Beginning Anew: Water Communion Service

Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto Sermons and Reflections
Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto Sermons and Reflections
Beginning Anew: Water Communion Service

The Water Communion is an annual intergenerational ritual, celebrated in most Unitarian Universalist congregations at this time, in which we pour waters together to symbolize the unity of life and our coming together as a community. COVID has been such a long dry season that we might not even realize how thirsty we are for each other’s company until we have it again. We will come with gifts for each other: the gifts of our own presence, our words and voices and faces.

And our water. Please do this in preparation:

  1. Put a small amount of water in a container that seals tight. One tablespoon contains about 5 x 1023 molecules of water, so a pill bottle is plenty.
  2. Reflect. When you arrive, you’ll be invited to write down something you wish to begin or renew in your life. If there are multiple members of the family, you can choose one intention for all of you, or one each. These will be shared aloud but the names of those who shared them will be unknown
  3. (For those coming to the service in person) Bring your water with you, and when you arrive at the service, pour it into a bowl that seems to you to fit with your intention. The bowls will be at the four corners of our space and labeled.

North / Earth symbolizes winter, midnight, old age, the physical aspect of life, stillness, quiet, introspection

East / Air symbolizes spring, sunrise, birth and childhood, the spiritual aspect of life, childhood, inspiration

South / Fire symbolizes summer, afternoon, adolescence and young adulthood, the emotional aspect of life, passion, determination

West / Water symbolizes autumn, evening, middle age, the intellectual aspect of life, change, courage, patience

4. (For those attending online) Bring your water to UUCPA and leave it outside the main office. Label it with your intention and, if you wish, the bowl you would like us to pour it into.

Finally, if you forget to bring water, don’t worry! We will have a pitcher of sweet Hetch Hetchy water to pour from on your behalf. It is all one ocean . . .

This is an intergenerational service; coming to the service, whether at 9:30 or 11, is today’s Children’s Religious Education! Child care is also available for any children who prefer it. We also welcome the Adult Choir back from their summer hiatus, as they sing “Healing Waters” by Suzanne Bury and Clifton Hardin.

Worship leaders: Revs. Catherine Boyle and Amy Zucker Morgenstern

Special music: Veronika Agranov-Dafoe, piano

Follow along in the order of service:

9:30: We gather in person, on the main patio, distanced 3′ and masked for safety. Please sign in at the welcome table as you arrive, for the sake of contact tracing.

11:00: We gather in person in the Main Hall, in person on the main patio, and via In-person, we are distanced 3′ and masked for safety; proof of vaccination is required to enter the Main Hall. You may also sit on the patio if you prefer. Please sign in at the welcome table as you arrive, for the sake of contact tracing. To watch the service live on our Facebook page, visit:

Photo by Jim Bread on Unsplash