Holidays and Traditions
Throughout the year, we hold various special services. These include a traditional Christmas Eve candlelighting service and a joyous celebration of the Flower Communion on Mother’s Day. We also conduct ceremonies to mark significant life passages, such as Naming Services, Child Dedication Services, Weddings, and Memorial Services.
The Flower Communion
The tradition of the Flower Communion finds its roots in a beautiful moment on June 4, 1923, within the Liberal Religious Fellowship of Prague, Czechoslovakia. It was conceived by the visionary Dr. Norbert Capek as a celebration of the brotherhood and sisterhood of all souls.
Dr. Capek encouraged each member of his congregation to bring a flower to the morning service, placing it in a shared vase, symbolizing their voluntary membership and unity. Each flower represented the unique individual who contributed it, signifying their valuable presence and the richness they brought to the community, what Dr. Capek referred to as ‘the treasury of grace.’
Two young girls would bring these diverse flowers to the front of the church as part of a prayer of consecration. As the service concluded, Dr. Capek offered a closing prayer and benediction over the flowers. In a touching gesture of interdependence and acknowledgment of the gifts we receive from one another, he invited each person to take a flower as they left the service.
Weddings and Unions are joyous occasions and Hope is a wonderful place to celebrate yours. Our award winning architecture and the incredible sound of our 9 foot Baldwin Concert grand piano provide a setting you will remember the rest of your life.
Because each couple is different our minister will meet with you to plan a service that reflects who you are. In lieu of a pianist/musician, recorded music can be used. Our minister requires at least three sessions of pre-marital/union counseling through Prepare/Enrich.
For members there is no charge for the church facilities or the services of the minister. For non-members, the couple must contact both the administrator and minister first. If available, a facilities charge and a ministerial fee are charged. Both members and non-members are responsible for musician’s fees which should be paid in full prior to the service.
Love one another and you will be happy. It’s as simple and as difficult as that.
A child dedication ceremony is similar to a christening or baptism, and may be held to celebrate a birth or adoption. New members may wish to hold a ceremony to include their children in the commitment they’ve made to the church. The ceremony is crafted by the parents, the congregation’s minister, and religious educator working closely together. It is usually part of a Sunday morning service, and may include the following elements:
- A blessing for the new life of the child
- An expression of the parent or parents’ hopes for the child
- A promise by the congregation to support and nurture the child
If you are interested in this ceremony for your child, please contact us.
Memorial Services and Funerals
“To live in the hearts of others is never to die.”
Death is a life passage we share with the family and friends of the deceased. We are saddened by this loss. Hope Unitarian Church is honored to provide memorial services for its members.
The Memorial Service is a religious celebration of the life of the deceased — and of life itself. The service is for anyone of any theological or philosophical persuasion (or none) since all are welcome at Hope Unitarian Church. The last rites mark the dignity and mystery of what we call death. They celebrate the life of the deceased. These guidelines are not meant to detract from our reverence for life and death but to give them the fullest expression possible.
A Hope Memorial Service offers a personalized ceremony to honor a person’s life journey. The power of well-spoken words and live music can help heal the grief of those left behind. Each ceremony is a creation developed by the survivors and the minister together using liturgical elements meaningful to those involved. The result is an honoring and celebrating of the deceased’s life and the blessing of what it is that gives meaning and substance to our lives going forward.
Usually, a Memorial Service is held after burial or cremation. There are rare occasions when a Memorial service is conducted before interment. A casket is never present at a Memorial Service. If requested, the Minister can meet with the family at home or at the graveside for a brief, private committal instead of the more formal Memorial Service held at the Church following burial or cremation.
Make Your Wishes Known
Please talk with our minister about your final wishes regarding end-of-life decisions and the details of your own Memorial Service. There are forms available at the church office. After you fill them out, they will be kept in a locked drawer.
Use of the Facilities
Our minister meets with the family and presides over the memorial. No charge is made for the use of the church facilities by pledging members of Hope Unitarian Church. Fees for non-members are determined at the time of making service arrangements and should be paid in full prior to the service.
All ushering is done by members of Hope or persons appointed by the family of the deceased from their personal friends and relatives, not by funeral directors. Members of the church, families or friends may also tend to the signing of the guest book in the foyer prior to the service. Only live music is played during the service and must be approved by the Minister and the church musicians. Within the Sanctuary, the family provides a single floral arrangement.