Another year has gone down in the history books and now for a new year is upon us. What will we see happening in the New Year of 2022? Our church will be finished and a beautiful church it will be. It will be filled with stories, singing, sermons, adults and children laughing, many conversations occurring in the social hour over coffee and tea. I just can’t wait to be in our home once again. The Sunday School building will be ready for the children and youth of our fellowship with meeting spaces too.
Our UU History
This month is our last of a seven-part series of our UU History and how we came to be. Last month you heard about the Consolidation 1961 of the Unitarian and the Universalist. This month I am talking about The Water Ritual of 1980.
A Lamp in Every Corner, Our Unitarian Universalist Storybook by Janeen K. Grohsmeyer
The Water Ritual 1980 The Long, Slow Swell of the Sea
I speak now of a time of great changes, of the ebb and the flow of an ever-advancing tide, and of a long, slow swell of the sea.
The women were rising.
The women had always been there, of course, from the beginning. Across the globe, down through the ages, in the homes of their families, the women fetched the water, gathered and prepared the food, made the clothes, tended the fires, and cared for the children, the sick, and the old. In this country, through the centuries, in the sacred places of their communities, the women cleaned the buildings, decorate the altars, brought the food, sang in the choir, helped the poor and the needy, and listened from the pews. From the beginning, the women had been there.
But mostly, they had been silent, and mostly, they had held no power in their hands. Mostly, the decisions had been made by the men.
No more. The women were rising, with the long, slow swell of the sea.
In the year 1977, a group of women gathered around a butcher block in the kitchen of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Lexington, Massachusetts. They decided that the women should be-and would be-heard. That summer, the Unitarian Universalist General Assembly agreed to their proposal, and the “Women and Religion Resolution” was formed. Our bylaws were updated, our songs were revised our principles reframed-so that the word “he” became “he and she” and “man” became “people.” A seventh principle was added respect for the interdependent web of all life, man and woman, female and male, and stones and butterflies and trees. The words weren’t the only things to change, people’s ideas were changing, too.
The women were rising, and the tide was flowing over the land.
In 1980, a great gathering was held, a “Convocation on Feminist Theology,” and people came from all over the land. To honor their journeys, journeys through space and time, journeys with joy and pain, journeys completed, journeys ongoing, and also journeys no yet begun, two women, Lucile Longview and Carolyn McDade, created a ceremony of water-sharing from them all.
For the women were rising and water had carried them there.
From the mouth of the Mississippi River, from the Atlantic and Pacific . . . the women and the waters came. From the mountains and the deserts, from rivers and streams from drops of rain. . . the women and the waters came. From the oceans of the ages, from the ancient womb of life that created us all . . . the women and the waters came.
In the circle of hundreds, they gathered. In a circle of hundreds, they sang. In a circle of unbroken they listened to each other’s stories, and they listened to the waters as they fell. For the women came forth with their water, those waters from all over the land, and they mingled the waters in a great earthen bowl.
Then, as each had given to the waters, each took from the waters. In this taking, they reclaimed the water. In this taking, they reclaimed the Earth. The reclaimed their history. The laid claim to their future, and the future of all living things. A vow and a promise, to each other and to themselves.
Then in their circle of hundreds they sang “We’re coming Home.”
For the women were rising, and the waters were rising, and great changes were sweeping over the land, with the long, slow swell of the sea.
And the women and the men were all coming home.
In Spirit and Love,