictures below.) Along with facilities for receptions, all are available for rental. But should you have a preferred outdoor location, or want to use a private home or other facility for your wedding, be assured that these are all quite feasible.

Funerals, Memorial Services, Child Dedications, and other ceremonies

All of our ceremonies of rites of passage are designed in keeping with the principles elaborated above under Weddings. Each ceremony is personalized for the person or persons involved. Each ceremony will be developed in cooperation with you and/or your family, respectful of your values, beliefs and traditions, performed by a sensitive, trained officiant, in the location of your choice.

Whether you would prefer a simple graveside ceremony, or a more formal celebration of the life of a loved one in our sanctuary, or to have a child dedication in your home, or a renewal of vows held on your boat or elsewhere, please do not hesitate to ask.

We believe that any significant life passage can be worthy of a respectful ritual – a house blessing, an amicable divorce, a coming of age, a coming out, or whatever event is meaningful for you. Again, please do not hesitate to ask..

Contact us

For all your questions for any ceremony, including hall rentals, please contact us:

Our ceremonies coordinator or one of our officiants will get back to you without delay.

Should you wish to learn more about Unitarian Universalism, please visit our website, or call the number above, or simply visit us at 201 Main St., North Hatley. Our open-minded worship services are held each Sunday at 10 am (with certain exceptions—see our calendar of events), and are open to all, without discrimination.

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