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.

What do I need to know about Water Communion 2021?

This year, Water Communion will be on Sunday, September 19th at 10:00 am at Rolland Moore Park.* Registration is required, so don’t forget to CLICK HERE and let us know you’re coming!

Please arrive at Rolland Moore by 9:45 AM to ensure adequate time for checking in. 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!

*We will still be having a 9 am Zoom service! CLICK HERE to join on Zoom.

Parking & Walking from the Church

Close-in parking is limited. If you are willing and able, you may park at the church (1815 Yorktown Ave) at 9:30 and walk from there. We will have Greeters stationed at the church and along the walk to guide you. See a map of the location, including walking direction HERE.

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.)

  2. Lawn chairs and/or a blanket, to sit on, and a water bottle for your comfort.

  3. Masks for anyone in your family over the age of three. Please also review our Guidance for Gatherings for the latest information on safety guidelines for our gatherings. 

Volunteering at Water Communion

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

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 2020