WALPOLE, N.H. -- "Sharing Our Common Bowl" will be the topic of the annual ingathering service at the Walpole Unitarian Church on Sunday, Sept. 1, led by Rev. Telos Whitfield. The church is located at the corner of Main and Union streets in Walpole, and begins Sunday at 10 a.m.
"At our first service in the autumn, we bring water from a place we have visited this summer or from our own tap, and we share stories and pour our water into a common bowl," Rev. Whitfield said. "There will be music and silence, and a time to come together as a community again."
Many Unitarian Universalists congregations hold a "Water Communion" once a year, often at the beginning of the new church year in September.
Members bring to the service a small amount of water from a place that is special to them, or perhaps a place they visited during the summer. During the appointed time in the service, people one by one pour their water together into a large bowl.
As the water is added, the person who brought it tells why this water is special to them. The combined water is symbolic of our shared faith coming from many different sources. It is often then blessed by the congregation, and later boiled and used as the congregation’s "holy water" in child dedication ceremonies and similar events.
The last of last year’s water from the previous year’s communion is used to begin the next year’s ceremony, a symbol of the continuity of the congregation.