Water Communion 2022: Shall We Gather at the River?

Join us for our annual water communion service on September 11, 2022! We will gather in-person at 10 AM at The Drake Center. We will also gather online at 9 AM on Zoom.


The river is a place of community, connection, and a source of life for us all. Just as you cannot step into the same river twice, you also cannot step into the same congregation twice – this service will invite us to meet ourselves, and our community all over again – in a spirit of gratitude, and joy, and love. Together we will renew our most sacred promises to ourselves, to one another, and to life itself.   

What is Water Communion?

Water Communion is a yearly ritual for many Unitarian Universalist congregations, including Foothills! Community members bring a small amount of water (often from a special place to them or from their home). During the ritual, each person pours their water into a shared vessel. The combined water symbolizes both what we each bring AND, maybe more importantly, how we are changed by our commitment to journeying together. Learn more about the history of Water Communion below!

What do I need to know about Water Communion 2022?

This year, Water Communion will be on Sunday, September 11th at 10:00 am in-person at The Drake Center. There will also be an online Water Communion service at 9 AM on Zoom.) 


If you plan to attend in person, please CLICK HERE and let us know you’re coming! Please arrive at The Drake Center by 10 AM to ensure adequate time for checking in. The service will begin at 10:15. There will be volunteers present to welcome you, check you in, and answer any questions. Please be sure to visit with one of our Check-In Volunteers before taking your seat!

Directions & Parking

The Drake Center is approximately four minutes by car from the church. While there is a large parking lot, we always appreciate when folks can bike or carpool to ensure there are plenty of spaces – and it’s environmentally friendly! We are thrilled to share that The Drake Center is climate controlled with access to comfortable seating and electricity, ensuring a comfortable experiences for all. The Drake Center is also wheelchair accessible.

What to bring

1. A small amount of water from somewhere special to you (your home, a favorite river or reservoir, a vacation spot, rainwater, etc.) If you are attending our Zoom Water Communion service, please have a small vessel of water within reach during the service.

2. Masks. Since this is a large indoors event, masks will be required for all over the age of three. You can find our COVID-19 Safety guidelines here.

Children and Families

Water Communion is an all-ages ritual and we welcome children of all ages to participate with their families!

Volunteering at Water Communion

If you are able to volunteer, we would love your help! Please email Jenn Powell at jenn@foothillsuu.org if you would like to help us make this day an incredible experience for all.

Take the Water 22 Pledge

As we prepare to gather for Water Communion 2022 and to explore our relationship with water as a source of life, we, alongside our Climate Justice Ministry and Green Sanctuary 2030 team, invite you to take the Water 22 Pledge: 22 Ways to Care for Colorado Water in 2022.

The History of Water Communion

In 1980, two Unitarian Universalist women—Carolyn McDade and Lucile Schuck Longview—were asked to create a worship service for the Women and Religion Continental Convocation of Unitarian Universalists.

As they shaped that service, McDade and Longview wanted to create a new ritual “that spoke to our connectedness to one another, to the totality of life, and to our place on this planet.” They included a new, inclusive symbol of women’s spirituality: water.

They write,


“Water is more than simply a metaphor. It is elemental and primary, calling forth feelings of awe and reverence. Acknowledging that the ocean is considered by many to be the place from which all life on our planet came—it is the womb of life—and that amniotic waters surround each of us prenatally, we now realize that [this worship service] was for us a new story of creation… We choose water as our symbol of our empowerment.”


The November service, held in East Lansing, Michigan, was called “Coming Home Like Rivers to the Sea.” As its creators, McDade and Longview enacted their ritual in the liberating space of a semicircle around a large earthenware bowl. They asked eight different women—each coming from distant places—to bring water, and they did: water from the Rio Grande and Assiniboine Rivers, rain water from Maryland, water from the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, and others were poured into the earthenware bowl as each bearer described its significance.

“As the ritual is continued,” says Carolyn McDade, “water deepens in meaning for us, just as water deepens during its long and winding journey to the sea.”


(Source: “The Original Water Communion” – many thanks to Carolyn McDade, Rev. Dr. Susan Ritchie, and Marian Shatto for their assistance in building this history herstory.)

A Look Back at Water Communion 2021

Please note that Water Communion 2022 will be held indoors at the Drake Center. Seating will be provided, and there will be air conditioning!

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