Where have all the days of summer gone? It seems like it was only the beginning of June a week or so ago and all the days of summer (and all the many “summer time” projects that I wanted to accomplish!) lay ahead of me. The days seemed to fly by (and much of what I had hoped to accomplish flew by as well!).
UUCB is a “year round” church in that we do not cease our regular services of worship during the summer months. Closing church for the summer still happens in a number of our New England congregations, but out here in the West we keep our doors open and keep our many church programs up and running.
And yet, we do still designate a Homecoming Sunday – August 17th – when we gather as a Full Church Community (children and adults) to begin in earnest our fall church programming and to welcome back those families and individuals who have returned from their summer vacations. Area schools begin right around this time and we, at UUCB, celebrate this coming back to our church home with the decidely Unitarian Universalist ritual of the Water Ceremony.
For those relatively new to Unitarian Universalism, the Water Ceremony is where individuals and families bring small vials of water collected from their summer adventures away from our area. Throughout the travels over the summer, folks collect water from the streams, lakes, and bodies of water that they have visited and share them in a common vessel to help us remember the experiences and adventures that we have enjoyed during the summer.
Like the traditional hymn that we sing by Marion Franklin Ham (“As tranquil streams that meet and merge…”) we bring our collected waters and merge them into a common vessel of our shared summer adventures. Symbolic of our re-covenanting and re-convening as a religious community, when we bring our vials of water and pour them into a common container, we are sharing with others our hopes and dreams of what we are as a religious community and of what we want to accomplish together in the coming church program year.
An exciting 2014-2015 church year has been planned and is being anticipated for our entire church community. Following our Homecoming Sunday on August 17th, the very next weekend will be our All Church Retreat, August 22nd to the 24th, at Allenspark, CO. Our All Church Retreat will be an amazing time to deepen our sense of religious community and an informal setting to get to know one another more deeply and caringly as we learn, play, and share adventures together.
Our 2014-2015 church program year begins on August 17th with our Homecoming Full Church Worship and we will use every opportunity in the coming year to build on the growing of our relationships and friendships because that is what we are about at UUCB – growing and deepening our faith together.
I guess, as I think about it in this way, the fleeting pace of the summer days only highlights and points to the exciting days ahead of us as a religious community in the coming church year.