UU Sunday services are known for the diversity in their content and format. However, there are some special services our Fellowship looks forward to each year…
Ingathering with Water Sharing
Although our Sunday services continue through the summer months, we may not attend as regularly due to travel and other summer activities. The Ingathering service offers us an opportunity to come together once again at the end of summer and the start of a new church year. It is typically a lay-led service held the first Sunday in September. Featured in this service is a ritual called ‘watersharing.’ Fellowship members and friends are encouraged to collect a small amount of water during some significant event, life passage or travel experience over the summer, and then at ingathering are invited to come forward, share a brief comment about the significance of the water, and pour a small amount into a communal vessel. In this way, our stories are blended and joined together, helping us to reestablish the bonds of fellowship for the coming year.
Festival of Lights
The need for light at the darkest time of year has been expressed throughout human history in religious and secular traditions around the world. This December service celebrates the ways we bring light into our world at this time of year, including Christmas, Hanukkah, Divali, Kwanzaa and others. It is an intergenerational service led by a minister/lay leader team, often scheduled at 4:00 p.m. on the Saturday before Christmas.
Power of Humor
The spiritual value and power of laughter is acknowledged in this lay-led service which is typically held the first Sunday in January, post-holidays and just after the darkest point of the winter season. An important part of this service is the invitation for participants to share a joke, reading, story, poem or limerick, or maybe even a little juggling -- something that generates shared laughter and goodwill. UUs have a penchant for laughing at themselves, so Unitarian Universalist humor makes a frequent appearance. Guidelines are provided to ensure that content of the service is “G rated,” and does not denigrate others.
Q: Why are Unitarian Universalists the worst hymn singers?
A. Because they are always reading ahead to see if they agree with next line!
A Unitarian Universalist comes to a fork in the road. The sign pointing right says, "To Heaven." The sign pointing left says, "To a discussion about Heaven." The UU will invariably head left!
This relatively new tradition for PLUUF is an intergenerational service on the Sunday closest to May 1st. The history of ‘May Day’ is long and its interpretations are many, but the “dance around the Maypole” is a familiar phrase to us all. The service generally celebrates earth-centered and other Spring and May Day traditions. Following the service, the children are invited to dance around our very own Maypole, entwining colored ribbons as they dance.
This service is generally held in June, and is based on a tradition which originated at the Prague Congregation of Liberal Religious Fellowship founded in 1922 by Norbert Capek and his wife Maja. The beauty and significance of the Flower Communion Service has led to its annual observance in many UU churches and fellowships. In it, each participant has been asked to bring one flower to place in a communal vase. During or at the end of the service, everyone is invited forward to select a flower (different than the one brought) to take home:
Take one flower “just as it comes without making any distinction where it came from and whom it represents, to confess that we accept each other as brothers and sisters without regard to class, race, or other distinction, acknowledging everybody as our friend who is human and wants to be good.”
-- Norbert Capek, Liberal Religious Fellowship, Prague, June 1923