Heart & Mind - Dr. Lou Yock
Our Water Communion is a special day at People’s Church. Celebrated the Sunday after Labor Day, it comes at that time in September when a sense of “getting down to business” awakens in us. The start of school and regular schedules, fewer tourists on the street, and, dare I say it, cooler weather, all seem to trigger a sense of renewal and crisp, fresh starts.
Of course, the Water Communion is a wider Unitarian Universalist celebration. Sometimes called the “Ingathering” or the “Water Ceremony,” it was first celebrated in 1980, at the Women and Religion Continental Convocation of Unitarian Universalists in East Lansing. Since then it has spread throughout the UUA, and, as we are UUs, each congregation interprets its meaning and significance. It is often used on the Sunday after Labor Day as the “Ingathering” of the congregants returning from summer activities and vacations, and seen as the start of a new church year.
I think that the Water Communion began in the Great Lakes State is meaningful. When we discuss social justice issues, water always leads the discussion list. When we talk about environmentalism, water issues come to the fore. For many of us in Michigan, our livelihood depends on our fresh water resources.
Having just come through a dry spell, we are reminded how important water is to our well being. We recognize that water is the source of life, and necessary for cleansing and growth. This is the metaphor I would like us to keep in mind during our “Ingathering,” for both those who can attend the ceremony on September 11th, and those who will be away.
As the water increases and mingles, may our talents, aspirations, and love for each other grow; and just as water provides renewal and life to the earth, may our communion provide freshness and growth to our church and our community.
After the ceremony, the collected water, which represents our communion, is used for special occasions, like dedications and naming ceremonies. In this way, our collective good will, support, and affirmations are symbolically represented by this water that came together with our good thoughts and words at the water ceremony.
May all that is good in us continue to grow through our continued communion. May we be refreshed and renewed in each others company.