The Water Communion
The Water Communion, also sometimes called Water Ceremony, was first used at a Unitarian Universalist service in the 1980s. Many UU congregations now hold a Water Communion once a year. At BUUF we do this at the beginning of the new year.
Members bring to the service a small amount of water from a place that is special to them. During the service, people one by one pour their water together into a large bowl. As the water is added, the person who brought it tells why this water is special to them. The combined water is symbolic of our shared faith coming from many different sources.
Chalica is an unofficial holiday originally conceived by Daylene Marshall of Vancouver, BC as a way to celebrate and put into intentional practice the Seven Principles of the Unitarian Universalist tradition - one a night, for seven nights. The celebration begins on the first Monday of December, and is marked by the lighting of a chalice each day (or evening). Gifts that reflect the particular day's Principle may be given, however the focus tends to be more on mindfulness and action. For ideas on ways to celebrate Chalica, see http://www.uuidentity.com/chalica
All Heretics Day
All Heretics Day is a day when Unitarians around the world celebrate our history of heresy and the freedom this has brought.
A Heretic is one who maintains religious opinions contrary to those accepted by his or her church and makes the choice to stand for those opinions. Unitarian Universalist liberal religious history is filled with prominent people who chose to speak out and stand as independent thinkers for their convictions. People like Michael Servetus, Francis David,Joseph Priestley (Unitarian minister and noted scientist who discovered oxygen), Thomas Jefferson. In Australia, our Unitarian pioneers were treated as heretics in their day - John Crawford Woods, Martha Turner, Thomas Fyshe Palmer, and Catherine Helen Spence.
Many Unitarians consider themselves to be heretics to the prevailing religious views in their societies and unlike people in other religions, think heresy is a positive thing.
Thirty years ago, Rev. Dick Weston-Jones, minister for the Christchurch NZ Unitarians, started this Unitarian holiday to celebrate those whose courage led to our freedom to enjoy our lives and express our beliefs as we choose. Without their heresy, our freedom would be less. Some had been Unitarians, while others like Martin Luther King Jr. were not Unitarians, however lived in ways that opened our world to more freedom and love.
All Heretics Day is celebrated on April 1st every year in memory of those who were both heroes and heretics, reformers, questioners, and seekers. They defied the religious conventions of their times and made greater choices for us all today.