HOMECOMING sometimes the first Sunday after Labor Day. The beginning of the church year for many congregations. Some congregations include the Water Communionritual in this service.
This ritual involves congregants, especially children who have brought small amounts of water to the service, taken from special places they have been over the summer. Or the water is collected from a rainstorm or is otherwise significant or symbolic in some way. They can pour the water into a large bowl and tell the congregation where it is from and the meaning it has for them.
Themes often used in homecoming include: reunion; re-gathering; re-covenanting as a community of faith; hospitality ; returning home to the church community that holds us; hope; looking forward with excitement to church year. The service may be intergenerational in whole or in part.
TEACHER DEDICATION A variable autumn date. A part of the service in which religious education teachers are commissioned and blessed by the congregation to teach Sunday School and adult RE classes. The whole congregation might recite a dedication in unison.
International day of Peace On September 21: Fomenting the Peace in Our Homes. In conformity with the Declaration
of a Culture of constant Peace. Resolution 53/243 of the General Assembly of the UNO of September 13, 1999,
in article 1 , a culture of peace is a set of values, attitudes, traditions, behaviors and ways of life based on
Our Principle Six: The goal of a world community with peace, freedom and justice for all.
AUTUMN EQUINOX usually September 21. A time to remember cycles, seasons, the inevitability of change. A time to make an inner turn as nature makes a turn of Her own.
Jewish Year 5775: at sunset
In 2014 dates of Yom Kippur Day of Atonement begins at sundown Friday October 3 (Kol Nidre) and ends at
nightfall on Saturday, October 4, 2014 .
Jewish Year 5775: at sunset 2014: October 3-4
Jewish Year 5776: at sunset2015: September 22-23
Jewish Year 5777: at sunset 2016: October 11-12
Jewish Year 5778: at sunset 2017: September 29-30
Probably the most important of Judaism's high holy days, the culmination
of the Days of Awe, that begins with Rosh Hashanah. It was established in Leviticus 23:26-32.
"Yom Kippur" means "Day of Atonement."
It is a day set aside to "afflict the soul," to atone for the sins of the past year.
Themes of the day include repentance, reconciliation, asking for forgiveness. "Atonement" can be broken down
into: "At-one-ment", implying that when we forgive and are forgiven, we are brought back into relationship with
In the Roman Catholic tradition, Oct. 4 is the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. St. Francis (1182-1226) was a monk who founded the contemporary order of Franciscans. He was known for his vow of poverty and his special connection to animals, among many other things. Many Unitarian Universalists have picked up on the tradition of blessing animals, particularly pets, on this day. St. Francis may receive little attention at this service, but usually his prayer is used. In the spirit of World Animal Day in Puerto Rico we will bless pets and even stuffed animals at the service. Some congregations celebrate this service out of doors and people bring their pets to the service, others bring photographs of their pets; others have their pets blessed by naming them.
CHILDREN'S SABBATH National Observance of Children's Sabbath unites tens of thousands of religious congregations of many faiths in speaking out and acting faithfully for children and families. This year's Sabbath's theme is "Putting our Faith into Action to Seek Justice for Children." Many UU congregations will celebrate the Children's Sabbath through worship services, social action or special activities. Some will be held on the October date and others will be held at other times during the church year. Endorsed by the UUA and UU Service Committee, The Children's Sabbath calls us to pause and deeply consider, "How are our children? Are we putting children first?" and to then let our answers guide our actions as people of faith. During this service children usher, lead prayers, and preach the sermon. Children's Sabbath is organized by the Children's Defense Fund.
UNITED NATIONS DAY October 24. Unitarian Universalism's sixth principle: "The goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all" can make this a special day to observe religiously. Themes can include: war and peace, international cooperation, world events, global community. This year we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights.
ALL SOULS DAY November 2 (observed on the Sunday between October 27 and November 2). Also called the
Day of the Dead, All Souls Day is a day of remembrance for friends and loved ones who have passed away. It is a Roman Catholic day of commemoration and has prior origins in the ancient Pagan Festival of the Dead--which celebrated the Pagan belief that the souls of the dead would return for a meal with the family. Some themes: remembrance, grief, cycle of life and death, honoring those who have gone before us.
Gratitude as a Spiritual Practice.
Do you think There is a calmness to a life lived in Gratitude, a quiet joy? In the hurried pace of our lives today do you
know people who have achieved or are trying to achieve calmness and quiet joy? How have they changed their
priorites and the life choices they make? Sunday before Thanksgiving. Themes can include gratitude for
loved ones, gathering the family together, breaking bread together, Native American perspective on the holiday,
Puritans, remembering those less fortunate. Thanksgiving Date for 2013 is Thursday November 28.
Some congregations celebrate bread communion at this service. This ritual can include the breaking and passing around of bread throughout the congregation. Congregants eat the bread, or feed it to one another, while being led in a reflection about gratitude, sharing and being together in community.
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