A Stream of Living History
A Stream of Living History
Affirmation

This ritual entails having an empty vase on the altar, and cut flowers. It's especially meaningful to have founders or other "pillars" of the congregation have flowers with them in the service, and to have the congregation's children bring those flowers forward and put them in the vase (perhaps supervised by an adult).

This ceremony is but a moment in the life of our congregation, which is a stream of living history. Our strength—our current vitality and joy—comes in part from our roots: those who gave life to the congregation from its founding [number of years] ago up until today.

[At an installation or ordination service: Before we call upon the authority of the Fellowship’s members in this ceremony,] we place flowers on the altar to remember those people—living and dead, clergy and lay*—who shaped the congregation that we call our spiritual home.

Please come forward now if you have a flower, or hold your flower up for a child to bring it forward.

Leader reads a list of congregational founders, or pillars. If they have died, their flower could be brought forward by someone who has a connection to them (such as a surviving spouse). If they're alive, they can bring forward their own flower!

When those names have been read, and flowers placed:

Lend your memories to our honor; please call out the names of past members who form the cloud of witnesses celebrating with us today.

More flowers are placed for these names.

As we balance between our past and future—the roots that gave this congregation life, and the story we have yet to write—may we know ourselves not only as a people of joy and gratitude, but also as a people of memory, and a people of honor.

*"Clergy and lay" is appropriate to include on occasions that celebrate professional ministry, such as ordinations and installations. On those occasions, this could be led by a founder or other "pillar" of the congregation.

About the Author

  • Erika Hewitt is the UUA's Minister of Worship Arts and Editor of Braver/Wiser, a weekly spirituality series. In addition to serving the UUA half-time, Erika also serves as a Unitarian Universalist parish minister and wedding officiant in Maine.

For more information contact worshipweb@uua.org.

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