Seasons and Rituals
Like many Unitarian Universalist congregations, UUCA has special services and annual celebrations related to holidays and UU traditions. We gather for worship on Sundays at 11 am. Our worship follows the seasons of the church year and is tied to the seasons of the natural year too. We often observe significant holy days from other traditions.
In our Unitarian Universalist tradition, we welcome babies and children into our community with a service in which we commit ourselves to caring for the child. Several times a year we recognize new members and welcome them into our community with a New Member Welcome ceremony during the Sunday service..
Some unique features of our worship year include:
September and October
In late summer a multigenerational Ingathering service reaffirms our community ties and celebrates the coming year.
The new church year begins on this day with our ritual of Water Communion. We bring water from places we experience as sacred and pour it into a common bowl. This water is purified and used for our child blessing rituals. In September we often reflect on wisdom from the Jewish High Holy Days.
The Blessing of the Animals occursy in October. This is a multigenerational, interspecies service when people bring their companion animals, or pictures of them, and we acknowledge the importance of animals in our lives.
The end of October brings our annual service of remembering, when we remember those who have died. This service reflects the overlap of the church tradition of All Saints’ and All Souls’ days, and the earlier Pagan tradition of Samhain, which mark the thinning of the veil between the living and the dead at this time of year. This is observed as the Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) on the Sunday closest to Nov. 1.
November and December
In November we observe our national feast day of Thanksgiving, followed by the beginning of the season of Advent, the four Sundays the precede Christmas. Advent is a time for quiet preparation. We observe the Christmas season with a special service that reflects holiday themes. On Christmas Eve, we offer a candlelight service of lessons and carols. This popular late-night contemplative service features special music, carols, and candle lighting“, as well as our Moravian Love Feast and child dedication.
In acknowledging the pain and sadness many people experience as the holidays approach, we invite all members and friends of the congregation who find the holidays difficult to a “Blue Christmas” worship service near the time of Winter Solstice. This uniquely Unitarian Universalist service of remembrance features seasonal and uplifting meditation, readings, and instrumental and vocal music performances.
January, February and March
Martin Luther King Jr. Sunday reminds us of our commitment to social justice.
February is Side with Love month and usually brings the beginning of Lent, the Christian preparation for Easter. Often we mark International Darwin Day, encouraging the celebration of science and humanity throughout the global community. (darwinday.org)
A Sunday closest to the Spring Equinox might reflect on the themes of renewal and regeneration.
April, May and June
Unitarian Universalists interpret Easter in diverse ways. Some of identify as Christian and follow the teachings and example of Jesus in his ministry, death and resurrection. Others of us understand resurrection in a more metaphorical way. And some of us primarily celebrate Easter as the return of light and warmth after the death of winter. Whatever our theology, we welcome the coming of this happy day!
In April, on the Sunday closest to Earth Day, we offer a service that helps us to give thanks for the good earth and commit to caring for her.
At this time of year we will often have a Flower Communion service. The Flower Communion service is a Unitarian tradition in which congregants bring a flower to share reminding us of our connection to each other. First celebrated in Prague during the time of the Nazis, it’s a lovely ritual of peace and friendship.
One Sunday in June we celebrate our children and youth Religious Education programs and class transitions.