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.
“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.
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
“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,
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.
“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.
creating sacred space
Holding our joys
Along with our sorrows
Lifting each other up
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.