If you’ve been part of the Heritage Church community for a year or more, you know that one of our most beloved Unitarian Universalist traditions is the end-of-summer Water Ceremony. Everyone is encouraged to collect a small amount of water from somewhere special to them over the course of the summer, and then bring that water to our sanctuary on the last Sunday of summer. At that time, we pour all our waters together to create the upcoming year’s “holy water” to symbolize our deep interconnection with one another (and for use at ceremonial occasions, such as baby dedications, weddings and funerals).
With COVID-19, we won’t be gathering together in person this year for our traditional Ingathering Sunday. However, that doesn’t mean our annual Water Ceremony can’t happen! Our 2020 Water Ceremony will take place – as do all our worship services right now – virtually, on Sunday, August 30. Between now and then, you are encouraged, as always, to collect some water from a special place (though we hope and expect the locales won’t be nearly as far-flung or exotic as they sometimes are!).
Maybe with the pandemic, you have come to see a particular water source close to or even in your home as meaningful or spiritually significant (a bathtub where you have found peace amid the chaos; your tap water source, once taken for granted; a hose in your yard where the kids play on hot summer days; a nearby creek – the possibilities are endless). As we come to greater appreciation of the simple blessings of life during this strange time, perhaps our annual Water Ceremony can reflect that; maybe distant travels and vacations will be replaced, if only temporarily, by comforts much closer to home.
So this summer, remember to collect some special water. Then have it with you during our Water Ceremony on August 30. In big, legible letters, write where it came from on a piece of paper or cardboard approximately 8½ by 11 inches. Have that sheet with you on August 30 as well. You will be prepared for our Water Ceremony, 2020 style.
Oh – and don’t worry. We still have some of our 2019-20 “holy water” from last year’s Water Ceremony, that can be used during ceremonial occasions if needed in the months ahead.