Church Other News

Raise the Roof--Repair Work Updates

From time to time, we'll post updates on the major roof repair project:

July 11, 2013
Roof_Repair_1First things first: Our drainage contractor inspects interior drain pipes in the hallway outside the Channing Room. This process is being repeated in all of the areas that leak. No use fixing our roofs if the drainage pipes are inadequate!


Flower Communion, June 7

Sunday, June 7, during both services.

bouquetOn Sunday, June 7, we will observe our annual ritual of the Flower Communion during both services. Please bring a handful of flowers from your garden, to contribute to the baskets before the service. Everyone will be invited to take a flower during the ritual, at the end of the service.

Here's the story of the Flower Communion:
A Service of Celebration for Religious Liberals -- by Reginald Zottoli

The 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. For some time he had felt the need for some 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. The traditional Christian communion service with bread and wine was unacceptable to the members of his congregation because of their strong reaction against the Catholic faith. So he turned to the native beauty of their countryside for elements of a communion which would be genuine to them. This simple service was the result.

It was such
a success that it was held yearly just before the summer recess of the church. The flower communion was brought to the United States in 1940 and introduced to the members of our Cambridge, Massachusetts, church by Dr. Capek's wife, Maja V. Capek. The Czech-born Maja had met Norbert Capek in New York City while he was studying for his Ph.D., and it was at her urging that Norbert left the Baptist ministry and turned to Unitarianism. The Capeks returned to Czechoslovakia in 1921 and established the dynamic liberal church in Prague; Maja Capek was ordained in 1926. It was during her tour of the United States that Maja introduced the flower communion, which had been developed in the Prague church, at the Unitarian church in Cambridge. Unfortunately, Maja was unable to return to Prague due to the outbreak of World War II, and it was not until the war was over that Norbert Capek's death in a Nazi concentration camp was revealed. From this beginning the service has spread to many of our Unitarian Universalist congregations and has been adapted along the way.

People were asked to bring a flower of their choice, either from their own gardens. or from the field or roadside. When they arrived at church a large vase stood waiting in the vestibule, attended by two young members of the Church School. Each person was asked to place their own flower in the vase. This signified that it was by their own free will they joined with the others. The vase that contained all the flowers was a symbol of the united church fellowship. The young attendants helped with the arrangement of the bouquet. Later they carried the vase up to the front of the auditorium and placed it on a table there. Dr. Capek then said a prayer, after which he walked over and consecrated the flowers while the congregation stood. The two attendants then took the vase back out into the vestibule. After the service, as people left the church, they went to the vase and each took a flower from the vase other than the one that they had brought.

The significance of the flower communion
is that as no two flowers are alike, so no two people are alike, yet each has a contribution to make. Together the different flowers form a beautiful bouquet. 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. Thus this
service is a statement of our community.


Pre-Planning Begins for 150th Anniversary Celebration

The 150th Anniversary Steering Committee has begun  gathering input for the best ways to celebrate our congregation’s 150th anniversary in 2016.

(This illustration is of Portland's very first Unitarian chapel, built by the growing congregation in 1866 at the corner of SW Broadway and Yamhill, on the outskirts of town.)

Original_Unitarian_ChapelAt this point we're envisioning several activities throughout the 2015–16 church year, involving many volunteers and congregational groups. In the summer of 2015, the UUA General Assembly will be held in Portland, providing an exciting beginning for our year of celebration.

Do you have ideas? Are you willing to volunteer to organize or assist with an event or activity? If so, we’d like to hear from you. You can share your suggestions with any of the committee members listed below, or send comments to our email address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Starting this fall, in addition to the email link, we will communicate developments through a dedicated 150th anniversary section on our church website.

Our goal is to make this anniversary a congregation-wide series of events that recognize our long and distinguished history in Portland and celebrate the current life of the church community.

Co-Chairs: Marilyn Scott and Randy Russell
Committee members: Pierre Provost, Martha Richards, Julia Spence, Vic Vore, Jessie Eller-Isaacs and Andy Furgeson.


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