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Weddings, Funerals & Ceremonies

While our Minister provides services for our members, our Lay Chaplains provide Rites of Passage for the wider Hamilton community, and for friends and relatives of members.  

Unitarian Rites of Passage are designed to reflect the personal beliefs of the participants, and our religion’s commitment to inclusivity and acceptance in helping people mark the milestones of their lives. We have always viewed the similarities between faiths as more striking than the differences, and were among the first to affirm what were once called “mixed marriages;” marriages between people of different religious backgrounds. Our religion was also the first in the world to ordain women and openly gay and lesbian ministers, and we support same-sex marriage as a denomination. We believe that love, friendship, support and commitment are the touchstones of every marriage. 

The Ceremonies our Lay Chaplains conduct most often include:

  • Weddings (Opposite as well as Same Gender)

  • Child Dedication or Naming Ceremonies

  • Funerals

  • Memorial Services

Occasionally our Lay Chaplains will also assist with the creation of a special ceremony  - a house blessing, rite of adoption, ceremony of dissolution or divorce, reaffirmation of vows, coming of age, mid-life passage, or retirement – or provide resources that you may use to create your own meaningful ceremony


Lay Chaplains will meet with you to plan your wedding, and are willing to conduct it in our church, in another church, or in a place meaningful to you and your family. Unitarian weddings are a blend of our loving, free faith and the shared beliefs of the couple.

Unitarian Child Naming or Dedication

We welcome children joyfully as members of the human family. Our naming and dedication ceremonies often use water as a symbol of purity and new life, but Unitarians rejected the theology of “original sin” hundreds of years ago, so we do not baptize babies to “cleanse” them of sin, but bless them to welcome them into our world. We promise as adults to raise them in loving community, and to take care of their spiritual as well as physical and emotional development. Church members usually choose to dedicate their children in  Sunday service, but people in the wider community often gather in a home with family and friends to celebrate new life. With a Lay Chaplain’s assistance, you can help plan your own child dedication ceremony.

Unitarian Memorial and Funeral Services

Unitarian Ceremonies that take place a time of death are an affirmation of life. Our Lay Chaplains conduct Funerals (which usually take place within a few days, and include the blessing and sometimes interment of the body) and Memorials, which often follow cremation and may take place at any time – a few days, a week or even a month after someone has died. In both ceremonies, our approach is to give the death meaning by focusing on the life, gifts and legacy left by the person who has died. We use readings, words, music and memory to fashion a service of tribute that honours the deceased and comforts the living.

For further information about Unitarian Rites of Passage, please contact our Lay Chaplains

Tim Versteeg:  tim@firstunitarianhamilton.org or  905-529-2962

Lyla Miklos:  905-527-8441 x403 or lyla@firstunitarianhamilton.org 

A Wedding Guide published by The First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto

Information on renting the church for a Rite of Passage.
For information about contacting a church musician for your Rite of Passage, contact Rachel Derry

Member Canadian Unitarian Council
The First Unitarian Church of Hamilton
170 Dundurn Street South
Hamilton ON  L8P 4K3
Phone: 905-527-8441  Fax: 905-527-6420

General Email: info@firstunitarianhamilton.org