Introduction to the Tradition of Flower Communion
Rev. Lee Bond-Upson
The flower communion service, a specifically Unitarian, now a Unitarian-Universalist ritual, was created in 1922 by Unitarian minister Norbert Čapek (CHA-pek) and his wife Maja (Mai-ya). They first celebrated this ritual with their own Prague Congregation of Liberal Religious Fellowship. Capek wanted to create a service that honored and celebrated the unique beauty and gift of each human life. He wanted a service that was inclusive, which welcomed everyone and which celebrated the beauty of human diversity and human goodness. He and Maja came up with the idea of the flower communion.
The flower that each person brings represents our unique person, together made into an array that reflects the beauty that is abundant in diversity. The flowers are gathered into an arrangement at the beginning of the service, and stand as a reminder of what can happen when we are inclusive and welcoming to all people–it is a symbol, expressed in flowers, of what community looks like.
In this way, we remember not only our own beauty, and the gift that our life is to the world, but that another person’s life is just as beautiful, just as the flower you take home is as unique and beautiful as the one you brought. Norbert Čapek said at the end of the service each member was to take one flower, just as it comes, without making any distinction where it came from and whom it represents, to confess that we accept each other as sisters and brothers without regard to class, race, or other distinction, acknowledging everybody as our friend who is human and wants to be good.