Holidays and Traditions
Unitarian Universalism is a diverse faith tradition with roots not only in Christianity and Judaism but also in various world religions, earth-based spirituality, and humanism. We have a number of holidays and traditions inspired by many faith traditions but that reflect our own values.
The Flower Communion is an annual ritual, usually celebrated on Easter Sunday, celebrating the beauty and diversity of our beloved community. Originally created in 1923 by Unitarian minister Norbert Capek (Czechoslovakia), the Flower Communion was intended as a symbolic ritual to connect people. It was introduced to the U.S. by his widow, Rev. Maya Capek.
In this ceremony, everyone brings a flower of their choosing and places it in shared vases on the altar. After the flowers are blessed, each person comes forward to select a different flower than the one they brought, appreciating the shared beauty and community in the exchange.
Soap Box Sunday is a unique UUJXN service created by (late) member Fran Leber. Soap Box Sunday is held on the Sunday closest to July 4th and is an opportunity to exercise your free speech.
During this service, everyone is encouraged to literally stand on their soapbox (if willing and able) to speak on any topic for two minutes. Afterwards, speakers are “applauded off,” if need be.)
The Blending of the Waters is typically held on the Sunday after Labor Day (or the Sunday closest to September 7th, UUJXN’s founding day). Originating with UU congregations in the 1980s, this ceremony marks the end of summer and the beginning of the new church year.
In this ceremony, everyone is encouraged bring a small amount of water from a place they traveled over the summer or that reflects a place that is special to them. “Symbolic” water is provided for those without water. During the service, people one by one pour their water together into a large bowl. The combined water is symbolic of our coming together in a shared faith from many different sources. The water is blessed by the congregation. A small amount is collected and stored to add to next year’s water communion. The remaining water may be added to the memorial garden or used as the congregation for child dedication ceremonies or other events in need of “holy water.”
Stone Soup Sunday is typically held on a Sunday in November before Thanksgiving. Led annually by member Dary Shenefelt, Stone Soup Sunday is an annual ritual that celebrates the bounty found in community.
Before the service, everyone is encouraged to bring vegetables, grains, and herbs to add to prepared soup stocks and items to contribute to a local food pantry. During this service, the food donations are collected and the story of Stone Soup is read (or acted out) while the soups cook. Afterwards everyone shares in the bounty created together.
The Burning Bowl or Fire Communion is an annual ritual celebrated at the end of the year (or beginning of a new year). It marks the transition by letting go of the past and expressing hope for the future.
In this annual ritual, everyone is encouraged to write out words and/or draw symbols on paper that is then placed in a burning caldron allowing the paper to be consumed and the burdens to be released. Wishes and hopes for the future are also recognized through the lighting of candles.