By Pauline Benetti
Special to The PREVIEW
The UU flower communion service was created by Norbert Capek (1870-1942), who founded the Unitarian Church in Czechoslovakia. He introduced this special service to that church on June 4, 1923.
It was his intent that it be a symbolic ritual that would bind people more closely together. The format had to be one that would not alienate any who had forsaken other religious traditions. So he turned to the native beauty of their countryside for elements of a communion which would be genuine to them.
The flower communion was brought to the United States in 1940 and introduced to the members of the Cambridge, Mass., church by Capek’s wife, Maja V. Capek. It has become a yearly summer ritual for all Unitarian Universalists churches.
This Sunday’s service will be led by lay leader Juli Ferrara. She asks that everyone bring a flower, either from their own gardens or from the field or roadside. When they arrive at church, a large vase awaits and each places his or her own flower into the vase, thus the power of symbolism begins as with their own free will they join with the others. The vase that contains all the flowers is a symbol of the united church fellowship.
After the service, as people leave the church, they take with them a different flower. So, as no two flowers are alike, so no two people are alike, yet each has a contribution to make to the whole. Our common bouquet would not be the same without the unique addition of each individual flower and thus it is with our church community; it would not be the same without each and every one of us. This service then is a statement of our community and of our of willingness to cherish diversity.
By exchanging flowers, we also show our willingness to walk together in our search for truth, disregarding all that might divide us. This communion of sharing is essential to a free people of a free religion.
Ferrara was born and raised in the valley of Los Angeles, Calif. Her only desire was to travel and develop an open mind. There were many journeys and, along the way, she worked as a hair stylist, met her husband Stephen and together they worked in their European Auto Repair establishment.
For many years, their desire was to retire in Pagosa Springs with their two chihuahuas. Pagosa Springs has been very welcoming to her and becoming a member of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship has been both heartwarming and inspiring to the spirit of an open and creative mind. She also walks the path of the teachings of the Course in Miracles.
Ours is a welcoming congregation; we invite everyone to share in our faith community. Usually, on third and fourth Sundays, leadership is by Pastor Dean Cerny. This Sunday, one of our lay leaders will preside.
The Religious Exploration (RE) program has reached its end for this school year, but will start up again in September. For more information, contact Anna Ramirez at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find us in Unit B-15 of the Greenbriar Plaza. From North Pagosa Boulevard, turn right onto Park Avenue and right again into Greenbriar Plaza, then turn left and continue around the complex until you see the Unitarian Universalist sign as it faces the mountains. Join us.
For further information about the Pagosa UU Fellowship, visit pagosauu.org or call 731-7900.
By Pauline Benetti