Ceremony begins with the Godmother holding the Child
“Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here today in the presence of God, Family and Friends, to celebrate the blessing of Montana Sloane.
On March 10, 2021, 10am Montana Sloane came into this world like a ray of light. In truth, she was a complete surprise and a beautiful gift from God. Amanda and Paul didn’t think they could have any more children. Their IVF work helped to bring Montana’s sister Hannah into the world. While just a couple of years later, sister Savannah would make, what Paul and Amanda thought was, a complete family.
Paul and Amanda thought they were done. But, God had other plans! And with her arrival, Montana reminded her new family of something incredible. Because that’s what the miracle of new life does for us… It reminds us of how much love we are capable of.
When Montana Sloane came into the world, she brought with her the innocence and wonder that we can only experience when witnessing that miracle of new life.
The coming of Montana awakens within this family all of their hopes, fears, joys, and the challenges that we all must face in order to grow and realize our nature as compassionate humans, and Beloved children of God.
What you are about to witness today is a celebration of Love and family, a formal welcoming of Montana’s life into your community, and a blessing for her and her journey yet to come.
Montana is perfect. Our blessing of her today is not to correct something, but to welcome her and to marvel at the unique gifts she will bring to the world.
In anointing Montana today, in Christening her, we formally welcome her Spirit – her Christ Consciousness – to shine and reveal itself over the course of her life.
It has been said that in a Christening, the Divine comes down and surrounds the child with It’s love. In truth, that Love is always there. It’s Montana’s birthright. It’s the birthright of us all, and it exists no matter what words you might use to describe it.
Yet, as humans we crave ceremony. Because, it’s in these moments that we consciously choose to remember our connection to all that guides and supports us. It’s in these moments that we honor the mysteries of life, and it’s in these moments that we remember the light we all share as children of God.
‘Let the little children come unto me and forbid them not; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.’
It’s here that Jesus reminds us that the gateway to awakening is to become like little children. What are the qualities of a child? Innocence, wonder, laughter, exploration, trust, and a deep dependence on their teachers to guide them to and through all that they need to know…
Jesus gave unto us two great commandments: To love God with all our hearts, all of our mind, and all of our strength; and to love one another as we would have others share their love with us.”
As parents, guides and teachers, it is our responsibility to learn to live our lives in this way, so that we might be examples of this to Montana.
Finally, remember this… We don’t teach these lessons with our words nearly as much as we demonstrate them in our actions, our openness, and our vulnerability… In our willingness to learn for ourselves, and in our willingness to grow, heal, and to forgive.
As Montana brings to us the gift of new life and hope, so do we as her caregivers give her the promise that we will do our best to always grow alongside her.
“Amanda and Paul, the journey of parenthood is one of incredible richness… even when it’s not easy.
Montana Sloane already lights up every room with her ever-present smile. Paul told me that whenever he’s having a rough day, he just has to look at Montana and everything feels better.
Amanda and Paul, the love that surrounds you and Montana is eternal, and as you already likely know from raising Hannah and Savannah, the way you experience it will change over the years. Remember that every moment is an opportunity to renew that commitment of love and to share it with Montana and your whole family.
We gather here because it is your wish that Montana Sloane grows to be a woman who knows love, knows God, knows family, and truly loves her life. You, most of all, will be her guide on this journey. Therefore, as a promise to her, I now ask you both:
Do you promise to teach Montana not ‘who’ or ‘what’, but how to love? Do you promise to teach her to trust, to respect, and to dream, so that she may truly participate in the remarkable journey that is life?
To be open about your triumphs as well as your missteps so that Montana will have the opportunity to learn from your journey, and yet still be free to learn her own lessons in life?
That you will value her hopes and dreams, allow her to discover her own faith, and let her know that she will always be welcomed, accepted and loved for who she is?
That everyone Montana encounters in her life is entitled to that same love, respect, and acceptance.
To expose her to a variety of experiences, instilling in her a sense of wonder and passion, and the knowledge that she alone has the power to realize her completeness?
Do you promise to hold her close in your hearts always, yet still encourage her to stand on her own when the time comes so that she may discover her own true self?
Charge to Godparents
“A child’s Godparents are their guardian angels here on earth. A Godparents promise is to be a physical, practical, and spiritual presence in a child’s life; it is an honor and a blessing for all.
Jill and Donald… We wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for you. Jill, Amanda told me how elemental to her life you have been. For over twenty-five years, you’ve been someone she can count on to guide her and love her and her family. It was you who thought to introduce Amanda to Paul. For this reason and more, you have been chosen to be Montana’s Godmother
Donald, Paul told me – and rightfully so – that you’re big in stature, but bigger in heart. There’s nothing you wouldn’t do for someone in need. That’s a sign of a good man. Together with Jill, you provide a comfort and steadfastness that Montana Sloane can rely on as she grows. This is why you have been chosen as Montana’s Godfather.
Jill and Donald… As Godparents to Montana, you will be given the wisdom and ability to hold within your heart forever Montana’s spiritual welfare. You are charged with the responsibility of seeing to the spiritual welfare of this child should the need arise, and it is you who stand as her spiritual counselors.
Jill and Donald, do you accept this duty and charge?”
Godparents: “We do.”
“Do you promise to love, honor, support and encourage Montana throughout her life?”
Godparents: “We do.”
It is Amanda and Paul’s wish that Montana Sloane be named in the Jewish tradition. It’s an honor to offer this ceremonial aspect now.
Brucha ha-ba’ah b’shem Adonai.
Welcome in the name of the Creator.
A blessing recited by Amanda, Montana’s mother:
Baruch ata Adonai, Ehloheinu mehlech ha’olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu l’hachnisah bi’v’rit hachayim.
We praise you, Eternal God, Sovereign of the universe: You hallow us with Your Mitzvot, and command us to bring our daughter into the Covenant of Life.
A blessing recited by Paul, Montana’s father:
Baruch ata Adonai, Ehloheinu mehlech ha’olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al kidush hachayim.
We praise you, Eternal God, Sovereign of the universe: You hallow us with Your Mitzvot, and command us to sanctify our life.
The Shehecheyanu recited together by both parents:
Baruch ata Adonai, Ehloheinu mehlech ha’olam, shehechehyanu, v’ki y’manu, v’higianu laz’man ha-zeh.
We praise You, Eternal God, Sovereign of the universe, for giving us life, for sustaining us, and for enabling us to reach this season.
Rev. Joe: Amanda and Paul please recite these words…
May we lead our daughter in the way of righteousness. Teach us to guide and instruct her, that she may grow up to be loyal to Judaism and a worthy member of the Jewish community.
Now in the presence of loved ones, we give to you the name Faith. Let it become a name honored and respected for wisdom and good deeds. Faith, we commit ourselves to the unfolding of your promise, may you walk the path of goodness, beauty, and truth. Do justly and love mercy and be humble before the mystery of life and the grandeur of the universe into which you have been born.
May God’s blessing rest on you now and always.
Christian Giving of Name
And in the Christian Tradition…
“What name have you chosen for this child?”
Parents: “Montana Sloane”
“So be it. We Christen you Montana Sloane in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
I Christen you that you may know the pure and holy spirit of God. May you come to know God within your heart all the days of your life.”
Rev. Joe blesses the holy water
Montana is held with her head over a bowl to catch the water
“Montana, as a child of the covenant, receive this blessing. In Baptism you are sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked as Christ’s own forever.
Rev. Joe baptizes Montana and then makes the sign of the cross over her head.
I baptize you Montana Sloane in the name of the Father; and of the Son; and in the name of the Holy Spirit; Amen.
Let us pray,
Almighty God, we place ourselves under the guidance of your Holy Spirit. Grant us – and this child now dedicated to you – a clear understanding of the duties and obligations we now assume. We pray for the care and protection of Montana in body and soul. We surrender her to your hands. Send your angels to bless and attend to her always. May her heart grow strong, may she love patiently, and may she learn the power of forgiveness.
This, we pray in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord, Amen.”
Anointing with Oil
“Throughout the Bible, anointing with oil was an act in recognition of wealth, prominence, inheritance and position. Yet in the anointing of Christ before his death on the cross, we were shown that the true measure of possession, inheritance and wealth is not found by worldly measures.
Montana, your family and I will now anoint thee to remind you, and all of us here, of the true wealth you now possess as one forever in the Kingdom of God. No one could possess more than this.
Rev. Joe anoints Montana’s chest
“In the name of the Father; of the Son; and the Holy Spirit; Amen.”
“The lighting of candles has many spiritual meanings. The glow represents the light of a person’s life. The flame represents the eternal truth of God. The light shining forth represents God’s truth shining forth upon the world.
To collectively light a candle represents the sharing and fellowship of faith; and in Christianity specifically, it traditionally represents the unity of the individual believers in Christ with the body of believers of Christianity, both in this world and in heaven.
Ultimately, what’s most important is that in lighting these candles today, we acknowledge the joining of our individual lights into one… One light, one life, one love, one family, and one community forever and ever, Amen.
I now ask the Parents and Godparents all to take their candles and light them. Then together, light the center candle for Montana, as the guiding light of his life.
Parents and Godparents light their tapers then together they light the center candle
I ask that at the conclusion of this service, each of you keep your candle for this reason:
Should there be a time in Montana’s future for which he faces difficult times of trial, or be called upon to make grave decisions – of hardship or joy, or become lost in spirit – you might find a quiet place alone to yourself. Light this candle, or another, and pray in whatever way feels right for you, to ask for the safekeeping and healing of Montana.
Closing Words and Presentation
Montana, from this day onward, no matter how dark the world may seem nor how alone and lost you may feel, you shall never be alone again, never without hope, or assurance of peace. For you have a family that loves you, a community that will keep you, a Spirit that will guide you, and a God that will always see and celebrate the perfect light that lives within you.
The Lord Bless you and Keep you; Make His face shine upon you and be gracious unto you; Lift His Countenance unto you and give you peace. By the grace of Spirit, Amen.”
Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my honor to present to you, Faith Montana Sloane.