The Sources Supper
A Celebration of Our Unitarian Universalist Heritage
A unifying and transforming meal ritual that connects us to our Unitarian Universalist past and inspires us as we move forward.
The Sources Supper ritual aims to create a deep connection with our Unitarian Universalist heritage via story telling and conversation around a common meal. The stories represent four founding events in UU history plus two key turning points in later history. The conversations occur around questions following each story. The meal takes place after the first four stories and is intended to be simple and informal, with the conversation going wherever people take it. The final two stories take place after the meal and before dessert. Like all new rituals, it will take time and repetition for groups to feel fully comfortable and settle into a rhythm. The Sources Supper is intended to be done year after year until it becomes part of the religious identity and collective memories of those who participate in it. For the philosophy and story behind the Sources Supper, you can read “Home Grown Religion” by Bill Doherty.
Who Participants and Where?:
We suggest inviting the number of people you can fit into a house and around a dining room table, with a minimum of eight adults and a maximum group of 14-16. We have generally held the first part of the ritual (the first four stories) in a living room, and then moved to the dining room for the meal and the last two stories. The current version of the ritual works with youth and adults; a future version will be adapted for younger children.
Although the length for a Sources Supper will vary with different groups, a generous time frame for a talkative group would be 3.5 hours.
Key Events Recounted in the Sources Supper:
October 27: Michael Servetus executed (1553)
January 10: The Edict of Torda (1568)
September 30: John Murray preaches in Good Luck, New Jersey (1770)
May 5: William Ellery Channing’s Baltimore Sermon (1819)
July 15 – Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Harvard Divinity School address (1838)
May 1 – The Humanist Manifesto is published (1933)
Who Created the Sources Supper?
A group of eight Unitarian Universalists from First Universalist Church in Minneapolis and Unity Church-Unitarian in St. Paul developed the ritual over a four year period: Siri Anderson, Tricia Bishop, Martha Bolinger, Bill Doherty, Leah Doherty, Bob Friedman, Amy Scott, and Deborah Talen. They were assisted by the Reverend Frank Rivas and the Reverend Rob Eller-Isaacs. Bill Doherty led the project and was the principal writer. Unity Church is now primarily responsible for further development and dissemination of the Sources Supper. During the church year 2008-09, we are developing a way to integrate this ritual into congregational life at Unity Church.
How Can My Church Participate?
After a number of pilots at Unity Church and other congregations around the country, we now are ready to disseminate the revised version of the Sources Supper. Feedback and suggestions are welcome through e-mail to email@example.com.
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