Speaking Rev. Andrew Millard
“Pluralism: Celebrating the Centenary of the Flower Ceremony”
One of the Values that the Article II Study Commission has proposed for our UUA Covenant is Pluralism. “We celebrate that we are all sacred beings diverse in culture, experience and theology. We covenant to learn from one another in our free and responsible search for truth and meaning. We embrace our differences and commonalities with Love, curiosity, and respect.”
There is perhaps no better lived demonstration of UU Pluralism than the Flower Ceremony, one of the most beloved traditions in Unitarian Universalism. After becoming members of a Unitarian church in New Jersey, the Rev. Norbert and Mája Čapek decided to bring this faith back to their Czech homeland and founded the Liberal Religious Fellowship in Prague, in a building they called “Unitaria”. Rev. Norbert created the Flower Ceremony in 1923, with each congregant bringing a flower of their choosing, placing it in a large central vase, and then taking home a different flower. This represented both the uniqueness of each person and their coming together in community to share what made them beautiful. Rev. Mája brought the Flower Ceremony to the United States, where it grew in popularity and spread to other congregations, carrying the story of the Čapeks’ resistance to Nazi oppression with it. Today it is celebrated by almost all Unitarian Universalist congregations, and this year we celebrate the centenary of that first Flower Ceremony, one hundred years to the day after the Čapeks first led it on June 4th 1923.
Please bring with you a flower (or two) of your choosing to this Service!