Special Unitarian Universalist Services
Each Unitarian Universalist Church is different, with its own rythmn of special seasons and ceremonies. Here at First Unitarian Church of Omaha, there are a few traditions that we treasure in addition to our diverse theological and philosophical presentation of services crafted throughout the year.
The Flower Communion usually takes place in the spring near the time of Easter. In this ceremony, members of the congregation are asked beforehand to bring a flower to the Sunday service. Upon entering the sanctuary, each person places his or her flower on the altar or in a shared vase. At the end of the service, each person brings home a flower other than the one that he or she brought.
Reginald Zottoli wrote "The significance of the flower communion is that as no two flowers are alike, so no two people are alike, yet each has a contribution to make. Together the different flowers form a beautiful bouquet. Our common bouquet would not be the same without the unique addition of each individual flower, and thus it is with our church community: it would not be the same without each and every one of us. Thus this service is a statement of our community."
The Flower communion service was originally created in 1923 by Unitarian minister Norbert Capek, who founded the Unitarian Church in Czechoslovakia. The service was later brought to the United States by his wife, Maya.
The Water Ceremony, was first used at a Unitarian Universalist (UU) worship service in the 1980s. We hold a Water Ceremony once a year, often at the beginning of the new church year (September).
Members bring to the service a small amount of water from a place that is special to them. During the appointed time in 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. It is often then blessed by the congregation, and sometimes is later boiled and used as the congregation's "holy water" in child dedication ceremonies and similar events.
Rather than holding Christian-style baptisms, we have child dedication ceremonies for infants, young adopted children, or young children whose families have recently joined the congregation.
Child dedication ceremonies are usually crafted by the parents and the congregation's minister working closely together. Many will include the following elements:
A blessing for the new life of the child
An expression of the parent or parents’ hopes for the child
A promise by the congregation to support and nurture the child in its spiritual life
Adults are not required to be or become baptized when joining the Unitarian Universalist faith. To learn more about Unitarian Universalist beliefs, please visit Are My Beliefs Welcome?
Coming of Age
Unitarian Universalist teenagers usually join their congregations with a special "Coming of Age" ceremony. We typically have this during Mother's Day or Father's Day. This ceremony is preceded by a year-long curriculum helping them to learn more about Unitarian Universalism and articulate their own beliefs. The Coming of Age ceremony features the youth reading their statements of personal belief (credo statements) to the congregation.