This liturgy might be used at a one year birthday party, a special gathering of welcome of an infant at home or a meaningful location, or altered to be used at birth.
What a joy it is to get to come together in celebration of a perfect little human, newly among us. [full name] [describe personality] [Example: James Joan Rushing, aka JJ, who was born on October 8, 2020, came earlier than expected and has been surprising their parents on the regular ever since. A few of their favorite things include: climbing – especially things they shouldn’t. Fine art – particularly, finger painting in blue. And dancing to Dolly Parton’s ‘Jolene’ first thing in the morning and immediately after napping. Two years old with impeccable taste already. They are funny, quick, and gentle.]
Today, we are here to take a moment to share in a collective welcome of [name] to this world and into community. We pause in gratitude for who they already and who they will become. And to remember the privilege of sharing in life together.
Author adrienne maree brown writes, “We are never I. We are of lineage. Of collective. Of era.”
Like all of us, [name] is born into a larger story of “us.” And like all of us, their lives will be shaped by the eras into which they are born [mention a few moments of the present that will shape them – good and hard and honest] We acknowledge and celebrate the gift, responsibility, and delight of getting to be chosen participants in their story. Companioning them through this era, supporting them in their roles in shaping the era’s to come. Helping them grow in the directions that will serve both them and the common good.
There is no doubt that this one has been born into a capable lineage and collective. One rich in [three words to describe their immediate community like generous, supportive, and delightfully irreverent].
Born to [describe their community in terms of siblings, family, pets, friends, land, etc – example: two older siblings, Jo who is five and Tab who is 8, who have loved JJ since day one with more tenderness and patience than anyone. To parents who are caring and wise. To a larger thread of family that embraces them. Family present here, immediate and extended. Family that loves them from a distance – their Grandpa P and Grandpa D in Florida, their cousins in North Carolina, and their godren in Illinois. Family whose love remains even after death. The presence of their Grandmother Lee who died right after JJ’s birth is especially present today. They are born on land, precious and stolen. Originally tended by the Sauk and Meskwaki people, JJ will be raised in a community committed to return and repair. Learning together how to mend legacies of violence, and nurtured by the waters of the Gulf that will teach, hold, and shape them.
And they are born, too, to a wider community of beloveds – a circle of friends cultivated by their parents with intention and care. In queerness and shared values. With joy and laughter and mutual support.]
[Name] these are your people. And they claim you as theirs. And having each other is no small thing.
There is so much that we cannot promise – so many things we cannot control about what you encounter and how you will be treated and who breaks your heart and who supports your dreams or what they will be. But this we can promise – you will always be held in love, no matter what. No matter what. This collective, this lineage of which you are now an inextricable part, will be with you and for you – your flourishing and thriving.
We will support those who care for you, [parents/caregivers names]. Collectively, we will play with you. Learn from you. Apologize to you. Grow alongside you. Help to meet your needs – material, relational, emotional. And most of all – we are here to assure you that whatever struggles and pleasures life brings, whatever questions you wrestle with, and identities you explore, you will not be alone.
As [name] grows in their own unique directions, may the blessing of this community assure them of their worth, be a comfort to them in life’s hardships, and supply them with an abundance of reminders that there will always be someone to whom they can turn. May we make it so.