Rituals and Celebrations
Fire Communion is held on the Sunday closest to January 1. It is an opportunity to celebrate the beginning of a new year. Themes can include reflection upon the year that has just passed, hope for the promise of the year to come, resolutions to change, the passage of time, hope, expectation and dreaming of a creating a better tomorrow. In this service, congregants burn pieces of paper containing brief descriptions of something they most wish to leave behind and light a candle for a new hope for the coming year.
The Flower Communion ceremony is usually held in June, involves members of the congregation bringing a flower to Sunday worship service and placing it in a shared vase. The flowers are blessed and the sermon usually reflects upon the flowers’ symbolism. At the end of the service, each person brings home a flower other than the one that he or she brought. The Flower Communion is intended to symbolize the way in which, just as no two flowers are alike, so no two people are alike, yet each has a contribution to make to the community. This is a wonderful way to affirm and celebrate our Unitarian Universalist faith and the spiritual community we create when we join together in our congregations. Flower Communion was originally created in 1923 by Unitarian minister Norbert Capek,who founded the Unitarian Church in Czechoslovakia. The service was later brought to the United States by his wife, Maya.
Our Water Communion service is usually held on our Homecoming Sunday in September. This service, sometimes also called the Water Ceremony, was first used at a Unitarian Universalist congregation in the 1980s. Many congregations now hold a Water Communion once a year, often at the beginning of the new church year in September. Members bring to Sunday worship service a small amount of water from a place that is special to them or from a place they have visited over the summer. During the service, people one by one pour their water together into a large bowl. As the water is added, each person explains why this water is special to them. The combined water is symbolic of our shared Unitarian Universalist faith coming from many different sources.
Our Heritage Bread Communion is usually held on the Sunday prior to Thanksgiving. Members of our congregation will bake bread that draws form their own families history or traditions. Some of that bread will be baked in the sanctuary (in bread machines) so that the room will be flooded with the smell! The communion flows very much like the water communion, but instead of adding water to a common pitcher, the participants take bread from a common table.