Sharing water from afar , a ritual of blessing — University Church Chicago

On the first Sunday after everyone has returned home from their holiday and summer adventures and the school year has started anew, members bring water they have brought from distant places.

Those who had stayed in the city for the summer, bring water from their kitchen tap/faucet or another meaningful local tap.

During the worship service, everyone is invited to pour the contents of their vials and jars into a communal bowl.

In this way the community collects itself, draws itself together, unites itself anew as God’s gathered people.

This ritual of gathering the waters has been an annual end-of-summer celebration at University Church, Chicago (Disciples of Christ & United Church of Christ) since the 1960’s.

We borrowed this ritual for some years while serving a United Church of Canada congregation in King City, Ontario in the 1990's. What a wonderful ritual to have inherited from University Church! One summer I'd spent some time in the Shenandoah Valley, with the intention of bringing water to King City from the Shenandoah River. Headed north, at the end of the vacation, just before leaving the valley, I couldn't find a good spot to get down to the river. So that year I was the one who took water from a faucet, in a gas station rest room. I figured it came out of the Shenandoah at some point!

Bruce Ervin