Reverend Abbey Tennis
Greetings! I have been honored to be part of so many people's lives as we make our progress through the wheel of life. Officiating such Rites of Passage to mark these moments is a great privilege and yes, even at the saddest moments, a great joy.
My aim in creating these ceremonies is to have them be heartfelt expressions of the people involved, reflecting their traditions, their community and their lives. Here is a bit more information on these major Rites of Passage. Please feel free to contact me for more details.
A Unitarian Universalist wedding service honors the life-long commitment of two persons to a loving partnership. The emphasis is on the couple getting married, and on the family and friends who will support them as they become a new household, a new family. Weddings in a Unitarian Universalist congregation are designed to reflect the personalities of the couple. The minister works closely with the couple to create a ceremony which expresses appropriately, and announces to the world, the uniqueness of their relationship.
A wedding is one of life’s most significant and splendid events, celebrating the union of two hearts, the joining of two lives. To create a ceremony worthy of this, I meet with the couple to begin to get to know them and their hopes for their wedding ceremony. Beginning with a template or outline, we begin putting together the words, music and other rituals that will make this ceremony their own. This ceremony holds to no one particular tradition or faith. It can be spiritual, secular, or some combination. It is also possible to include aspects of important family and cultural traditions, honoring your roots and your future life together.
First Unitarian Church is a Welcoming Congregation and as such we invite participation by all persons without regard to race, ethnicity, gender, ability, affectional or sexual orientation, economic status, or national origin. As Unitarian Universalists, we do not require adherence to any particular interpretation of religion or to any particular religious belief or creed.
Officiant honorarium: $600, inclusive of planning
"Office Weddings": In particular or special circumstances, a very simple ceremony can be performed in my office here at First Unitarian. Please contact me for more information.
We welcome children into the world with a Ceremony of Naming, Dedication and Blessing. Unitarian Universalists believe every child is born in goodness. We also believe that we cannot determine the religious beliefs for anyone else, especially for infants. Therefore, a Child Dedication is not a cleansing of original sin or declaration of a child’s religious affiliation.
In this ceremony, we dedicate children to the highest purposes in life, and acknowledge and recognize the child’s parents and god-parents, if any. We dedicate ourselves as a religious community to actively supporting children and their families. The two symbols I use in this ceremony are a rose (the essence of possibility in each new life blossoming) and water (the source of all life that connects us.)
A Child Dedication ceremony can take place as a part of a regular Sunday worship service, or it can be done at another time and place if the family prefers. For a baby or very young child, we celebrate his or her arrival into the world by proclaiming the uniqueness of this new life and our connection with the wider human community. A family whose older children have not been dedicated before can celebrate and be formally welcomed with a Dedication Ceremony appropriate for the family and the age of the child(ren) as well.
Officiant honorarium: $300, inclusive of planning
Memorial Services and Funerals
A Memorial Service in the Unitarian Universalist tradition marks this final passage in our life cycle. It is typically a celebration of the deceased person's life, where the grief and remembrance of loved ones and friends is honored. It reflects the twin themes of grief and gratitude. This is one of the most profound aspects of my ministry.
It is also a time to pause and to celebrate the qualities and meanings in that unique life and an opportunity to reflect on the purpose and hopes for our own living. This ceremony usually reflects the particular spiritual or faith traditions of the deceased and at the same time is respectful of the traditions that uphold and comfort those who mourn.
The ceremony can follow shortly after the death of a loved one (traditionally called a Funeral) or can be held at a later date (what most people know as a Memorial Service).
Memorial Services are centered around a Eulogy and shared Remembrances. The memorial portrait will either be something I will prepare (based on the information and memories shared by the family in a meeting with me), or family members and others may choose to create this part of the Service, offering a summary on the deceased person's life with short memories or reflections. I will work with you to create a Service that honors your beloved, including readings and music (recorded or live), if requested.
Officiant honorarium: $400, inclusive of planning