The Winds of Summer: a Water Communion Service to Gather The Beloved Community

Chalice Lighting:

We light this Chalice as a symbol of our Faith

And a reminder that we Belong to each other.

Just as the ocean receives back the waters of the river,

Today we return in communion and in welcome.


Call to Worship:

As we turn our attention to the Sacred,

May this service become a vessel that holds all that we call Holy.


May those who are seeking spiritual sanctuary

find solace in our gathering today.

STARHAWK’s vision of a “Circle of Friends” in her book Dreaming the Dark (p 92 )

invites us to consider what it means to be in Community.

She says:

“We are all longing to go home to some place we have never been

….a place half-remembered and half-envisioned
….we can only catch glimpses of from time to time.


there are people to whom we can speak with passion
without having the words catch in our throats.

Somewhere a circle of hands will open to receive us,
eyes will light up as we enter,
voices will celebrate with us whenever we come into our own power.

Community means strength that joins our strength
to do the work that needs to be done.

Arms to hold us when we falter.

A circle of healing.
A circle of friends.

Someplace where we can be free.”

Hymn #1046 Shall We Gather at the River
Story for All Ages (“Four Friends” by Donatella Young)

Responsive Reading: #729 “The Winds of Summer” by Patricia Shuttee

You and I and all of us blew about with the winds of summer,

Following the sun in different ways of freedom and play,

Finding rest in the cool stillness of shadows, and moving to the slow heat-struck rhythms which turned the long hours of summer light.

Now it is time for gathering in. We come together at this time and in this place on the bridge of autumn.

Summer is fading backward into memory, and winter waits in snowy brilliance.

We meet with eagerness and delight, needing one another for sharing.

We have joys and sorrows and hopes to share, questions, things we care about and want to help make better,

Things that we would like to understand, ideas waiting to be heard.

Today we are together in gladness, once more the special community that we call our church,

A community of all ages that sings its songs, tells its thoughts, asks its questions,
and searches together with courage and love.

Hymn #92 Mysterious Presence, Source of All

Meditation + Water Communion Ritual ((“Twinkle”))

Imagine this room as a Lake.

Each of us brought here as a drop of rain,


through the currents of connecting streams;

weaving and winding through the mountains,

over farmlands, and valleys…

Arriving here together,

intertwined on our journeys and experiences.

Imagine there is a River that flows from this Lake to

a great Ocean of all that is Living and Loved.

The Ocean – Our Source.

And we – the Waters of the Rivers Coming Home to Her.


and peaceful

and whole.

If you brought water with you today, please take the vessel in your hands.

If you did not bring water, please cup your hands and envision holding beautiful pristine water.

I invite you to Close your eyes for a moment

and breathe.  

“May we enter the Holy Quiet:

That place of Being that is within us,

and through us, and beyond us.”

Let us bless the water we hold in our hands.

May this water be a symbol of our individual journeys

Even as our communal vessel represents our covenanted community and all which we call Holy

As we pour our waters into One

May we recognize we Are One

May we discern the droplets contain

our joys along with our sorrows…

May our sharing of these waters

be in demonstration of our intention

to create throughout the coming year

deeper connections with each other

and spaces so sacred

that they can contain

all our triumphs along with all our fears.

Please come forward if you wish and pour your water into the vessel.

Feel free to share a word or a sentence about why the source of the water is of special significance to you.

I share this water from my home as a symbol of love and hope and of dreams come true. ~ Twinkle

May we be blessed by this sharing

and may we be blessings to each other.

Special Music: 
Special Music Somos El Barco
UU Singers Lorre Wyatt

Message: WL ((“Twinkle”))

The Winds of Summer beckon us forward to welcome the incoming of the Season’s end.

Reminding us that it is Time once again to gather in.

Gather in to this place where we know we are welcome, accepted…

and where we can be free. 

This place where a circle of hands will open to receive us,
and arms will hold us when we falter and when we need comfort.

Where we can work together, and explore together.

Community, and that which we call Holy.

That which, like water, can have many forms and qualities.

It can rain down upon us

drenching our spirits with much needed nourishment;

refreshing and replenishing

that which would otherwise be parched and wanting.

It can, like mist, roll in unexpectedly,

surrounding us in mystery and wonder.

It can like ice

remind us that there is so much more

than what meets us at the surface

of what we encounter. 

Encouraging us to look deeper,

explore deeper,

and live deeper into our faith.

Know that as we gather together,

we are mindfully creating space

to hold our most sacred intentions and experiences. 

And we do so in union with congregations throughout the Nation.

In 2012 a vision statement was Created through the Gathered Here process:

  • a joint initiative of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Board of Trustees
  • and the UUA Administration in which all Unitarian Universalists (UUs) were invited to discover our common aspirations and unleash the power of our faith. Many responded!

It was determined in the Vision Statement that:

“We Unitarian Universalists envision a life filled with compassion for all, shared in beloved community, and lived in a just world.

We commit ourselves to pursuing this vision faithfully, passionately, and humbly. We invite all who share our vision to join us in this spiritual journey.”

This vision, and the ideal it conveys,

continues to shape a collective vision for the UUA

and help professional and lay leaders

shape the future of Unitarian Universalism.

It is something that congregations and congregants,

autonomous in their function within our creedless faith,

can unite with sibling UUs in this shared vision

of active benevolence and genuine compassion.

As UUs we are not bound by denominational doctrine and dogma.

Rather… it is in the Seven Principles we claim to uphold

and the six sources from which we draw our faith

that allows us to claim Unitarian Universalism as our own,

and, to also be claimed by Unitarian Universalism.

Yes, claimed by the faith we hold dear.

Our vast umbrella of UU sources houses many paths of religious and spiritual exploration.

Christians, Jewish, Pagan,

Mystic, Humanist, Agnostic,

Atheist and more.

All come together within the safe harbor our congregations

offer to welcome in radical acceptance

each person on their journey towards home.

We belong together.

We belong to each other.

And we mark this belonging each year

when we gather for our adopted homecoming ritual of

The Water Communion. 

The Water Communion has its UU roots

in the 6th source of our living tradition:

That is to say…


“Spiritual teachings of earth-centered traditions

which celebrate the sacred circle of life

and instruct us to live in harmony

with the rhythms of nature.”

This Earth Based ritual grew up out of projects created

as part of the 1977 UU Women and Religion Resolution

which was designed to affirm women’s experiences

within our organization.

Most specifically, the feminine divine,

goddess tradition and shared leadership models

that patriarchy had long since

driven out of Earth’s popular religions, including ours.

The original water ceremony entitled:

Coming Home, Like Rivers to the Sea: A Woman’s Ritual”

was created by Carolyn McDade and Lucile Schuck Longview

along with Pat Simon, Rosemary Matson and others

for the worship service for the November 1980

Women and Religion Continental Convocation

of Unitarian Universalists in East Lansing, Michigan.

Almost two decades later, it was printed for distribution at the 1997 General Assembly of Unitarian Universalists in Phoenix, Arizona.

Since that time has morphed into annual ingathering services hosted by congregations throughout the world.

Which was expected and anticipated by its creators as such would be in alignment with the ever-evolving Living Tradition of our the UU Faith.

We embrace what feels good and feels right and enhance it.

We make it our own.

With that sentiment in mind,

the creators of the Water Communion Ritual said this:

(Sharing of the Waters)

“As water changes form and moves in a life-giving cycle,

so this water ceremony must move,

be in process,     change,    be in motion.

It needs always to be reflective of and integral to

the time and place of the people creating it.”

Decades after its original creation, Carolyn, Lucile, Pat, Rosemary and the other women involved with the original ceremony expressed the value of the collaborative process it took to create the service.

Their reflections mirror

what being in Beloved Community

can be for those actively participating

in the shaping of such a community.

They said,

“Creating that service … brought us together for many hours of sharing and conversation, analyzing, planning, creating, clarifying.

It called us to articulation,

to pulling foggy-shaped thoughts into words.

We each spoke and listened.

We wrote down one another’s words.

We spoke them back with added meaning.

It was a bonding and empowering experience for us,

and we commend this sort of experience to you.”

As they worked on preparing the service, their awareness increased about Water’s presence and deep meaning in our lives. Water became more than simply a metaphor.

For it is elemental and primary.

It calls forth feelings of awe and reverence.

They blessed the future of the Water Communion

and the Sharing of the Waters

with the hope that those who drew upon it

would reach for the depth and inclusiveness of such symbolism

in acknowledgement that we,

“need symbols with enabling power

that connect us with what we most deeply value

and which empower our expression of this in our lives.”

Here in this congregation

we are welcome to be ourselves,

offering comfort and strength to one another.

Here,   we heal   and we hone.

To do the work that needs to be done,

to Build The Beloved Community.

Ever learning,  

ever growing

Meeting challenges,  

solving problems

Gathering together, 

creating sacred space

Holding our joys

Along with our sorrows

Lifting each other up

Offering blessing

And Loving each other.

Knowing we are part of a larger family in fellowship.

Celebrating the sacred Circle of Life

Sometimes blown about with the Winds of Summer

And Always finding our way Home

to the Havens of our Congregations

Like the Rivers to the Sea.

May it be so.        

Blessed Be and Amen.

Extinguishing the Chalice:

As we extinguish this chalice

May the intent of its light be held in our hearts,

Kindling tender compassion

and a willingness to be gentle with each other.