Each year, like most Unitarian Universalist congregations, we mark the beginning of a new church year in September by observing the Communion of the Waters; a ritual in which each of us brings a little bit of water to church to pool into a common font, symbolic of the way our lives and our spiritual journeys merge into a greater whole as we share in community. Of course, this is an unusual time, at the threshold of what we expect to be an unusual year. How can we have a Rally Sunday when we literally cannot rally together? How can we hold an Ingathering, when we explicitly are not gathering in? Prepared, as we are, for many more months of social distancing, with all our services held on-line, how can we find connection and the shared spiritual sustenance that we renew each year in the Water Communion? Trying times call for us to be even more determined to connect with one another, and even more creative in the ways we find to observe our cherished rituals.
There are two ways to participate in this year’s special Water Communion – please feel invited to do either or both, as you are willing and as your circumstances allow. The first is to send in a picture for the photo montage that will be displayed during the Zoom worship service on September 13th. When the Water Communion ceremony was first conceived in 1980, it focused, in part, on water as our shared point of origin and the source of our very being. For this year’s ceremony, we’re returning to that theme. Your picture should have some water in it that is personal to you. Most of us are staying pretty close to home these days, so please don’t feel an expectation for distant and unusual locations! Your kitchen sink, a drinking glass, a garden hose – all of these are very valid choices. Because we all dearly miss each other, you are particularly invited to send along a picture that includes you in it – we would love to see your face! Please either take the picture yourself or have permission from the photographer to use it. You may submit a photo with this link:
Throughout this highly unorthodox church year, we’ll be trying to find new ways in which we can share in rituals and meaningful experiences that take place in-person while still practicing the utmost care to prevent transmission of COVID-19. So the second way of participating in this year’s Water Communion is by coming to First Parish to add your water to our common font, in person. There will be two open opportunities to do so:
Thursday, September 10th from 1pm – 3pm, and
Saturday, September 12th from 2pm – 4pm
On the sidewalk in front of the church steps, there will be place where you can pour your water, and a blessing to read for it, if you wish. Just like every other year, there will also be a jug of water from the previous year’s ceremony – so you don’t even need to remember to bring water yourself and can add your water symbolically if you wish. Rev. Kelly will be on hand to watch over and maintain the ritual space, to greet you, and to take your picture for the montage, if you’re willing. Please use the same good safety practices you would for any other outing right now: washing your hands before and after, maintaining social distance from people outside your household, and wearing a mask. If more than one person or family shows up at the same time, it’s wonderful to wave and greet each other, we just ask that you allow for the flow of traffic on the sidewalk, and not inadvertently become a crowd. If you would like to participate in this way but can’t make either the Thursday or the Saturday times, please call Rev. Kelly to make alternate arrangements: 585-329-0781.