ANZUUA communities have adopted a number of traditions that resonate with our members. Being Southern Hemisphere inhabitants living with different seasons to the north, having a much younger heritage and different social values brings different perspectives to what we adopt. You will likely find one or more of these traditions used in the churches and fellowships across Australia and New Zealand.
Chalica is an unofficial Christmas time practice originally conceived by Daylene Marshall of Vancouver, Canada as a way to celebrate and put into intentional practice the Seven Principles of the Unitarian Universalist tradition - one a night, for seven nights. The celebration begins on the first Monday of December, and is marked by the lighting of a chalice each day (or evening). Gifts that reflect the particular day's Principle may be given; however the focus tends to be more on mindfulness and action. For ideas on ways to celebrate Chalica, see http://www.uuidentity.com/chalica
Candles of Joys and Concern
Candles of Joys and Concerns is a common ritual during Unitarian Universalist services. Members present may light a candle and briefly share the highs and lows of their lives at the time. This rich and rewarding experience helps to build community, gain an insight into each others joys and challenges as well as expressing empathy for key world events that touch them.
The Water Communion
The Water Communion, also sometimes called Water Ceremony is an annual event for many UU communities. Members bring to the service a small amount of water from a place that is special to them. During 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.
The Flower Communion
Flower Communion is an annual ritual that celebrates beauty, human uniqueness, diversity and community, usually held in Spring or early Summer. In this ceremony, everyone in the congregation brings a flower or item from nature which is placed in a central location. The congregation reflect on the blessings of nature, and the flowers are redistributed so each person takes away a different one In some services people come forward and select a flower that speaks to them and the person bringing the flower can say why they selected that flower or item from nature.
All Heretics' Day
All Heretics' Day is a day when Unitarians in some communities celebrate their history of heresy and the freedom this has brought. It is celebrated on April 1st every year in memory of those who were both heroes and heretics, reformers, questioners, and seekers.
Thirty years ago, Rev. Dick Weston-Jones, minister for the Christchurch NZ Unitarians, started this Unitarian holiday to celebrate those whose courage led to our freedom to enjoy our lives and express our beliefs as we choose. Without their heresy, our freedom would be less.
A Heretic is one who maintains religious opinions contrary to those accepted by his or her church and makes the choice to stand for those opinions. Unitarian Universalist liberal religious history is filled with prominent people who chose to speak out and stand as independent thinkers for their convictions - e.g. Michael Servetus, Francis David, Joseph Priestley (Unitarian minister and noted scientist who discovered oxygen) and Thomas Jefferson. In Australia, our Unitarian pioneers were treated as heretics in their day - John Crawford Woods, Martha Turner, Thomas Fyshe Palmer and Catherine Helen Spence.