Holidays and Traditions

Holiday celebrations in Unitarian and Universalist congregations reflect the six Sources of our faith.

Many Unitarians celebrate Christian holidays like Christmas, Jewish holidays like Hanukkah and Passover, and Pagan Solstice and Equinox rituals, among others.

Our holiday services use the stories and traditions creatively, calling us to our deeper humanity and our commitment to the common good.

In addition to religious holidays, we often also honour secular or cultural holidays such as Earth Day, Labour Day, Pride and Thanksgiving.

Check out our Upcoming Services for more information about services in the month ahead.

Our calendar of worship service traditions

For each section, we’ve featured one service on that topic. From there you can find other services of a similar topic.

September

Water communion

Our ingathering service includes a water communion. We each bring water from a special place we have been over the summer and share it into a large communal bowl.

This is usually the first Sunday back for our parish minister after leave for vacation and professional development.

October

Thanksgiving

 

United Nations Sunday

Samhain / Hallowe’en

Encountering our ancestors

The Sunday closest to Samhain/Hallowe’en, Rev. Epperson writes a series of five monologues for notable Unitarians or Universalists (or UU’s) from the past. Members of the congregation are cast in the roles.

November

Remembrance Day

On the Sunday closest to Remembrance (November 11), we engage in looking at peace and war and memory.

In Memoriam: Remembrance Day

December

Advent

Rev. Epperson has preached a sermon on science and its insights that challenge and nourish our religion for the first Sunday in Advent.

The Important Stuff is Invisible

Advent Choir Concert

The Chalice Choir offers a concert, often on the evening of the first Sunday in advent.

Candlelight Service

An evening service of candles, readings and songs.

Yule, Winter Solstice

 

Christmas Eve

Members often invite visiting family to join us and the wider community for an evening of carol-singing and readings.

Children’s Pageant

A pageant with a Unitarian twist. Many years our annual pageant has been written to members of the congregation or our minister.

Christmas Day potluck and sing along

On Christmas Day, we host a dinner and a carol sing-along. Usually starts around 1 pm.

Fire Communion

In late December or early January we fire up the cauldron and invite people to symbolically add to the burning cauldron what they are letting go of from the past year.

Jan 1, 2017 Leonie ArmstrongPatrick Dubois Fire Communion

January

Epiphany

 

February

Tu b’shevat – Tree Celebration

Valentine’s Day

For the Sake of Love – Unitarians and the Saga of Interfaith Marriage

March

International Women’s Day

Complicated Women – International Women’s Day

Ostara/ Spring Equinox

Link to earth centred traditions

 

April

Poetry Month

During April we often celebrate the poets among us and the poets who have inspired us.

Easter

Often the Sunday service for Easter involves our children in presenting a story of transformation or redemption. The children’s program creates activities for our children to participate in some of the secular traditions including an Easter egg hunt.

Celebrate Easter? YES!

Earth Day

Our Environment committee shares an Earth Day service often with an invited guest speaker.

May

May Day / Beltane

Link to earth centred traditions

Mothers’ Day and Flower communion

On Mothers’ Day, we all bring a flower to add to a shared bouquet and go home with a different flower. The children enjoy sorting and delivering the flowers.

Link to this sermon by Diane Rollert: http://www.ucmtl.ca/sermons/2017/6/11/the-flower-communion-95-years-later

June

Fathers’ Day

Looking at the role of fathers in our families and the world.

Celebrating Connections

In June we acknowledge all those who support the work of the congregation in the many volunteer roles in the congregation. Our Director of Religious Education acknowledges the teachers and advisors in our religious education program.

Summer Solstice

Link to earth centred traditions

July – August

Our parish minister is on vacation and professional development leave for July and August. Our worship services committee coordinates an interesting array of services by congregational members, visiting ministers and invited guests.

Pride

A selection of past services by our members:

Summer services by visiting ministers and seminary students

Services by our Children and Youth Program

As well as children’s pageants, our youth group often offers a worship service.