Amelia’s Baby Naming Ceremony

Baby Naming Without Guide Parents Named

cheinfamily BN newWelcome, everyone.

You were invited here today by Victoria De La Torre and Chong-Ren Chien to celebrate the naming of their daughter, Amelia Consuelo Chien.

Today we will formally welcome Amelia to the family, the circle of friends, the community and the world. During this ceremony, you will be given an opportunity to pledge your support for Amelia’s wellbeing as shegrows and matures into a young lady.

My name is Margaret Downey.

I am a Secular Humanist Officiant certified by the Center for Inquiry to conduct non-denominational rites of passage ceremonies.

You may recognize me from Victoria and Chong’s wedding.

I had the esteem honor of conducting their Secular Humanist wedding ceremony.

Secular Humanism is a non-religious ethical philosophy that encourages each of us – in our own way – to work towards a more humane and responsible world.

In welcoming and naming a child with this ceremony, we celebrate one of life’s most glorious natural phenomena – the birth of a human being and the continuation of humankind.

We also today acknowledge that Amelia has been born into the concern and care of not only her parents, but also of this gathering and the entire humanist community.

Above all else, a secular humanist naming ceremony is about the expression of joy – the joy of Amelia’s life. It is also a time to consider our responsibilities towards her and all the children on this earth.

In formally naming Amelia, we mark her individuality and uniqueness as a person. The phrase, “it takes a village to raise a child” is so very true.

You are here today representing the larger community in which this child will grow up. It is through you that she will come to know her world.

By your support, example and encouragement you have a part to play in the development of Amelia, so she can achieve her fullest potential.

We, therefore, begin with a few serious questions.

These questions are for those who will take an active role in Amelia’s life.

These questions are for those who will be part of her circle of support – at the ready should the need arise.

I will ask you all a question and trust that you will signify your commitment with a one-word and heartfelt affirmative “yes” response.

First, to everyone, family and friends, gathered here today, will you give this child your heart-warming welcome?

(response from attendees)

Will you accept the privilege and the responsibility of nurturing the freedom and spirit of this child?

Thank you for that lovely response.

(response from attendees)

And now I direct the next few questions to Amelia’s grandparents, aunts and uncles. Please respond to the questions by saying. “We will.”

Please rise.

Being a grandparent, aunt or uncle is a joyful, tender and solemn duty. Will you agree to share your wisdom with Amelia?

(“We will,” response from grandparents, aunts, and uncles)

Will you respect, befriend and love Amelia for the rest of your natural life?

(“We will,” response from grandparents, aunts, and uncles)

Thank you. Please be seated.

I now call on Consuelo, who is Amelia’s maternal grandmother, to read Dorothy Law Nolte’s poem, Children

Learn What They Live:

If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient;

If a child lives with encouragement,

she learns confidence;

If a child lives with praise,

he learns to appreciate;

If a child lives with fairness,

she learns justice;

If a child lives with security,

he learns to have faith in himself and in those around him.



Thank you, Consuelo.

We formally recognize the name of this precious child in this ceremony, and by doing so we declare that the child is an individual – a unique and separate person – with a dignity, personality and life of her own.

A name once given will be associated forever with a face, a voice, a walk, a laugh and all the other idiosyncrasies our families and friends recognize as a reflection of this child’s individuality.

This child’s name will be spoken, whispered, shouted, cried, sung and written – thousands of times, impersonally and meaningfully – by family, friends, neighbors, teachers, doctors, colleagues, loves, strangers, and maybe by children and grandchildren.

The name will define her identity.

The first name, Amelia, was selected because, frankly, Chong and Victoria liked the way it sounded. Chong, who is a big fan of the Dr. Who series, heard the name Amelia and it resonated with him.

He suggested the name “Amelia” to Victoria and she agreed that it was a very nice name.

Chong and Victoria hope to provide Amelia with wonderful role models.

As Amelia grows, they plan to convey to their daughter that her name was also inspired by the wonderful legacy of Amelia Earhart.

Both Chong and Victoria, admire the adventurous goals and feminist legacy of Amelia Earhart.

They will help their daughter fulfill all her dreams and they will encourage Amelia to reach new heights, break through social barriers and set a course of complete happiness.

Consuelo is Amelia’s middle name.

It was given to her because Consuelo is the middle name of Victoria's mother's and Consuelo is Victoria's middle name.

The name “Consuelo” means “consolation.”

Just as Ana Consuelo and Victoria Consuelo have done throughout their lives, we know that Amelia will also offer sincere and loving comfort to those who suffer a loss or disappointment, thus exemplifying and living up to the name Consuelo.

Consuelo is a cherished family name and now Amelia will carry it forward. The last name of Amelia Consuelo is Chien.

In Chinese, Chien means “money.”

While money does not bring a person health or guaranteed, happiness, it certainly helps to achieving those goals.

We hope having the last name of Chien will bring money, health and happiness to little Amelia Consuelo. Chong’s father’s last name is Chien as is Chong’s.

Giving Amelia that last name continues a family tradition.

Cong and Victoria please stand and hold Amelia in your arms with her little body nestled between you both. To become responsible, productive and caring people, children need the freedom to develop their own unique talents, interests and capacities.

Parents hope that their children will lead happy and satisfying lives, respecting the needs and interests of other people, and develop – to the extent they are able – an ability to see the two sides of every story, to think critically and to love passionately.

Amelia will need a supportive environment in which she can learn to appreciate the value of love, friendship, compassion, and cooperation.

Amelia will need a stimulating environment where she can develop the ability to ask questions, seek rational answers, and to make thoughtful decisions.

Amelia will need to be loved and respected for her unique qualities; not for what we think she should be, but for who she is.

Creating a home where a child can develop a strong positive sense of self is one of the greatest gifts parents can give.

Victoria and Chong will you do all you can to help Amelia become a responsible, caring and thoughtful person?

(“We will,” response from parents)

Will you love and cherish Amelia’s uniqueness and help her develop a strong sense of self?

(“We will,” response from parents)

Will you commit to recognizing Amelia’s feelings, giving her opportunities to be curious to explore the world and discover how she can make it better?

(“We will,” response from parents)

Will you commit to listening rather than lecturing; praising, rather than punishing; encouraging rather than criticizing?

(“We will,” response from parents)

Please seal this vow with a kiss to Amelia’s forehead.

We wish for Victoria and Chong patience, understanding and perseverance as they try to be the best possible parents for Amelia.

I now call on Ellen Birrell, for the second reading, The Gift, a poem by Rabindranath Tagore.

I want to give you something, my child,

for we are drifting in the stream of the world.

Our lives will be carried apart, and our love forgotten.

But I am not so foolish as to hope that I could buy your heart with my gifts.

Young is your life, your path long, and you drink the love we bring you at one draught and turn and run away from us.

You have your play and your playmates.

What harm is there if you have no time or thought for us? We, indeed, have leisure enough in old age to count the days that are past, to cherish in our hearts

what our hands have lost forever.

The river runs swift with a song, breaking through all barriers. But the mountain stays and remembers, and follows her with his love.


Thank you, Ellen.

Victoria and Chong have started a memory box for Amelia.

Throughout her childhood they will place cards, documents, letters and other items in this box, which will remain filled with special memories.

We initiate this activity by having available photos of each of you here today.

Please write your wishes to Amelia on the back of the photo, then place the photo in the box.

If you have not placed your photo and well wishes in the box, please remember to do so before leaving today. The wishes you write today will begin the tradition of adding mementoes throughout Amelia’s early years. Later, she can add to the box herself.

Join me now as we welcome our dear sweet Amelia to the world. As Amelia grows, may life be gentle with her.

May she take her place as a useful, caring member of society, and appreciate all that is good in the world. We wish her good health.

May she live a happy and fulfilled life.

Welcome to this world, this family and this circle of friends, Amelia Consuelo Chien. Congratulations to all of