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Our Lay Chaplains provide Rites of Passage for the wider Hamilton community, and for friends and relatives of members. These include:

Contact us about creating your ceremony.

Our Lay Chaplains are appointed by The First Unitarian Church of Hamilton, trained by the Canadian Unitarian Council, and licensed by the provincial government of Ontario.

Your values, ideals and expectations are the core of the ceremony that our Lay Chaplains will create with you. Building on our Unitarian commitment to inclusiveness and our celebration of diversity, our chaplains can help you enhance the significance of interfaith, non-denominational or secular ceremonies. We welcome the opportunity to serve people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. We are happy to perform a ceremony in the location of your choosing---our church, a rented venue, a home, a park or forest clearing.

We have always viewed the similarities between faiths as more striking than the differences. We 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. Our denomination supports same-sex marriage.


Your ceremony and your vows reflect the uniqueness of your relationship. They capture the celebration of your love, which has brought you to this moment. Whether traditional or contemporary, together we can create a truly wonderful rite of passage. Your wedding will be unique, reflecting the personal values and spirituality you both share. Your officiant will provide you with warmth and presence and put friends and family at ease. Your ceremony will be conducted with sincerity, dignity, and an appropriate lightheartedness to suit the occasion.

Child Dedication or Naming Ceremonies

We welcome children joyfully as members of the human family. There is value in marking the moment with a naming or welcoming ceremony, with parents, family and friends formally accepting the new child in their lives. The celebration may be large or small, formal or informal. Our 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.

Funeral and Memorial 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.

Other Ceremonies Marking Significant Passages

Our lay chaplains are also available to help you mark other life transitions such as retirement, becoming a senior, ending a marriage, coming of age, miscarriage, house blessing, or death of a pet.  Our Lay Chaplains will assist with the creation of a meaningful ceremony.

Our Lay Chaplains

Contact our Lay Chaplains for more information by email, laychaplains@firstunitarianhamilton.org 
or by telephone 905-527-8441 x403

Typical fees for ceremonies are $300 for weddings and funerals, $150 for others. Lay Chaplains can adjust these in cases of proven financial need. For travel over 50 kilometers, the expense fee is $0.40 per kilometer.  

For information about renting our facilities for your ceremony, click here.

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