"Sojourners has inspired us for years, and now I know it will continue to in the future." The woman who spoke these words was a guest at Sojourners' Sunday worship, and the occasion was the dedication of two of our babies. Kate Spivey and Jessica Rice-Longenecker were the center of attention. They and our other children do indeed embody much of our hope for the future.
Joyce Hollyday began the service of dedication by lighting a candle for each child and praying that the light of Christ would shine in Kate and Jessica. Then she led the congregation in the following simple prayer:
We thank you, God, for Kate and Jessica. We receive their new life as a gift to our life.
ALL: As Jessica and Kate come to us right from your heart, so we will take them into our hearts. We here offer Kate and Jessica to you, God.
We release them into your loving arms.
We dedicate their lives in the hope that they will love and serve you.
We also pledge ourselves to love Jessica and Kate, to care for and protect them, to raise arid nurture them, in faith, hope, and love.
We promise to Kate and Jessica our resources, gifts, and faithfulness, that they might know themselves as your children, as our sisters, and as strong women in faith and love.
Joyce then held each child and offered a prayer for her, her parents, and for the community. Kate looked wide-eyed and curious throughout the whole affair, while Jessica was a little unhappy. When Jessica gets older she will appreciate the significance of the robe she wore, which was first worn by her great grandfather at his baptism in 1900. It was indeed a happy day for parents, grandparents, and all of us.
The rest of our children were especially attentive and engaged. During Sunday school time, they had made special flowers as gifts for Kate and Jessica.