The Animal Blessing service occurs every other year and is a formal ceremony to give thanks and bless our companions: cats, dogs, birds, turtles, hamsters, chickens, fish, etc. This service acknowledges that our lives are richer because of the animals that not only live with us but among us and throughout the world.
The Animal Blessing service originates from the Catholic tradition, but Unitarian Universalists have made it their own as it relates to the seventh principle: Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
Festival of Lights
The Festival of Lights is a special evening presentation to honor the multitude of winter religious celebrations. Unitarian Universalism proclaims a “living tradition” of wisdom and spirituality drawn from six sources of cultural experiences and world religions. Our Festival of Lights embraces the winter celebrations of many traditions and religions. The sanctuary is decorated with holiday lights and candles, and the evening is filled with stories, music, symbols, processions, ceremonies, and foods representing numerous celebrations. Chalica, Kwanzaa, Christmas, Las Posadas, Winter Solstice, Hanukkah, Bodhi Day, St. Lucia’s Day, and Diwali are examples of the celebrations that have been presented.
The Flower Communion is celebrated each spring with the combining of many types of flowers, symbolizing human uniqueness, beauty, diversity, and community. Participants are asked to each bring one flower to the service to be placed in a large vase. At the end of the service, each participant takes home a different flower as a representation of our diversity.
The Flower Communion ceremony began in 1923 by Unitarian minister Dr. Norbert Capek of Prague, Czechoslovakia. It also honors the memory of Dr. Capek who was captured by Nazi soldiers in 1940 when they discovered his gospel of the inherent worth and dignity of every person, our first principle. He was killed the following year in a Nazi “medical experiment.” Dr. Capek’s message of human hope and dignity lives on in the annual Flower Communion.
Each fall Prairie Lakes dedicates a service to share the bounty of our gardens (or farmers’ markets) with those less fortunate. The Harvest Festival is also a time to give thanks to those who grow our food and honor our planet for the life sustaining bounty. Participants are encouraged to bring home grown or purchased vegetables for the service. Our sanctuary is often decorated with baskets filled with vegetables and fruits. Following the service, the vegetables and fruits are donated to a local food pantry, continuing our service to the greater community.
The Water Sharing service is held each fall upon the conclusion of the busy summer months. This is a time for participants to come together again and share their summer adventures. Participants bring a small sample of water from a special location. During the service, each participant adds the water to a large vessel of waters collected by other participants from their places of significance near and far. As the water intertwines, it reminds us of not only the people we come together with at Prairie Lakes but also those within our communities and throughout the world.
The Water Sharing service, sometimes known as a Water Communion, began in Unitarian Universalist churches in the 1980’s.
Baby/Child Dedication, Wedding, and Memorial/Funeral ceremonies mark important life passages. These services are tailored to each family’s traditions and spiritual values. While Prairie Lakes does not have a minister on staff, we can assist with finding a clergy person to officiate a special life transition ceremony
Art and Service Auction
The Art and Service Auction is held each spring at Prairie Lakes to raise money for special projects. Attendees are provided with humorous sketches and various talents. Interspersed between the entertaining “acts,” a live auction is held. A silent auction, basket raffle, 50-50 raffle, and direct sale items are all part of this great evening. Prairie Lakes encourages members, friends, and the community to share in this evening of food, liquid refreshments, and fellowship. For many, it is a highlight of the year and a true FUNdraiser.