Churches of all kinds have a “calendar year” with certain recurring observances that are marked by special worship services. Here are the main holidays and ceremonies observed at UUCJ. For a complete list of possible UU holidays and ceremonies, along with resources to observe them: https://www.uua.org/worship/holidays
Our year begins in September with a welcome back to those whose activities over the summer have taken them to other places or activities. This is our “Water Ceremony” where we bring water from wherever we have been and pour it in a common vessel that symbolizes our return to our church home. We surround the ritual with song and story, with recognition and greeting.
Labor Day is celebrated literally by making the cleaning and restoration of our church property an act of worship, culminated by lunch for our laboring crew. It is a Sunday of cleaning up buildings and property, restoring order and beauty to physical structures we all share. Service components are themed to celebrate the accomplishments of working peoples.
Our Thanksgiving lunch is especially for our members who have no family nearby, and anyone who might feel lonely on this time for family reunions. It is also for anybody that just can’t get enough or that holiday mood. It is a collective effort to share our food contributions as well as our lives with one another.
Christmas Eve service is our one specifically Christian observance and one which we hope will be familiar to visitors in town for the holidays. Though we may not accept literally the biblical accounts of Jesus, we are glad to celebrate with readings and carols one of the major prophets of world culture. The service ends with a cookie bash, a tasty overload of sugared morsels.
Earth Day is a major event in our church, a celebration marked by music and the spoken word. There is an exhibit in the Social Hall of all the initiatives guided by our Green Sanctuary Committee. At this time, we focus on the Seventh Principle, “Respect for the inter-dependent web of all existence, of which we are a part.” We call upon our congregation to increase its awareness of threats to the environment and to commit to actions that promote sustainability.
Flower Communion is unique to Unitarian Universalism. It was begun by the founder of the Czechoslovakian Unitarian church, Norbert Capeka, to mark the end of the church year and center on the mutual sharing that makes a congregation. The Christian alternative, the Holy Communion service, embodies the ancient mythology of the moral fall of humankind and our rescue by blood sacrifice to an angry deity. We reject this entirely and emphasize the best in humankind, our mutual regard, as expressed by the exchange of flowers, living beauty of the earth.
Other “themed” services at UUCJ are provided for typical holidays such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Memorial Day, and Independence Day.